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What is IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS? Our Cloud Service Guide

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As hosting technology evolves, we are introduced to new categories of cloud infrastructure such as IaaS and PaaS. Each of these structures has advantages and disadvantages depending on your business goals. In this article, we cover all you need to know about Infrastructure As A Service or IaaS so you can determine if it’s the right choice for your business.

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See Also: Affordable Cloud Hosting

There are three main types of cloud computing services:

  • IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service
  • PaaS: Platform as a Service
  • SaaS: Software as a Service

In this article, we’ll be focusing on the first type, Infrastructure as a Service. 

What is IaaS?

Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS is a hosting solution that provides cloud computing resources to individuals and businesses over the internet. At its core, it’s a virtual server hosted in a remote data center by a cloud provider like ServerMania. 

In the IaaS model, as opposed to an on-premise server, the cloud provider is responsible for managing all of the components of the virtual server infrastructure. This includes the server hardware such as the:

  • Controlling Servers
  • Storage Servers
  • Compute Servers

As well as all of the networking infrastructure, switches, and top-tier connections to bandwidth providers. Instead of having to invest in on-premise servers and support staff, IaaS provides server access in highly secure data center environments for a manageable and predictable monthly fee. The Cloud Server Deployment process is greatly simplified through the use of the IaaS model.

What is IaaS in Cloud Computing?

IaaS is synonymous with cloud computing and the two terms can be used interchangeably. In the hosting industry, we tend to use the term cloud servers and cloud computing, but there can be other IaaS components which involve functions other than cloud computing. 

Components of IaaS

IaaS is made up of a number of distinct cloud infrastructure components which make the whole server deployment process easy to use and manageable for business users.

The Virtual Servers

The primary component of IaaS is the virtual servers. Unlike in a bare-metal environment, the IaaS model deploys cloud servers, which is a virtualized server. Each server is isolated from one another, but they each share the same cluster of resources such as storage, compute, and backup. 

Because these servers share the same resources, every component in the iaaS cloud server environment is designed for redundancy. This also allows for new servers to be created in seconds instead of hours, and also can increase server uptime.

The Cloud Control Panel

Another element of the IaaS model is the associated services with the cloud server. In order for the IaaS model to work, businesses need a way to manage the remote server, monitor their performance, and keep track of expenses. 

Through the use of the cloud control panel, businesses can accomplish all of these tasks. The panel is designed by IaaS providers to allow you to deploy new servers, delete instances, change operating systems, and interface with the API for automated server tasks. 

The panel can also be used to design your own custom server images and operating systems, so you can deploy a new server based on that exact setup in seconds.

The Benefits of IaaS

Increased Redundancy and Business Continuity

The primary benefit of IaaS is increased server redundancy and potential server uptime. When leveraging bare-metal servers either on-premises or in a remote data center, unless you are clustering or load balancing servers, you have a single point of failure in the equation. 

If the server motherboard fails or another component which is not redundantly designed, the resources hosted on the server will go offline. This makes it more difficult to plan for disaster recovery when there is a single point of failure.

In the IaaS model, nearly every component of the server process is designed for redundancy. Seperate servers are used for storage, compute, and controlling the cloud computing operations. This ensures that if a single component fails, the entire cloud can redeploy resources on new servers and self-heal. 

See Also: Cloud Server Backup

Increased Performance

Depending on the type of tasks being performed on the cloud servers, many businesses will see performance increases when migrating to the cloud. This is because you are receiving access to the latest hardware which is perfectly load balanced and optimized for performance. 

Infrastructure as a Service can also improve performance when shifting away from on-premises servers as it is hosted in remote data centers that are connected to redundant, high-performing networks.  

See Also: Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan for Server Failure: Minimizing Business Disruption

Scalability

In a traditional server environment, you need to anticipate future growth and pay for a server which has enough resources to meet your needs today and into the future. This generally means paying more than you really need to use today.

In the cloud IaaS environment, you can upgrade your server resources at any time and in seconds. This means you only ever have to pay for what you are using today. IaaS providers like ServerMania are focused on providing a resilient cloud that can always grow with your needs to maintain business continuity.

