By the DynaSis Team
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)—a cloud computing solution wherein a firm’s data servers and other related resources reside in an offsite data center rather than at the organization’s physical location—is fast becoming a solution of choice among modern businesses. Servers no longer need to be physical boxes, sitting in a server closet at the office. Thanks to virtualization, a server can reside anywhere, with secure access to it provided over a high-speed Internet connection. In most cases, firms can pay to have their own, discrete server hosted at the data center, or they can lease a server allocation carved from a much higher-capacity storage device that is shared by multiple companies yet isolated and secured through software from intrusion.
With IaaS, hosting companies provide, not only the storage space itself, but also the operating system and any necessary hardware to make the server secure and functional. IaaS providers also handle server maintenance and monitoring, as well as backup and sometimes administration. These virtual servers can host not only a firm’s data but also its email systems and most, if not all, of its software and other computing resources.
With IaaS, companies pay for the server space and related operations through an ongoing weekly, monthly or yearly fee. They don’t own the physical hardware, so the cost is an operating expense rather than a capital expense. IaaS platforms are highly scalable, so allocations can be adjusted up or down on demand.
Adopting IaaS offers companies numerous benefits, not the least of which is the elimination of hardware and operating system acquisition, management and maintenance. IaaS also reduces the IT burden associated with owning server hardware and eliminates the possibility of a server outage. (Servers can and do crash in data centers, of course, but hosting providers have built-in redundancy and failover programs that ensure continuity of service even in the event of a server crash.) Most providers guarantee uptime of 99.999% (“five nines”), which is 5.26 minutes of downtime, per year.
Research firms such as Yankee Group report that IaaS brings companies numerous benefits beyond hardware/software savings and capacity management. Other benefits include greater resiliency (disaster recovery/business continuity), more effective resource utilization (firms pay only for the server space they need), and sheer convenience, since business leaders and their workers can access corporate data and applications from any Internet-connected location.
Furthermore, many companies report that IaaS enhances both worker productivity and business innovation, often significantly. IaaS expedites communication and collaboration, even among remote workers. It is a key driver of mobility, which has long been proven to boost employee efficiency and satisfaction.
For the business leader, the time, money and energy not spent on making technology purchase and management decisions, as well as hiring and managing technology staff, can be diverted to business growth. Finally, the ability to expand server capacity on demand lets firms grow their resources quickly for special projects, product development and other needs, making them more competitive and willing to pursue innovative ideas.
In fact, an Oxford Economics survey found that 36 percent of responding firms adopted cloud solutions such as IaaS, not based on the traditional drivers such as cost savings and resiliency, but rather for their innovation benefits. Per the report, the transformation brought about by IaaS and other cloud solutions is “fundamentally altering business processes, [bringing] incredible opportunities, including the ability to build a real-time enterprise where interaction and innovation flourish." We couldn’t agree more.
DynaSis is an Atlanta IT services and cloud computing provider for small and midsized businesses. All of our solutions focus on helping companies achieve the three fundamental IT necessities of the modern business—availability, security and mobility. We specialize in on-demand and on-premise managed IT services, managed cloud infrastructure, desktops and backups, and professional hardware and equipment installation. For more information about DynaSis’ IT support and services, visit www.dynasis.com.