Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, is one of the biggest types of cloud services that businesses use. Under this service, your business can gain access to the hardware (such as servers and storage devices) that have been rigorously developed by a cloud services provider.
The question for many business owners and managers is: “Cloud IaaS solution vs on-premise infrastructure: which is better?"
There are many reasons why a company might be better off using a cloud infrastructure managed by a third party, from gaining control of the monthly IT budget, to getting access to the latest innovations without having to spend the company’s money on development and integration.
Another reason why you might want to invest in using a cloud-based IaaS rather than building out your own infrastructure is flexibility.
How is Cloud IaaS More Flexible Than Using On-Premise Infrastructure?
You might be wondering how a secure cloud service provider could possibly be more flexible than the IT infrastructure that’s owned by your company and located on property you own.
The first reason why using cloud-based IaaS is more flexible has to do with cost. When you purchase and maintain your own infrastructure, any changes that you make to that structure come out of your pocket. This includes any equipment and personnel needed to make a given change or enable a specific feature.
These upfront costs can restrict the flexibility of your on premise infrastructure. To justify the expense of any equipment you purchase, odds are that you’ll have to stick with that infrastructure equipment for a long time. This means that you could end up missing out on potentially game-changing business solutions, which can put you at a disadvantage compared to your competitors.
With cloud infrastructure as a service, you can rapidly adapt your infrastructure to your needs without having to make large investments in costly hardware each and every time. This makes adopting a new infrastructure solution easy and inexpensive, increasing flexibility.
Benefits of Having a More Flexible Infrastructure
The inherent flexibility of using cloud-based IaaS offers companies a few distinct advantages, including:
Affordable Testing of New Solutions
Say that there’s a new, potentially game-changing business solution on the market, and you want to use it for your company. With traditional infrastructure, you have to buy that solution lock, stock, and barrel. If the solution doesn’t work, then you’ve wasted the money that went into buying it in the first place.
Using cloud-based IaaS allows you to try out the new solution on the cloud using the cloud service provider’s (CSP’s) equipment and infrastructure. If the solution doesn’t work out, you’re not stuck with paying for all of the equipment needed to enable that solution yourself. If the solution does work out, you can still leverage it for your business.
Pay Only for the Infrastructure You Need
One of the biggest challenges of building and maintaining your own infrastructure is planning out just how much infrastructure you need to run your business applications now, and how much you’ll need in the future.
For example, say that your company has 300 employees that will use your business applications. Does that mean you only need server capacity for 300 users?
Considering that not every user will be on at the same time, this could be too much capacity for right now. On the other hand, if users are logged into business apps from multiple devices, a 300-user server capacity might not be enough to handle the load.
In the future, as more employees are added to your roster of app users, you would certainly need extra capacity. But how much extra? Will your company grow 10%, 20%, or 100% over the next few years? Unless you can see the future, it’s almost impossible to say with 100% certainty how much server capacity you’ll need in the future as you add employees and business apps.
This can lead your company to purchase servers that are way more powerful than what you need, driving up costs.
With cloud IaaS, however, you can use space on a secure multitenant cloud and pay only for the space that you actually need. If your server load is higher than you initially expected, then you can easily increase the space you have available through your CSP. If your load is much lower than expected, you can reduce the space you rent on the server as well.
In this way, the practice of using cloud IaaS helps keeps operating costs down. This, in turn, frees up capital for other things that can help your company grow faster.
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