When people think of Cloud Computing, the service that most readily comes to mind is Infrastructure. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) refers to the infrastructure, storage and network services that are available from most cloud vendors.
IaaS is a completely separate offering and market from the other services provided by cloud vendors such as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or any of the many other XaaS offerings and is often confused with datacenter outsourcing or a hosting solution. And though vendors appear to offer very similar offerings, all cloud vendors are not created equally.
So, with so many vendors out there from Amazon to Virtacore Systems, how will you know which is the best for you?
Public cloud Infrastructure as a Service refers to a virtual machine, storage and network which are presented in a cookie-cutter fashion to allow for on demand or self-service utility. The reason that it is called public is that your virtual machine will be collocated with lots of other virtual machines.
If you don’t think this is a good idea, then you may want to consider a private or hybrid cloud.
Even though you are outsourcing the infrastructure, you will still have some management responsibility as everything above the hypervisor is for you to manage – from the operating system on up. That said, the public cloud vendor manages the physical hardware, power, cooling and everything that makes up the data center component.
Though cloud computing may be a short term tactical move, for larger organizations, moving to the cloud and away from running a data center or IT operations is the strategic direction of smaller to mid-size businesses, and is a natural next step in the evolution in the outsourcing of IT.
Despite the immature nature of the market, there are a variety of providers to choose from, many of whom may meet your specific needs.
In a recent article Gartner makes four recommendations in selecting a vendor that is a best fit for your specific requirements.
1. Plan to reevaluate. One size definitely does not fit all with regard to cloud computing. What may be a good fit today may not be a good fit tomorrow, especially given the rate of evolution. So, plan to re-evaluate your choice.
2. Consider multiple vendors. Gartner argues that although it is attractive to consider a single vendor, no one vendor is going to have the best solution across all business or use cases. Consider selecting vendors by environment or system requirements.
3. Considerations beyond savings. While you may have originally started to look at IaaS as a way to reduce costs, the real benefits may be agility and scalability rather than cost savings. While many consider cloud computing a ‘commodity’ business (i.e., low cost offering with best effort availability and performance), IaaS providers are quickly becoming “enterprise class”. Vendors are evolving rapidly and the market is changing as it matures.
4. Infrastructure location considerations. Public cloud IaaS is shifting with new bandwidth becoming available in multiple regions across the globe. And while a recent article on the Dutch Cloud Computing Industry underscores the viability of the cloud industry in the Netherlands, for example, the most sophisticated providers are still based in the US according to Gartner.