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What is Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is an information technology (IT) paradigm that enables ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable system resources and higher-level services that can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort, often over the Internet.
This diagram shows a high-level view of the provide and customer roles for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Cloud Service Models
The cloud is a very broad concept, and it covers just about every possible sort of online service
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service
Cloud infrastructure services, known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), are made of highly scalable and automated compute resources. IaaS is fully self-service for accessing and monitoring things like compute, networking, storage, and other services, and it allows businesses to purchase resources on-demand and as-needed instead of having to buy hardware outright.
IaaS delivers Cloud Computing infrastructure to organizations, including things such as servers, network, operating systems, and storage, through virtualization technology. These cloud servers are typically provided to the client through a dashboard or an API, and IaaS clients have complete control over the entire infrastructure. IaaS provides the same technologies and capabilities as a traditional data center without having to physically maintain or manage all of it. IaaS clients can still access their servers and storage directly, but it is all outsourced through a “virtual data center” in the cloud.
As opposed to SaaS or PaaS, IaaS clients are responsible for managing aspects such as applications, runtime, OSes, middleware, and data. However, providers of the IaaS manage the servers, hard drives, networking, virtualization, and storage. Some providers even offer more services outside of the virtualization layer, such as databases or message queuing.
There are many benefits of choosing IaaS, such as that it:
- Is the most flexible cloud computing model
- Easily allows for automated deployment of storage, networking, servers, and processing power
- Hardware can be purchased based on consumption
- Gives clients complete control of their infrastructure
- Resources can be purchased as-needed
- Is highly scalable
Some characteristics to look for when considering IaaS are:
- Resources are available as a service
- The cost varies depending on consumption
- Services are highly scalable
- Typically includes multiple users on a single piece of hardware
- Provides complete control of the infrastructure to organizations
- Dynamic and flexible
When to Use IaaS
Just as with SaaS and PaaS, there are specific situations when it is the most advantageous to use IaaS. If you are a startup or a small company, IaaS is a great option so you don’t have to spend the time or money trying to create hardware and software. IaaS is also beneficial for large organizations who wish to have complete control over their applications and infrastructures, but are looking to only purchase what is actually consumed or needed. For rapidly growing companies, IaaS can be a good option as you don’t have to commit to a specific hardware or software as your needs change and evolve. It also helps if you are unsure what demands a new application will need as there is a lot of flexibility to scale up or down as needed.
Examples of IaaS
DigitalOcean, Linode, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE)