The Rise of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

In today’s fast-paced competitive market, there are critical advantages to utilizing infrastructure-as-a-service, especially for businesses concerned about fast-tracking their analytics infrastructure. IaaS goes beyond simply virtualizing infrastructure and adds a software management layer to allocate resources, either automatically or by a service provider’s staff, with the goal to maximize hardware efficiency.

Benefits of IaaS

The StateTech team summarized key drivers for the meteoric growth in infrastructure as a service (IaaS):

The last thing a CIO wants to worry . . . is whether the infrastructure can keep pace with the need to innovate and respond to competitive pressures. IaaS is a good solution to the problem in many ways.  It can reduce infrastructure costs, provide virtually limitless scalability and agility, and accelerate time to market. And it does this in a model that virtually ensures uptime . . . and the highest levels of security and compliance.

The hoopla surrounding IaaS is sufficiently robust to make enterprise decision-makers question whether they are “riding the IaaS wave” as they should.  The Benefits of an IaaS model include:

  • Cost savings. At first sight, cost-savings are not that obvious, as whatever you save  through offloading tasks you will end up paying for the service. However, cost saving is going to be tangible, although not necessarily direct. Overall costs are bound to go down as your data infrastructure requires less people, you streamline your operations, and free up time and resources to focus on business growth.
  • Cutting edge technology. Because of their own competitive pressures, IaaS suppliers are compelled to offer the latest and fastest technologies.                                                                                    
  • IaaS saves IT staff time. IaaS offloads tedious tasks that your IT team would ordinarily need to deal with. In examining time savings, it is important to factor in the benefits of automation that some service providers offer. This can save a lot of money in direct storage and compute costs, as well as the time spent on data prep, wrangling and munging by your staff. 
  • Focus on business growth. The savings in staff time and resources noted above also enable an important shift in focus, allowing your team to keep critical business imperatives front-and-center.  
  • Scalability and elasticity. IaaS provides an extraordinary level of flexibility and scalability in response to an enterprise’s requirements. However, there remains an element of difficulty under some IaaS systems with respect to scalability.
  • Support for Disaster Recovery (DR)/Business Continuity (BC). IaaS services provide high-level, consolidated DR/BC solutions, thus reducing costs and increasing manageability. 

Making the first step to IaaS 

Broadly speaking, IaaS market consists of three generations of service providers. Starting with the veterans, such as SAP, EMC, DELL, IBM. The initial successes by pioneers of cloud computing, as IBM Canada's cloud business unit leader Mark Noppe points out, “are being followed by the adoption of platform as a service (PaaS),” which eliminates the need for organizations to build and maintain the infrastructure traditionally used to develop applications.   

The second generation of cloud service providers includes goliaths like Amazon and Google, as well as Microsoft and a few others, who offer multiple cloud solutions for practically everything. While a broader comparison of the various cloud options is beyond the scope of this blog, Panoply did conduct its own in-depth comparisons between Amazon’s Redshift and Google's BigQuery.

In line with the conclusions of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant analysis, at the time Panoply found Amazon Redshift to deliver significantly superior results for usability, performance, and cost for almost all analytical use-cases, especially at scale. As discussed in a blog by Roi Avinoam, Panoply’s co-founder and CTO:

The only critical apparent drawback of Redshift is its relative complexity as it requires constant low-level tuning of the virtualized hardware and database configurations. This apparent complexity is double edged as it can be seen as greater flexibility that allows us to fine-tune Redshift to our specific needs which will result in an even greater advantage in performance and cost.

Of course, the real win is discovering the infrastructure that fits your unique business needs. If you're curious how Panoply can help, book a personalized demo and we'll be happy to show you how we make it easy to sync, store, and access all your business data.

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