This post was written by Oliver Lochhead - Consultant, Infrastructure and Nikhil Patel.

The Rise and Rise of Infrastructure as a Service

With the Cloud being a trending topic within the world of Technology, I’ve teamed with Nikhil Patel (ex Cofunds – Systems Infrastructure Manager) to give an overview of the history and evolution of the cloud, today’s top providers and digging a little deeper into Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), one of the 3 types of cloud computing models – IaaS, PaaS & SaaS; Infrastructure, Platform & Software as a Service.

Why is IaaS smart for businesses?

Trying to answer this question is difficult, our attempt here is not to answer but to address the question, as it’s so open ended and can be different for different people and organizations. The aim is to provoke thought and a discussion process, getting organizations thinking and talking about it.

Technology is important, very important to modern day businesses, operating a company without IT just isn't an option these days. Let's not forget that technology is a cost centre and the point of any modern day business is to make a profit each year and preferably more each year than the last. It's the return on the right investment (RORI) that will benefit the organization and this is easily overlooked many times.

IT has come a very long way in its evolution, from the first DPS data processing system from IBM back in the 1950s to the birth of the first wide area network in the 60s to the World Wide Web in the 90’s and the cloud in the 2000's. The internet has connected the world; we carry it in our pockets every day. Traditionally companies have run IT teams in-house and many still do, most split into development and operations teams. That being said, performing these functions in-house may not necessarily be the best idea and many have begun to look to the cloud/Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in order to meet their IT requirements.

Before IaaS and the cloud, technology was run in-house by internal IT teams, constant growth equals success and is generally the main driver behind economic success. Constant growth means more resources, more computers, more server space and more storage for the massive increase in the organizations’ data creation. Building and cultivating your business is great but sometimes rapid growth and development causes an organization to grow beyond its own capabilities, thereby causing a scalability problem. These issues are going to be felt throughout the organization and one of the first places this will be felt is in the internal IT team. The IT team are extremely qualified but they aren't magicians, they can't just expecto patronum these problems away. This is one of many reasons why organizations today are looking to managed service providers for help. The IaaS allows for companies to continue to grow without having to worry about exhausting their internal IT capabilities.

So what is Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)? Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources complemented by network and cloud storage, which can be self-provisioned and are available on-demand. IaaS providers offer these servers and their associated resources via dashboards. IaaS users have direct and total access to their servers and storage, like they would with traditional servers, but with easier scalability. IaaS clients can build a virtual data centre in the cloud and have access to many of the same technologies and resources of a traditional data centre without having to invest in the physical maintenance and management of a traditional data centre.

So who is leading the way to date?

Figures undoubtedly show that Amazon is by far the most dominant provider in today’s market with over 30% of market share against every other provider, although YoY growth (as per 2016 Q2) suggests Microsoft and google will be major competitors for the top spot in the coming years if they’re able to maintain such exponential growth! Image source: Synergy Research Group



The main attraction behind IaaS is that both hardware and software used are virtualized. It provides the ability for organizations to create base images that provide compute, storage and network resources on-demand, which are easily automated and can scale and grow with the organization. IaaS is considered the most flexible cloud model of the three available as IaaS clients have true control over their infrastructure.

We’re interested to hear from individuals and businesses on their thoughts around IaaS. The idea of this post is to start a conversation and to find out what has or maybe hasn’t worked for different people across IT functions. Ultimately, we want to know if IaaS is right for businesses and what key factors determine this. Further to this, when is the right time to take the leap of faith? For smaller businesses going through rapid or accelerated growth at what point do you feel it is necessary to virtualize your infrastructure?

As always, we welcome any feedback, comments and further questions. Stay tuned as we will be publishing our findings in the near future. 

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