Firstly what is IaaS?
IaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service and is the move from dedicated hardware located on-site, in one location (usually a cupboard out of the way somewhere) to hosted dedicated computing power delivered online.
IaaS is as much a cultural shift as it is a physical move, in that users are required to implicitly trust the service provider with all of their business data - CRM information, accounting and company documentation. IaaS requires that all of this is held in the 'cloud' - the undefined location that isn’t on-site, isn't physical and isn’t touchable.
This cultural change and impact on users thinking about the storage of data is a shift in direction and requires businesses to embrace the future of technology to the fullest.
There are of course a lot of distinct advantages in fully embracing a move to cloud-based infrastructure.
No hardware on site
This gives users peace of mind - there is nothing to break, nothing to get stolen, nothing would be burnt in a fire and certain insurances will compensate for this.
No physical backups
Whilst backup is still an important part, it no longer relies upon the business to change the tape, set the backup software, remember to take the tape home or bring it back. No data is leaving a physical premise with the IT manager, overall making the information more secure and less vulnerable to loss or theft.
Servers are expensive items of equipment and when businesses add in the Microsoft operating system, plus user calls and software such as Exchange or SQL and a new server quickly becomes expensive – all CapEx. With IaaS, the model is all OpEx – you pay for what you use, there are no additional expenses for licences or add ons that are no longer needed – it gives full flexibility.
Refreshing the server hardware every five years is no longer a thing.
Moving to the OpEx model and a pay-as-you-go type service gives flexibility and the ability to flex up and down as required to meet business needs.
As previously touched upon the flexibility of IaaS comes into its own when looking at licences for users or computer power, these can be changed monthly depending upon the needs of the business. Even large scale products such as Exchange or SQL can be added or removed from servers. Adding a new processor, more ram or disk space is no longer a drawn-out process waiting for parts and engineering, these can be added quickly and efficiently requiring no more than a reboot of the server.
There is no need for drawn-out processes of tapes and routines, everything is done in the cloud from one data centre to another, with options for real-time replication, hourly snapshots, 7-day rotational backups and any other permutation the business requires. As with all IaaS these are hands-off for the business - the service provider does all the hard work including checking the setup and the first point of call in case of an emergency or restoration.
Additional engineering costs are a thing of the past. Businesses pay the service provider for what's required including ad hoc requests such as windows updates. Server installations are quick and can be spun up in a matter of hours, not weeks waiting for parts and equipment.
The cloud is the future.
It's been said repeatedly for some time and all agile, forward-thinking businesses should be making their transitions to the cloud. IaaS is just one key element in that process – starting to allow a true 'work from anywhere' approach. Over the past two years, we've seen how important this has been - a flexible workforce working from homes across the country show that IaaS not only works but enables businesses to continue operating throughout a pandemic, with no disruption or downtime.
Buzzwords such as flexibility, scaleability reliability and the OpEx model helps businesses progress and scale as needs arise. The cultural change is one of the biggest steps, but this is not as great as it once was, cloud-based services are everywhere from Netflix to email and servers. Everything is online, accessible and reliable - no longer are you reliant on the physical tin to work, employees can log on from another device and carry on from where they left off.
IaaS is here to stay and I believe that everyone should utilise its flexibility and reliability to run their business. Without it, your business will be left behind.