Technology has continued to evolve over the past few years, with this having quite a significant impact on the business world. This has led to quite a considerable variety of business models being created, with these centering around various services. One of the more notable of these in recent years has been Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS).
Despite these becoming increasingly popular, especially among consumers, many people may not know much about the niche. This is especially true among business owners, some of whom may want to take advantage of the growing sector.
While many potential entrepreneurs may want to break into the niche, they often mightn’t have all of the knowledge they need to do so. Much of this can be driven by the fact that some budding business owners may believe that the niche is quite complex.
While the IaaS industry can be quite complicated for many people who don’t hold much expertise in infrastructure, it mightn’t be as overwhelming as you might believe. There are a few notable things that you’ll need to know to run a successful company in the industry.
What Is IaaS?
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is one of the three main types of cloud computing services, alongside both software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (SaaS). This provides virtualized computer services through the internet.
Many people may wonder how this works, with some thinking that it’s quite complicated. In contrast, it can be somewhat more straightforward than some people may believe. Typically, a provider will host the components that will usually be seen included in a data center, such as networking and storage hardware, alongside servers.
A hypervisor or virtualization layer should also be included. Alongside this, IaaS will usually offer a variety of other services, including:
- Detailed Billing & Monitoring;
- Log Access;
- Load Balancing & Clustering;
- Backup & Recovery, and much more.
Customers taking advantage of IaaS will be able to access these through the internet and use the provider’s services to install each of the elements that they need. There are a variety of aspects to this, with the first being to log in to the IaaS provider’s platform to create what are known as Virtual Machines, or VMs.
Following this, a user will install their operating systems on each VM before deploying their middleware. These are typically the databases or other services that the IaaS will provide. These can then be used for a variety of functions, with some of the more notable being to monitor network performance, manage disaster recovery, and much more.
Benefits of IaaS
There are quite a significant number of benefits to IaaS that many people may not be aware of. One of the more notable of these is that there is a considerable amount of cost-savings associated with the practice. Much of this can be seen when compared to initially setting up a data center.
Typically, this will be quite an expensive process for companies that would look to establish their own infrastructure. In contrast to this, using an IaaS provider is much more cost-effective, as customers will pay a minimal amount to take advantage of pre-existing data centers.
Alongside this, users shouldn’t have to worry about replacing or repairing old and damaged parts, which can further enhance the cost-savings. Using an IaaS provider should also be quite scalable and flexible. As a result, users should see quite a variety of benefits to this, such as being able to adjust on the fly.
Much of this can be seen in adapting to a market’s demands, which is often something that many firms may not be able to take advantage of with their own physical infrastructure. Many companies will be able to see this with the testing and development phases of their operations, which can often be one of the more time-consuming aspects of their business.
IaaS users should also be able to see a faster time to market because of the service. This is primarily a result of how scalable the services can be. As such, users can beat out much of their competition when releasing new products.
What Is An IaaS Company?
Many people may wonder what an IaaS company is and how they differ from platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). While the three niches are somewhat similar, given that they all operate under the cloud computing umbrella, there are a variety of differences between them.
For an IaaS company, these differences can typically be seen in how the firm operates and delivers its services and products. These businesses offer cloud infrastructures to users in a self-service model, with customers usually needing to oversee and manage their data center infrastructures.
Some of the more notable aspects that an IaaS provider will offer and oversee are the servers, hard drives, networking, storage, and virtualization. Alongside this, many IaaS companies have begun offering messaging queues, databases, and a variety of additional services on top of what they used to provide.
However, some experts have looked to differentiate these newer models from previous ones, with some giving it the moniker IaaS+. This is primarily because these companies offer traditional IaaS services plus somewhat more.
IaaS companies will be responsible for the majority of the hardware that’s needed for these services to take place. As such, they could be compared somewhat to an electricity company. Instead of paying for electrical consumption, however, IaaS users will be paying for the infrastructure that’s offered by the IaaS company.
While this often means that customers will pay as they use the service, they can usually be charged based on a monthly subscription.
Examples Of IaaS Companies
There are quite a large variety of IaaS companies in operation, although some have been much more successful than others. As such, there are a few quite prominent examples in the niche, although many people may not have thought that they were IaaS companies.
