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What is IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)?

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Definition

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) enables enterprises to lease or rent servers to use for storage and computation in the cloud. Users have the freedom to run the operating system of their choice and any applications they like without worrying about the cost of maintaining the physical infrastructure.

This gives companies the ability to access servers that are physically close to the end-users that need them, which can decrease latency issues and even allow for a serverless physical environment. Also, because IaaS can be scaled automatically in either direction (i.e., scale up or down), it gives users a greater sense of agility, particularly when the business undergoes change.

Types of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Public IaaS

Public IaaS includes solutions that run on a public cloud and are available to the general public, which means their resources are shared among many organizations.

Private IaaS

With a private IaaS architecture, your solutions are implemented on your own servers. Therefore, you have exclusive use of your IaaS and can benefit from dedicated access to its resources.

Hybrid IaaS

Hybrid IaaS provides you with a combination of public and private cloud resources. Your IaaS solution is composed of multiple cloud environments, which may also include in-house servers.

How to Implement Infrastructure-as-a-Service

The implementation of IaaS can be through private, public, or hybrid cloud architecture. Customers have the freedom to alter the infrastructure through a graphical interface. They can also gain access to the infrastructure through an API key, which allows new servers to be incorporated when necessary.

How Does Infrastructure-as-a-Service Work?

With IaaS, customers use dashboards and APIs to gain access to the servers and storage they are renting. They may add resources as they see fit and experiment with different solutions to meet changing needs.

What Are the Common Business Scenarios of IaaS?

Website Hosting

Customers can host a website using resources provided by an IaaS service. This eliminates the need for in-house servers.

Test and Development

Users can experiment with different environments as they design applications using Structured Query Language (SQL), Java, or any other language. This makes setting them up and taking them down easier than if they use their own, on-premises resources.

Storage, Backup, and Recovery

An organization can use IaaS for storage, backup, and recovery resources, which may be particularly helpful when the demand is unpredictable or if the needs are growing steadily as the business expands.

High-performance Computing

With IaaS resources, you have access to powerful computing that may otherwise be economically infeasible. This enables the development, testing, and deployment of a larger range of applications, including software for memory-intensive applications like those for video editing, computer-aided design (CAD), and more.

Web Applications

With IaaS, you can deploy some or all of your web applications within the infrastructure, making it easier to scale up or down as demand for the applications shifts.

Big Data Analysis

With greater access to more powerful resources, IaaS empowers users to examine huge sets of data. This includes scouring through data-sets to find patterns that can be used for artificial intelligence (AI).

Advantages of IaaS

Eliminates Capital Expense and Reduces Ongoing Cost

With an on-site data center, an organization has to make considerable investments in setting it up and maintaining it. With IaaS, the provider handles those costs.

Innovate Rapidly

When you are done developing a new application or offering, the infrastructure necessary for launch is ready almost right away, instead of reconfiguring your in-house systems over the course of weeks or months.

Respond More Quickly To Shifting Business Conditions

With the scalability of IaaS comes the agility to increase or decrease production quickly, such as during the holidays or seasonal events.

Focus on Your Core Business

Because you do not have to spend as much time with your IT infrastructure, IaaS gives you more time and energy to further core business objectives.

Increase Stability, Reliability, and Supportability

With an IaaS solution, you do not have to invest extra resources in supporting your infrastructure or making sure it is stable and reliable. The provider handles all of that for you.

Better Security

You can include security options in your service agreement with the cloud provider that are as powerful as any other cloud or multi-cloud security solution. Your IaaS security options may outperform what you can obtain for an in-house solution.

Get New Applications To Users Faster

There is no need to spend time preparing the infrastructure to deliver new applications. Your IaaS provider takes care of that for you. This allows you to deploy new solutions more quickly.

Top Examples of IaaS

Some of the top IaaS examples include:

  1. Microsoft Azure: Microsoft Azure is known to fit a wide range of business solutions.
  2. Amazon Web Services (AWS): Amazon’s offering is popular for its ease of use and impressive selection of tools.
  3. IBM Cloud: IBM Cloud’s service stands out due, in part, to its Bare Metal-as-a-Service (BMaaS) option. This provides users with access to the hardware that supports their cloud solution.

How Fortinet Can Help

The Fortinet FortiGate next-generation firewall (NGFW) can protect an IaaS by shielding virtual machines from cyber criminals and malware. The FortiGate solution can be positioned between virtual servers and the internet. Using deep packet inspection (DPI), it searches through the data packets that attempt to go both in and out of the servers. FortiGate also incorporates AI, which allows it to detect zero-day threats, in addition to those that already have been profiled using cyber intelligence. 

In this way, the IaaS solution can be kept secure from a variety of threats, enhancing both security and the confidence of developers, IT admins, team leaders, and end-users.