Among cloud computing services Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a method of outsourcing paraphernalia used to carry a client’s business needs, which in simple words means that the client hires all the infrastructure like hardware, storage, servers and essential components for networking. The equipment are the property of the IaaS provider and the client merely hires these essentials on pay per use basis.
Infrastructure as a Service model has specific features. These features include utility computing services and a billing model. Through this method, the services provider who has resources leases them not only for computing, but also management of infrastructure, and positions his resources as per the demand of the client. The client who uses these resources is billed per usage, and not a fixed flat amount.
In a way it is similar to grid computing and helps clients with minimal resources to avail the service provider’s utilities for a cost effective and space effective solution. In a way the utility services are similar to usage of, say, power, where the client uses the power according to their fluctuating needs and pays only for the extent of usage. This is also known as pay-per-use services, which is becoming very common in meeting the computing needs of small business houses, even as the customer market is also making use of Internet services, accessing various websites, sharing files and other similar computing operations.
Another feature of Infrastructure as a Service is automation of administration methods and there is a dynamic scaling according to the workload. This helps to keep costs low, while using sophisticated resources from the provider. More importantly, the IaaS helps in virtualization of desktops. There are a number of desktop virtualization methods, which are broadly categorized under – host based virtual computers and client based.
Not all the methods of desktop virtualization use VMs or virtual machines. Host based virtual computing allows users to link to a particular virtual computer which is available in a centralized data counter. Users may prefer to use a particular desktop every time, which is known as personalization of VM or otherwise a client can opt for any VM available. In the host based physical computers, the computer is directly linked to the hardware in the data centers.
Other features of IaaS include connectivity of Internet and services bases on policy of a particular service provider.