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What is IaaS?

IaaS (infrastructure as a service) is a computing model that offers resources on demand to businesses and individuals via the cloud. 

IaaS is attractive because acquiring computing resources to run applications or store data the traditional way requires time and capital. Enterprises must purchase equipment through procurement processes that can take months. They must invest in physical spaces: typically specialized rooms with power and cooling. And after deploying the systems, enterprises need IT professionals to manage them.  

All this is challenging to scale when demand spikes or business grows. Enterprises risk running out of capacity, or overbuilding and ending up with infrastructure that suffers from low utilization.

These challenges are why IaaS use is steadily growing. Learn more about Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, and other Google Cloud IaaS products and solutions.

IaaS defined

IaaS is the on-demand availability of almost infinitely scalable computing resources as services over the internet. It eliminates the need for enterprises to procure, configure, or manage infrastructure themselves, and they only pay for what they use.

IaaS resources are offered as individual services, so enterprises can choose what they need. As the cloud provider manages the infrastructure, businesses can concentrate on installing, configuring, and managing software and keeping their data secure.

What are the benefits of IaaS?

It’s economical

Because IaaS resources are used on demand and enterprises only have to pay for the compute, storage, and networking resources that are actually used, IaaS costs are fairly predictable and can be easily contained and budgeted for.  

It’s efficient

IaaS resources are regularly available to businesses when they need them. As a result, enterprises reduce delays when expanding infrastructure and, alternatively, don’t waste resources by overbuilding capacity.

It boosts productivity

Because the cloud provider is responsible for setting up and maintaining the underlying physical infrastructure, enterprise IT departments save time and money and can redirect resources to more strategic activities.

It’s reliable

IaaS has no single point of failure. Even if any one component of the hardware resources fails, the service will usually still remain available.

It’s scalable

One of the biggest advantages of IaaS in cloud computing is the capability to scale the resources up and down rapidly according to the needs of the enterprise.

It drives faster time to market

Because IaaS offers virtually infinite flexibility and scalability, enterprises can get their work done more efficiently, ensuring faster development life cycles.

Do you need IaaS?

IaaS provides enterprises with storage, server, and networking options that don’t require them to purchase and maintain vast private server rooms that take up a lot of energy and space. Thus one of the key reasons businesses choose IaaS is to reduce their capital expenditures and transform them into operational expenses.

 Enterprises with unpredictable workload volumes or the need to move swiftly in response to business fluctuations also turn to IaaS as a cost-effective way to support operations. 

IaaS versus PaaS (platform as a service): sometimes these two services are confused. Indeed, the difference between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS (software as a service) is often questioned. The answer is that they each provide a different cloud service: an infrastructure environment versus platform tools versus complete applications.

If your organization experiences any of the following, you’re probably a good candidate for IaaS:

  • High business growth that outpaces infrastructure capabilities
  • Unpredictable spikes in demand for infrastructure services
  • Low utilization of existing infrastructure resources
  • Large volumes of data that overwhelm on-premises data stores
  • Slow response times with on-premises applications 
  • Application performance limitations due to capacity constraints
  • Slow hardware refresh cycles

These scenarios require more infrastructure scalability and agility than traditional data centers can provide.

What is IaaS used for?

IaaS offers a broad range of possible applications that can benefit organizations. Here are some common use cases:

Run testing and development

The computing and networking power of IaaS makes it a perfect environment to run and manage testing and development cycles.

Improve disaster recovery preparation

Because IaaS is scalable and reliable, businesses can consolidate disparate disaster recovery systems into one virtualized environment.

Perform big data analysis

Storing and analyzing big data requires a lot of processing power. IaaS is an appropriate environment for big data because it can handle large workloads.

Handle spikes in traffic

IaaS can handle unexpected traffic spikes by scaling as necessary.

Provision resources quickly

IaaS makes it possible to get new projects up and running quickly when urgent business priorities arise.

Google Cloud, offered by Google, is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its own consumer products, such as Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube.

 Google Cloud offerings include IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Its IaaS products allow enterprises to mix and match these services into combinations that provide the precise environment they need.