Some of the larger examples include:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS): Naturally, AWS is overseen by Amazon, although it could be considered a separate entity. The primary focus of Amazon Web Services is to help companies store information and deliver content, which has made the service popular among many websites. Typically, this will be done through on-demand cloud computing and is available on a subscription basis, making it a cost-effective solution.
- Microsoft Azure: This is a cloud-computing IaaS product that allows users to build, manage, and test their applications through a variety of Mircrosoft data centers.
- Magento: Magento 1 is slightly different from many other companies in that it can be delivers either on-site or over the cloud, with this depending on the customer’s needs. The majority of this can be seen with the Magento 1 Enterprise Edition, although there are a few other products and services that can be taken advantage of.
There are quite a substantial number of companies operating in the IaaS niche, with this figure seemingly growing by the day. However, this hasn’t meant that each of them is offering the same products or in the same way.
In contrast, there are a few notable delivery methods that customers and business owners will be able to take advantage of. Cloud computing and online storage are the most common for several reasons, although there are a variety of on-site applications that can be utilized.
Types Of Products
While many people may believe that IaaS companies offer the same products with a few specific differences, this isn’t the case. In contrast, there are various IaaS products and services that can be taken advantage of. In the majority of cases, these products offer the ability to deliver new technologies over the cloud.
Typically, these will be focused on the storage and delivery of content, although there can be a variety of differences between each type. These can be split into a few notable categories, including:
- Replication Environments: These types of products handle the workloads required for disaster recovery, business continuity and high availability replication.
- Production Environments: Products in this category typically allow organizations to run their applications in the cloud quickly and easily. There are various applications included in this to save or replicate a customer’s data, and in many cases, do both.
- Hosted Disaster Recovery Environments: These are backup infrastructures that provide a fail-safe should disaster occur, with the service typically providing a scaled-down version of the initial infrastructure.
- Test & Development Workload: These types of IaaS products are where the niche initially started, and was used to test the overall concept of cloud computing. While these can often be somewhat more basic than other products, they can be a low-cost solution for testing applications and services.
Despite the range of categories that IaaS products may fall into, there are a variety of traits that they have in common. Some of the more notable of these include that they’re cost-effective, can be accessed by a variety of users, and are highly scalable and flexible. Typically, these will be used for virtualization, storage, and networking.
Many potential customers or IaaS business owners may wonder what kind of pricing models that IaaS can take advantage of. There is a variety of them that can be utilized, with each providing a range of benefits. However, one of the more commonly used of these is a pay-as-you-go model, which is used by a vast majority of firms.
With this method, services are provided on-demand with users only paying for the services and products that they use. There are quite a considerable number of benefits to this model, with these being central to why IaaS firms focus on it.
One of the more notable benefits to this is that it allows for the services to be as scalable as possible. Alongside this, it ensures that the service is cost-effective for users. Alongside this, an IaaS provider will bill depending on virtualization instances that are created by the user.
However, they may often charge based on the amount of storage that a customer uses. In some cases, an IaaS provider may also factor specified managerial services into their billing, although this will typically be done on a per-use basis and will be agreed upon with the customers.
In some cases, customers will be able to take advantage of a subscription model, where they’re given access to a certain amount of resources for an agreed-upon price. By doing so, they’ll be able to budget much more effectively than they might with other models.
Marketing Best Practices
Like every other industry, there can be a variety of best practices when running an IaaS firm, with many of these focusing on marketing. However, many potential business owners may not know what these are. While there are a few that may be somewhat obvious, there are a few that may be somewhat surprising.
Perhaps the most notable is not to have any hidden costs. This is something that many companies may do, although it could result in many potential customers being put-off from doing business with the firm. The majority of this will be seen if the hidden costs are relatively large.
Accuracy and honesty will also be one of the largest best practices for an IaaS’ marketing. While some of this will tie into hidden costs, it can also include a variety of other aspects. Customers will want to know what the key differences between various services are, with much of this focusing on the likes of uptime, speed, and much more.
As such, your marketing efforts will need to be representative of the technical aspects of your service.
There can be quite a significant number of advantages to either running an IaaS company or by using their services. By focusing on each of the above, then you should be able to ensure that you’re as successful as possible with the company.
While this may be a somewhat complex journey, the same can be said for many other firms. Despite this, it can be quite a rewarding experience, especially considering the benefits of IaaS.