If you have spent any time at all reading about cloud computing, you have likely encountered terms like Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Another similar term that is gaining momentum in the hosting industry is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In a nutshell, IaaS is the whole shebang, everything that encompasses your cloud infrastructure, all in one managed service.
IaaS may include but is not limited to: networking equipment, power equipment, data center facilities, storage devices, servers, and connectivity. These physical requirements for hosting are usually coupled with support services. The cloud service provider generally houses the equipment in its data center, runs it on its own power and bandwidth, and maintains all of it for the customer.
Unlike Software as a Service or Platform as a Service, IaaS does not generally involve software. Many times the customer will already have a working software system, such as a financial records system, and only needs the infrastructure to host it and maintain it. Because it removes some of the burden that comes with managing one’s own facilities and hardware, IaaS has become popular with companies looking to move their data, platforms, and applications to a facility with a more hands-off approach.
Those in favor of IaaS would argue that it is cost effective and that outsourcing infrastructure can save a company a great deal of money. They would also say that companies that do not have the personnel and facilities to run in-house major application deployments. Just as with any major cloud operations, those opposed to it would be hesitant to trust their entire infrastructure to an outside provider, but often times, companies looking to save money have no other choice.