12-27-21 | Blog Post

What is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) & How Does it Work?

Blog Posts

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud-based service that delivers processing power, storage, and network infrastructure to businesses on an as-needed basis. It is a scalable alternative to a traditional data center that allows businesses to avoid the cost of provisioning and maintaining their own physical IT infrastructure.

With IaaS, a business can access a range of IT resources on-demand including virtual machines, servers, networking resources, and storage. Its pay-as-you-go model allows businesses to increase or decrease resources in response to new demands.

How Does IaaS Work?

With Infrastructure as a service solutions, the third-party service providers host the physical IT infrastructure including hardware, software, and storage usually found in a physical data center. The infrastructure is stored across multiple data centers owned and operated by the service provider. The IaaS provider handles maintenance and also provides accompanying services such as monitoring, security, data backup, and recovery.

Using a virtual interface, businesses can access the computing resources to assemble and manage their own virtual data centers. Virtual components available include network connections, virtual server space, and IP addresses.

Resources are most commonly provided using the efficient and cost-effective multi-tenant model. Providers also offer a single-tenant model for clients who need completely separate environments, but this model usually incurs a higher cost.

IaaS Architecture and Platform


Infrastructure as a Service solutions provide traditional networking components such as routers, switches, and load balancers through a virtual environment. Users can build and manage multiple virtual networks through application programming interfaces (APIs).

IaaS providers also deliver several networking services and tools for configuring and managing virtual networks. Administrative tasks including configuration, security and server management, subnet creation, and IP assignment can be done from a single central interface.

– Storage

Infrastructure as a service combines data storage from multiple disks and machines to appear as a single virtual storage entity. With access to almost limitless storage capacity, resources can be added, removed, or repurposed in response to changing business needs. IaaS storage management solutions ensure that you always have enough storage resources for your backup and recovery needs.

An additional advantage of IaaS Cloud storage over traditional storage is that it uses the object storage method. Traditional local storage methods use block and file storage which are hard to scale and can negatively impact network performance. Object storage is faster, cost-effective, more scalable, and better for data analytics than traditional storage methods.

– Compute

Virtualized compute resources in an IaaS environment are also referred to as virtual machines (VMs). End-users can configure virtual machines to spec allocating processing power and memory as needed. Providers often offer both virtual central processing units (CPUs) and virtual graphic processing units (GPUs) to handle different types of workloads. Scaling and load-balancing services are also available to optimize performance.

Virtual machines can be created to run websites, video encoding and rendering, data analytics, and other software as a service (SaaS).

– Physical Data Centers

Infrastructure as a service comprises a set of physical hardware components distributed across data centers in various geographic locations. Hardware components include servers, firewalls, backup devices, and switches, but end-users do not access the physical infrastructure.

IaaS providers manage the data centers, and resources are abstracted and distributed to users who access them through virtualization. Many businesses are moving toward Infrastructure as a Service as a supplement or replacement to their on-site data centers.

Advantages of IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service can be more efficient and cost-effective for an enterprise than owning and managing its own infrastructure. Here are a few other advantages of infrastructure-as-a-service.

– Scalability

IaaS gives businesses the flexibility to scale resources almost instantly. With high-performing computing power, IaaS providers can offer highly scalable services to clients. Increased demand for resources is met with instant performance increases.

If the business outgrows its allocated resources or needs to meet the demands of the busy season, additional server power can be provisioned without delay. Conversely, resources can be scaled back in off-peak seasons.

Infrastructure as a service is especially beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses who can provision IT infrastructure as demand grows instead of paying for resources they don’t yet need.

– Speed

IaaS end users can access powerful virtual processors, unlimited memory, and storage to create a network that’s fast and maintains high-performance levels even during high-demand. Increased deployment and operational speeds give IT administrators the ability to respond to demands for resources, large or small, in real-time. It takes only a few minutes to deploy entire virtual environments.

The increased speed and agility provided by an IaaS environment, allows your business to respond to urgent infrastructure needs and take advantage of new opportunities before your competition.

– Pay-as-you-go

Infrastructure as a service providers typically use a pay-as-you-go subscription model. End users pay for resources used on an hourly, weekly, or monthly basis. Some providers may also charge per virtual machine.

A pay-as-you-go model eliminates the expense of purchasing and maintaining resources and the expense of training IT admin personnel. The pay-as-you-go subscription model makes IaaS attractive to small and medium-sized businesses that might not have the capital to create on-premise data centers.

– Latency and performance

Latency refers to the time it takes data to get to its destination across the network. It can refer to a delay in storage, processing, data transmission, or propagation. Network latency can occur if there are interruptions in the connection between the cloud provider and the end-user.

Many IaaS providers have multiple data centers across various geographical regions. To prevent latency issues, providers distribute apps and services from data centers that are physically closer to the end-user. Having a data center geographically located closer to your business results in increased download speeds and improved application performance.

Contact Otava for your Infrastructure as a Service Needs:

Otava’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions can lower your IT costs and equip your business for success. We offer a wide range of flexible, scalable, and secure cloud data center solutions. Fill out the form below to let us know how we can help you manage your IT infrastructure needs.

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