The first major type of cloud services in my series of Azure features/services that I’d like to share with you is Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS). If you are not familiar with the concept of IaaS, a popular metaphor for the concept uses pizza to convey the idea. Traditional on-premises deployment of technical infrastructure where you buy and build the servers and operate and mange them yourselves can be compared to making a pizza in your own house – you own and provide yourself with the kitchen, the gas, the oven, the pizza dough, the toppings, and you cook the pizza.

Where as Infrastructure as a Service can be thought of (in cooking pizza terms) as ‘Kitchen-as-a-service’, some other business provides the kitchen (communal kitchen) like the gas/electricity, counterspace, mixer, rolling pin and oven, and you make whatever you want – so if its pizza, you provide the pizza dough and toppings and you use their mixer, rolling pin, and kitchen counters to prep the pizza and use their oven, running on a gas service they provide to cook the pizza. You pay to use the kitchen to make and cook whatever you want to prep and cook in the kitchen – in this case you choose to make and cook a Pizza. You could have just as well made a cake – it doesn’t matter to the kitchen provider – they still provide you with the same kitchen and tools, you just instead would have had to provide your own ingredients to mix together to make the cake batter and frosting.

With IaaS, the cloud computing service provider provides the hardware environment/platform and tools (the infrastructure) such as storage, networking resources, virtual machines, security mechanisms, etc and you use it for whatever purposes you wish to achieve – such as maybe running a window server with a web app and a windows server running SQL services to store data that the web app talks to. Or maybe you want to use it for data storage, or backup and recovery. Or maybe use it for your company’s website hosting or utilize it for quickly setting up test and development scenarios. The platform and tools provided by the cloud provider stay the same and they manage that infrastructure, while you purchase, install, configure and manage your own software on it- the operating systems, applications and middleware. 


So what advantages does Infrastructure as a Service have?

Eliminate large Capital Expenses on Infrastructure
Instead of paying the upfront expense of setting up, managing and maintaining an onsite datacenter that will often only serve demand for a limited period of time before requiring another large capital expense (while creating periods where demand exceeds the capabilities of the current infrastructure), shift instead to operational expenditures that grow and shrink with infrastructure demands.

Reduce ongoing Costs
The cloud can help reduce overall costs. Take for instance running a VDI environment. Forrester, in a total economic impact study found that organizations that migrated from VDI running on-premises to cloud-based virtual desktops were able to reduce their prior VDI licensing and IT infrastructure costs up to 34% annually and experienced a cost savings of 59% on IT deployment and maintenance expenses annually. 

Improved Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR)
In traditional on-premise infrastructure, achieving high availability and full fledged disaster recovery setup is EXPENSIVE. Large up front costs for a large amount of technology and staff – technology you may never even use but is absolutely crucial to business continuity. With IaaS you significantly reduce costs and with the right service level agreement in place be able to access applications and data as usual during a disaster or outage. 

Focus on your business
When you don’t have to have your attention consumed by managing IT Infrastructure your team can instead focus on your organizations core work.

Quick Innovation
With the necessary technological infrastructure can be spun up in the cloud in a matter of minutes to hours rather than the days/weeks/months it would take internally, you can rapidly launch new initiatives and accomplish technological feats.

Respond to shifting business conditions faster
IaaS enabled you to dynamically respond to the rises and falls for resource demand for applications, saving money when demand is low but meeting desired user expectations when demand spikes.

Higher level and quality of security
A cloud service provider (CSP) can provide security for your data and applications that can far exceed what would have been possible to attain in house at the same price level.

Increased Reliability, stability and ongoing supportability
With IaaS, the service provider (with the appropriate agreement) assures that your infrastructure is reliable and meets Service Level Agreements. You do need to worry about maintaining or upgrading or troubleshooting hardware and equipment.

The advantages of Infrastructure as a Service is clear, but moving from an on-premise model to an IaaS model can be a large task. Safari Micro is ready to help you develop a migration strategy which can even just include testing the waters with a hybrid network where your cloud and on-premise environment are connected. We can help you strategize and architect a cloud solution that helps you to advantage of all the ways IaaS in the Azure cloud can benefit you. Reach out to us today!

Jeremy Wallace
Senior Cloud Infrastructure Engineer
Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert