What is it that makes IaaS such a practical choice for most businesses seeking to leverage cloud computing?
There’s been a lot of excitement over IaaS –style cloud computing in recent months. IaaS is fast becoming the approach that medium to large-sized businesses are taking as they shift or transition over into cloud computing-based IT infrastructure. So, what is it that makes IaaS so appealing to these organizations? Through IaaS, companies are able to retain control over the finer points of their IT operation while at the same time, trimming costs and leveraging the power of cloud computing itself. Also, when you factor in that signing up for a cloud computing service doesn’t normally require inflated start-up costs (as is the case with hardware purchases), there is additional value for businesses that are looking to upgrade or refresh their IT assets.
IaaS allows organizations to gain access to advanced hardware and capabilities without having to physically invest in or purchase these components. However, what makes IaaS such a powerful alternative to traditional IT is its propensity for “remote management” opportunities. Quite simply, businesses can utilize their current IT squad in much the same way that they are used to facilitate on-site operations in a traditional IT environment. Naturally, this also requires your organization to have cloud computing and/or IaaS certified personnel on hand to actually design, manage, and analyze the effectiveness of a cloud computing operation. IaaS style cloud computing
The difference is, through IaaS, IT personnel will likely never actually physically come into contact with any hardware whatsoever. While this might sound like it’s somewhat dangerous at first glance, the reality is that providers of IaaS have great sums of capital invested in maintaining their systems. In fact, it’s probably not even possible for most businesses (regardless of size) to build or maintain a comparable type of private cloud (in terms of budgeting) compared with what a vendor can offer them. This cost-effectiveness vs. control paradigm is what makes IaaS the most practical choice for businesses that are heavily reliant on IT services.
Other areas that are often overlooked when weighing the pros and cons of IaaS are data security, competition and corporate espionage. Chances are, we’re never going to truly arrive at an ultimate solution for data security; as long as there has been computing and networking, there have been risks. People like to pick on cloud computing because of the perceived security risks posed by it, but the truth is that a better, more secure solution / alternative does not exist. Traditional IT is just as open to APT attacks, hackers or data thieves as cloud computing, and as technology advances, perhaps even more so. Through IaaS however, companies are able to ensure a higher level of internal and external security because they have more direct control over it. Likewise, as better security solutions emerge, they can be more quickly integrated if an organization has control over their infrastructure.
For organizations that engage in competitive or classified research, there is also the issue of corporate espionage. One of the best ways to guarantee that appropriate monitoring of data and construction of appropriate security protocols is being carried out is for an organization to simply do it themselves. Relying on 2nd or 3rd party security for sensitive data is akin to having a backdoor protected by inept guards. Simply put, you’ll never know who is watching over your data if you leave the task in some random company’s hands; similarly, you have no way of determining what their ultimate intentions are either.
On the technical side of things, IaaS also allows more intuitive and aggressive businesses to create specific types of IT solutions and/or incorporate applications / new technologies in unexpected ways. If an organization has to wait around for solutions to be devised, or useful applications to be included in a packaged service offering, they’re at the mercy of someone else (specifically, cloud providers). The problem here is that cloud providers are most likely not going to be experts in the field(s) in which their clients operate. Why in the world would major companies want to leave the innovation to esoteric groups like cloud providers anyway? This is where the true value of IaaS comes into clear focus, it provides a powerful platform that businesses can use to not only run their operations, but really develop / facilitate their ideas and goals through IT.
In the end, the strength of IaaS rests on the shoulders of the companies who utilize it. If these organizations approach it (IaaS) with an open mind, imagination and solid expertise, they can forge entirely new approaches to how they do business. However, for those groups who are advancing toward IaaS with expectations of completely managed solutions which only require minimal involvement should probably look elsewhere. When it comes to IaaS, “you can only reap what you sow”.