What is IaaS? Infrastructure as a Service

Story Highlights
  • IaaS definition.
  • Cloud computing.
  • Business continuity.
  • Cost savings.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), sometimes referred to as Hardware as a Service (HaaS), is a model of outsourcing an organisation’s computing infrastructure/IT hardware. This includes the entire infrastructure needed to support operations such as storage, hardware, servers and networking components. IaaS provides a standard, flexible and virtualised operating environment, which is the foundation of PaaS and SaaS.

In the Infrastructure as a Service model, the service provider is responsible for the housing and maintenance of the hardware while the client hires out the equipment for a fee and in return gets access to a virtualised environment. The client is responsible for the configuration and operation of the virtualised IT platform, including the guest operating system, software and database. The operation risk above the infrastructure belongs to the client.

Advantages of Infrastructure as a Service


1. Scalability

Expanding or reducing capacity is immediate as the resources are available as and when you need them. A typical example of the use of IaaS is a start-up that needs to start operations quickly and efficiently. With IaaS, the company has immediate access to new servers if demand increases or can take servers offline if there is no need.

2. Cost

Infrastructure as a Service provides considerable cost savings as it works on a pay per use/pay per go model and you only pay for resources your disorganisation consumes. There is also no spending on hardware or personnel needed to set up and maintain it. It is also a predictable cost model as you are not responsible for upgrading the hardware, replacing failed hardware or dealing with any unforeseen expenses.

Cloud is about how you do computing, not where you do computing. Paul Maritz


3. Location and Device Independence

All data is accessible from any location and any device. With Infrastructure as a Service, all you need is an internet connection.

4. Security

The servers are more physically secure as they are hosted within a data centre of the cloud provider. There is also no single point of failure. A hardware failure does not affect service as providers have a multitude of redundancy configurations and hardware resources. In many cases, even if an entire data centre failed, service would still be uninterrupted.

5. Green IT

Sharing and pooling resources and only using resources that you need leads to better utilisation, which, in turn, supports green IT initiatives.

Disadvantages of Infrastructure as a Service


1. Vendor

The success of Infrastructure as a Service depends on the quality and efficiency of the vendor.

2. Cost

Although costs may appear low in the short term, a comparative analysis is a must for the long-term cost of buying services rather than going in-house.

3. Data Security

If the data is sensitive in nature, you may need to discuss unique security options; alternatively, you may need to decide to keep the data within the organisation. Data centres may be located anywhere in the world. Since many countries have strict laws and regulations on the location of data, it is necessary to determine the nature of the data stored.


The worldwide public cloud-services market is projected to grow by 17.5 percent in 2019 to a total of £170 billion according to Gartner Inc. If this data is any indication, Infrastructure as a Service is all set for exponential growth in the coming years. Even enterprises reluctant to use Infrastructure as a Service will move toward some type of cloud-based model for, at the very least, its data backup and recovery.

Imran Zaman

The founder of DIGITI.ORG - The Digital Transformation Magazine. Imran is a Senior Consultant specialising in leading international program and project management teams to deliver digital transformation. Imran writes about Business, Technology and Innovation.

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