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Demystifying Cloud – Infrastructure as a Service Benefits and Myths

Posted 18 July 2013 by Kelvin Papp

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)… we’ve all heard of it by now, but what does it actually represent to the modern business? The internet is a wonderful place, but also has the capacity to lead to a blurring of lines between reality and wishful thinking. Infrastructure as a Service is a classic example of this – there’s a wealth of information available online, but also the potential for significant confusion and the perpetuation of a number of myths; not helped by the seemingly endless array of companies offering Cloud Services...

In previous blog posts I’ve discussed some of the fundamental (and perhaps self-evident) benefits of Infrastructure as a Service. Some are very tangible – high availability, a move to a predictable Operational Expenditure model, the removal of the need to maintain and refresh hardware, and the ease with which organisations can scale their infrastructure up and down. The most significant benefit however (at least for me!) is the way in which it enables a shift in the focus of the IT department.

Perhaps the toughest challenge for IT Managers is finding the time to innovate. I often see environments where driving IT forward within the business falls to the bottom of the pile when pitched against the demands of maintaining the infrastructure; and it’s here that the move to IaaS can have a real impact. By removing the responsibility for maintaining, supporting, and troubleshooting the infrastructure to a Service Provider, you get to focus your time and resources on what matters most to your business - making the best use of IT.

So what about the myths?

Something I see mentioned frequently is along the lines of “Cloud Infrastructure removes the need to carry out maintenance…”. True to a degree – the infrastructure is no longer your problem, but everything from the Operating System upwards is very much still in your control and still needs to be looked after as if it were a traditional server on-premise… This point leads on nicely to another fallacy about the Cloud – that moving to Cloud infrastructure leads to a loss of control. With any credible IaaS provider, your servers are exactly that – your servers, configured and managed on your terms.

Another argument I see put forward against Cloud Services is that because they are “in the Cloud” they are inherently insecure. Whilst multi-tenanted, most IaaS management platforms offer not only stringent controls around tenant isolation, but also operate using best of breed technologies that offer significant levels of protection. The key area of risk within an infrastructure is generally at the Application level – a poorly configured or managed application has the potential to open backdoors for intrusion, irrespective of its deployment either on-premise, or in the Cloud. Naturally your choice of Cloud Provider is also crucial, and it’s essential that you choose to partner with a robust provider leveraging tier one products so that you don’t need to worry.

Infrastructure as a Service offers multiple benefits to organisations and hopefully this post has gone some way to outlining some of these, along with addressing some of the misconceptions associated with the technology.

To find out more about how Infrastructure as a Service can add value to your business, get in touch with us today.

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