What the future of IaaS (Cloud Computing) might look like…
Businesses are tuning into the power and flexibility afforded by Cloud Computing IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service). The quandary which most companies face when evaluating cloud computing services is one of how to maintain control while both transitioning and migrating.
Approaches to cloud computing like IaaS are all-inclusive, which gives businesses an unprecedented level of authority over nearly every aspect of the service while providing a new home for items like legacy apps. Legacy applications and software are especially big concerns for larger, more developed organizations (which is perfectly understandable, as they are essentially integral components).
However, while IaaS might be more free and open, it does usually require the client to do all the setup work and administration. This is the reason that experts are suggesting that IaaS might soon be incorporating PaaS-style elements as part of an effort to provide a bridge between wide-open and managed services.
What makes IaaS so commanding is just how much control it furnishes. For companies with the will and resources, IaaS is arguably the best way to conduct an IT operation using remotely-positioned hardware and assets. Through an IaaS provider you are basically gaining metered access to all the load balancers, servers, operating systems, apps, networking, storage, and load balancers offered by that particular plan.
The caveat to all this control however, is that you must actually be able to effectively and efficiently design and manage your infrastructure. This is where the weakness of IaaS lies of course, in its user-friendliness.
Certainly organizations need the level of control offered through IaaS, but remaining so incredibly open and undefined could also put it at a disadvantage. This is why IaaS seems to be moving toward integrating more PaaS –style elements and/or choices to the fray. At this point you’re probably wondering what defines PaaS, right? Simply put, PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) is basically IaaS without the ability to manage the inner workings of the system itself.
Sure, through PaaS you might be able to choose from a list of hardware, software or other components, but your IT department won’t be able to fully manage it in the same way that they could a comparable IaaS solution. In other words, PaaS is kind of like IaaS sans the complete control. \
Naturally, this begs the question, is your organization or IT department really prepared to implement cloud computing? Do you have personnel on hand that are certified in cloud computing foundation and/or as IaaS specialists? These are some very important questions to consider as we move forward into a more IaaS and cloud-dominated age of IT and business.
The differences between IaaS and PaaS are usually interpreted one of two distinct ways:
- IaaS is completely open-ended and better because it offers greater freedom.
- PaaS is better because if offers defined options and managed services.
…but what if the two approaches were combined somehow? Why couldn’t we have IaaS packages which are divided into specific classes which businesses can then choose from, each offering different levels of control and specific options? Perhaps there are some areas of IT which you want to have on-site personnel controlling/managing directly and others that are better left to the provider? The costs associated with administration are also a factor; certainly some organizations will find it cheaper to basically “outsource” certain tasks to their cloud provider while maintaining control over other areas?
The point is, IaaS could increase its appeal and effectiveness by co-opting some PaaS approaches. As IaaS grows in popularity, it is highly likely that many providers will begin noting trends and similarities in the way that their users deploy their services. Armed with this data, perhaps these IaaS providers will then be able to put together more targeted (IaaS) packages which feature hybrid management (IaaS + PaaS)?
As previously mentioned, administration costs (management costs) associated with IaaS will likely shape future consumer trends more than anything. Even companies that require a more controlled IT atmosphere will begin to weigh their options as better technology and managed cloud services come onto the scene. After all, why would any organization want to pay more for IaaS (on-site costs + service costs) if there is a comparable PaaS solution which might afford the same level of service? Over time, it’s highly likely that IaaS vendors will take note of this type of disparity and begin to create alternatives to their current methodologies which incorporate more specifically directed choices.