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The Business Benefits of IaaS and how to Choose an IaaS Provider

Published on 03 May 13
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The importance of having a comprehensive, reliable IT infrastructure has grown over the years, more or less in line with the increasing complexity of the systems upon which businesses rely for their day-to-day operations.

While many businesses still manage and maintain their infrastructures internally, the availability of hosted solutions that are handled by a third-party provider is giving companies of all sizes the chance to lower costs and improve their IT prospects.

But what are the main benefits of an infrastructure hosting solution and is your business in a position to take advantage of this type of platform?
Cost-Effectiveness

Hosting network hardware and all the components that go with it will invariably be an expensive exercise for modern businesses. This is acceptable if your organisation is large and controls significant financial resources, but for smaller firms it can become prohibitively expensive.

By outsourcing your infrastructure to a dedicated provider, you will be relieving your business of most of these costs. This includes the upfront expense of the hardware and the ongoing need to cool and maintain systems, which usually requires the employment of permanent staff.

With a hosted platform, this is all taken care of by the provider, allowing your company to pay for infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
Efficiency

Even the best in-house IT infrastructures can be relatively inefficient, because businesses will usually have to overcompensate in the hardware department in order to ensure that the set-up can handle spikes in capacity requirements.

This means that for much of the time the load being handled by the infrastructure is not particularly taxing, but you still have to pay for it all anyway.

With hosted infrastructure solutions, you can benefit from the scalability of the cloud. If you need to increase your storage or processing requirements for a short period, then this can be planned for, such that during normal off-peak operation you are not overextending your IT capacity.
Flexibility

Businesses need to be given room to grow, because even a firm that is becoming successful can be stifled in its ascent by an inadequate IT infrastructure. With a hosted solution, flexibility is built into packages so that as your network demands grow you have a service in place that is able to keep pace with this expansion.

The flexibility to request additional storage or processing capacity as more clients are acquired will mean that your company should never be restricted from reaching its full potential.
Resilience

It can be easy to overlook the importance of your infrastructure, since you will take it for granted as long as it continues to function normally. But outages can be costly, particularly if a business is in the early stages of its existence and maintaining a good reputation is vital.

By using an IaaS solution, which is operated out of a dedicated facility that enjoys constant monitoring, such concerns should be minimised. This not only counts for the continuity of connectivity and uptime for key services, but also takes into account the all-important aspect of security.

Some businesses are cautious when adopting third-party platforms that require data and apps to be based off site, but in reality the hosting provider will be able to deliver much better levels of protection than might otherwise be available internally.

The businesses that accept the benefits of IaaS now will be able to start benefiting from these various assets sooner rather than later. Reticence, on the other hand, might lead to a lack of competitiveness further down the line when quick-thinking rivals have jumped ahead and adopted a little earlier.
Tips for Choosing an IaaS Provider

Here are a few tips for choosing an IaaS provider that could really benefit your business in the long term.
Hardware

With IaaS you are effectively giving the provider the responsibility for buying, installing and maintaining the hardware that is then used by your business to power a variety of applications and services.

This means that you need to take stock of the type of kit that will be available to you, or rather what the potential performance of virtual machines in the cloud might be when you choose a package.

Different providers will apportion hardware in different ways, but like most cloud solutions you should be able to pick something that is scaled to meet your current needs, as well as having the capacity to expand with your requirements if and when they grow.

On a basic level, this means you need to decide how much storage space, processing power and RAM will be sufficient for your needs.
Software

With IaaS the hardware is always taken care of by the provider, but there are different layers of service when it comes to the type of software that is available.

Companies may wish to take complete control of the type of operating system and apps that are available to them on the cloud, while others might prefer a more hands-off approach, in which case using SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service) might be appropriate.

Before adopting an IaaS solution, make sure you check to see what OS options and software will be compatible. This might be particularly relevant if you are deciding between operating in a 32-bit or 64-bit environment.
Bandwidth

As with any cloud service, bandwidth can be key to determining just how much you are able to get out of IaaS.

You want to make sure that your IaaS provider is able to offer you enough bandwidth at a price that seems reasonable, because without it you may encounter bottlenecks that mean you cannot fully exploit the benefits of your cloud-based platform.

In general, the market should be competitive enough to make sure that bandwidth is not too arduous or expensive to acquire, but it is not a matter to be treated lightly.
Resilience

Many businesses choose to outsource their IT infrastructure to a third-party provider because the difficulty of maintaining and managing everything in house has become too great.

This means that when you do start using IaaS you will expect that your provider can deliver the kinds of promises on uptime that you could not achieve on site.

Making sure that you are joining forces with a provider that can actually live up to its marketing rhetoric is vital if you want to start a lengthy relationship that will keep your business connected to the services it needs with as little disruption as possible.

Total resilience is often difficult to achieve, but if you find a provider that minimises outages then you will be in the best possible position to experience hitch-free IT.

This article is supplied by Jamie Garner, an employee of Daisy Group, who have recently launched a new range of Infrastructure as a Service products hosted in their own Tier III Data Centres.