Reduced Server Management Costs With Automation

While not every business has the expertise to leverage this feature, IaaS platforms include an API functionality which can be used to autonomously deploy new servers or scale resources depending on changes in your business.

For instance, if you are managing an e-commerce store and your internal systems detect a surge in new visitors, the API can be used to deploy new server instances to meet the new demand. 

Infrastructure as a Service gives you the flexibility to manage server resources more efficiently and thus reduce management costs. 

The Disadvantages of IaaS

Compliance Considerations

Depending on the industry your business is in, there may be compliance considerations which require that server resources be hosted in an environment that is completely separate from other users. This could be the case in the healthcare or financial sectors of some countries. 

In these instances, virtual servers in a public cloud would not be the ideal choice. IaaS could still be leveraged in a private cloud environment though. Private clouds can also be deployed with ServerMania and each of our private clouds is isolated on dedicated hardware to meet any compliance obligations. 

Cost

If you’re comparing server resources, cloud servers are more expensive dollar for dollar than a traditional bare metal server. This is due to increased redundancy and the fact that cloud servers are composed of many individual servers. 

Depending on the workload a bare metal dedicated server may be the best option. If you need a high amount of CPU / RAM, or the workload is stable overtime, then a dedicated server may be best for you.

But most businesses find that the increased server cost is offset in IaaS by the increased uptime, as well as the ability to only pay for what you need right now. With a dedicated server, you would need to pay for X amount of resources even if you are only using a portion of the server.

What is an IaaS Example?

An example of IaaS is the ServerMania Public Cloud. As a cloud service provider, we provide businesses with cloud computing instances in all shapes and sizes. This is an easy to use platform which allows you to deploy and manage servers in just a few minutes. 

Businesses also have the option of creating their own IaaS by deploying a private cloud. This functions in the same way as a public cloud, but with a private cloud you are the only tenant on the hardware. 

Another example of a cloud service provider is AWS or Microsoft Azure, but many people find platforms such as Microsoft Azure and AWS to be too difficult to navigate and support too difficult to reach when they need help. That’s why many businesses choose a partner like ServerMania who is more invested in their success. 

What is PaaS and What is the difference between IaaS vs PaaS?

PaaS or Platform as a Service builds on the IaaS model. It adds other software and middleware to the cloud server environment to help businesses manage their server operations. The main downside of PaaS is that the environment is not as customizable as in an IaaS environment because PaaS providers need to retain control so that their middleware can function as intended.

PaaS can make sense for businesses that want to relinquish control to a third party, but PaaS tends to lock you into an ecosystem that is difficult to migrate away from. IaaS on the other hand is completely wide open and easy to shift resources to a new cloud IaaS service provider. 

When comparing Infrastructure as a Service vs Paas, businesses should also consider the increased cost associated with PaaS over Infrastructure as a Service due to the added management costs on the service provider.

What is SaaS and What's the difference between IaaS vs SaaS?

If you’re confused about where SaaS comes into place and are looking for the SaaS meaning, you’re not alone. Saas applications are sometimes referred to as Cloud Applications. In the IaaS model, you have access to all of the underlying server software and OS configurations to deploy the applications you need for your business. 

With SaaS, all of the software and services are managed by the remote provider. You just receive access to login to the software you subscribed for, and can’t tailor the server to your needs as you are only paying for the software access. Similar to PaaS, SaaS locks you into a software ecosystem and with SaaS, you can’t easily download the data being stored. 

An example of Software as a Service would be Google Sheets or Zoho Analytics. Each of these softwares are hosted remotely rather than being setup in-house, and you pay a monthly subscription for access. 

In Summary

IaaS and cloud servers provide a number of benefits to businesses depending on their specific goals and needs. It has completely revolutionized how servers are deployed and made it easier than ever to get started with a new server.

If you’re interested in deploying a cloud server, check out ServerMania Cloud Hosting. We’ve been in the hosting industry since 2002 and are committed to providing a simple and easy to use cloud platform. We have data centers worldwide and each of our data centers is designed from the ground up with maximum performance and affordability in mind.

We don’t believe in hiding support behind gated and complex control panels. We’re your trusted server advisor and want to learn more about you and your business so that we can help you meet your server goals. 

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