Infrastructure as a Service is one of three levels in the cloud computing stack model commonly used to describe the different types of service that hosting companies can provide.
IaaS is the bottom, or most basic, layer of the cloud computing stack model and describes a situation where a provider supplies a customer with just the infrastructure required to run their application(s). This differs from Platform as a Service (PaaS), which includes things like development tools, runtime environments and ready-made databases, and Software as a Service (SaaS), in which users are given access to a fully functional application.The IaaS model lets users purchase the building blocks of IT infrastructure, such as servers, storage and networking, without investing in the hardware, and the environment in which to operate it, themselves. As with all ‘as a Service’ cloud models, customers benefit from an on-demand payment, with monthly, utility-style pricing and the flexibility to increase or decrease the size of their systems.
The definition of ‘infrastructure’ in IaaS is, however, open to interpretation.
‘I’ is for infrastructure, or is it?
Frequently, IaaS is defined as the provision of virtual servers exclusively, in either public or private cloud configurations. Some sources include both virtual and dedicated, physical servers in their definition.
Our view is that the true interpretation of ‘infrastructure’ is the underlying hardware, the ‘tin’ if you like, that powers the cloud and your applications.
While the common denominator in all definitions is access to core resources, such as servers, in a virtual IaaS you don’t have access to or knowledge of the underlying infrastructure. An example of PaaS, not IaaS, in our book. While industry observers and media have been saying that the distinction between IaaS and PaaS has become blurred in recent years, with the introduction of new service and models, this fundamental misappropriation of the term IaaS has been around since the very beginning.
True IaaS is bare metal cloud
True Infrastructure as a Service has become available to a far wider range of businesses in recent years thanks to advances in the area of bare metal cloud, where the provisioning and management of dedicated infrastructure has become highly automated. Ease of use, scalability and management of dedicated (bare metal) resources has now reached cloud levels of convenience. Hence the name.
The advantage of using bare metal cloud over virtual versions of IaaS is that you have complete control over the system architecture. This means you are free to choose how servers are used, as dedicated or running hypervisors, the application or VM density and every aspect of how they are clustered and networked. You are also free to change this at any time, adapting your bare metal cloud resources to perfectly meet the shifting needs of your business.
Ready to deploy on bare metal? Create your free account and start configuring your bare metal servers here.
IaaS, PaaS, does it really matter?
No, not really. What matters is that you get the right solution for your needs – the right combination of power, performance, cost and reliability. Virtual IaaS (PaaS) infrastructure solutions typically come with access to a portfolio of optional extras that can be used to build a complete solution on virtual machines. Bare metal cloud meanwhile gives you the option to control every aspect of your stack and squeeze every drop of value from your IaaS investment.