The importance of having a comprehensive, reliable IT infrastructure has grown over the years, more or less in line with the increasing complexity of the systems upon which businesses rely for their day-to-day operations.

While many businesses still manage and maintain their infrastructures internally, the availability of hosted solutions that are handled by a third-party provider is giving companies of all sizes the chance to lower costs and improve their IT prospects.

But what are the main benefits of an infrastructure hosting solution and is your business in a position to take advantage of this type of platform?

Cost-Effectiveness

Hosting network hardware and all the components that go with it will invariably be an expensive exercise for modern businesses. This is acceptable if your organisation is large and controls significant financial resources, but for smaller firms it can become prohibitively expensive.

By outsourcing your infrastructure to a dedicated provider, you will be relieving your business of most of these costs. This includes the upfront expense of the hardware and the ongoing need to cool and maintain systems, which usually requires the employment of permanent staff.

With a hosted platform, this is all taken care of by the provider, allowing your company to pay for infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Efficiency

Even the best in-house IT infrastructures can be relatively inefficient, because businesses will usually have to overcompensate in the hardware department in order to ensure that the set-up can handle spikes in capacity requirements.

This means that for much of the time the load being handled by the infrastructure is not particularly taxing, but you still have to pay for it all anyway.

With hosted infrastructure solutions, you can benefit from the scalability of the cloud. If you need to increase your storage or processing requirements for a short period, then this can be planned for, such that during normal off-peak operation you are not overextending your IT capacity.

Flexibility

Businesses need to be given room to grow, because even a firm that is becoming successful can be stifled in its ascent by an inadequate IT infrastructure. With a hosted solution, flexibility is built into packages so that as your network demands grow you have a service in place that is able to keep pace with this expansion.

The flexibility to request additional storage or processing capacity as more clients are acquired will mean that your company should never be restricted from reaching its full potential.

Resilience

It can be easy to overlook the importance of your infrastructure, since you will take it for granted as long as it continues to function normally. But outages can be costly, particularly if a business is in the early stages of its existence and maintaining a good reputation is vital.

By using an IaaS solution, which is operated out of a dedicated facility that enjoys constant monitoring, such concerns should be minimised. This not only counts for the continuity of connectivity and uptime for key services, but also takes into account the all-important aspect of security.

Some businesses are cautious when adopting third-party platforms that require data and apps to be based off site, but in reality the hosting provider will be able to deliver much better levels of protection than might otherwise be available internally.

The businesses that accept the benefits of IaaS now will be able to start benefiting from these various assets sooner rather than later. Reticence, on the other hand, might lead to a lack of competitiveness further down the line when quick-thinking rivals have jumped ahead and adopted a little earlier.

Tips for Choosing an IaaS Provider

Here are a few tips for choosing an IaaS provider that could really benefit your business in the long term.

Hardware

With IaaS you are effectively giving the provider the responsibility for buying, installing and maintaining the hardware that is then used by your business to power a variety of applications and services.

This means that you need to take stock of the type of kit that will be available to you, or rather what the potential performance of virtual machines in the cloud might be when you choose a package.

Different providers will apportion hardware in different ways, but like most cloud solutions you should be able to pick something that is scaled to meet your current needs, as well as having the capacity to expand with your requirements if and when they grow.

On a basic level, this means you need to decide how much storage space, processing power and RAM will be sufficient for your needs.

Software

With IaaS the hardware is always taken care of by the provider, but there are different layers of service when it comes to the type of software that is available.

Companies may wish to take complete control of the type of operating system and apps that are available to them on the cloud, while others might prefer a more hands-off approach, in which case using SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service) might be appropriate.

Before adopting an IaaS solution, make sure you check to see what OS options and software will be compatible. This might be particularly relevant if you are deciding between operating in a 32-bit or 64-bit environment.

Bandwidth

As with any cloud service, bandwidth can be key to determining just how much you are able to get out of IaaS.

You want to make sure that your IaaS provider is able to offer you enough bandwidth at a price that seems reasonable, because without it you may encounter bottlenecks that mean you cannot fully exploit the benefits of your cloud-based platform.

In general, the market should be competitive enough to make sure that bandwidth is not too arduous or expensive to acquire, but it is not a matter to be treated lightly.

Resilience

Many businesses choose to outsource their IT infrastructure to a third-party provider because the difficulty of maintaining and managing everything in house has become too great.

This means that when you do start using IaaS you will expect that your provider can deliver the kinds of promises on uptime that you could not achieve on site.

Making sure that you are joining forces with a provider that can actually live up to its marketing rhetoric is vital if you want to start a lengthy relationship that will keep your business connected to the services it needs with as little disruption as possible.

Total resilience is often difficult to achieve, but if you find a provider that minimises outages then you will be in the best possible position to experience hitch-free IT.

This article is supplied by Jamie Garner, an employee of Daisy Group, who have recently launched a new range of Infrastructure as a Service products hosted in their own Tier III Data Centres.

This blog is listed under Cloud Computing Community

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