One of the most fundamental elements of cloud computing is the infrastructure—server, storage and networking components. For many mid-market companies, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) represents an opportunity to reduce capital expenditure (CAPEX) while increasing storage and compute capacity as needed. Ideally, the costs shift from CAPEX to operational expense, with the goal of reducing overall costs since you’re only paying for what you need.
A few basic IaaS considerations can help your mid-size business leverage existing IT assets and implement cloud computing more effectively.
IaaS: Capacity storage and compute
Explosion of data is driving the need for additional storage and compute capacity. A hybrid cloud – where data and resources are hosted behind your firewall and delivered via your LAN or WAN— can help your mid-size business handle its burgeoning on-site data center capacity in several ways, beginning with backup.
IaaS lets you extend storage capacity without investing in additional hardware – so you can backup your server data and databases on to the cloud.
The second advantage of a hybrid cloud is disaster recovery. With a hybrid cloud, you maintain control over your data, so sensitive data can be backed up to a private cloud. This gives you the opportunity to extend your data center to the cloud as part of a business continuity / recovery plan.
IaaS: Security and reliability
Identity and access management (IAM) are critical to the success of IaaS adoption. This would be a good time to review your existing IAM procedures, and see how well they’ll integrate with the cloud.
Keep in mind that you’ll bear much of the responsibility for security in terms of limiting your IaaS provider’s access to servers and data. Many IaaS providers offer monitoring services that ensure compliance with the service level agreement in terms of reliability and uptime. However, when it comes to security you should maintain control of encryption keys to protect your data.
IaaS: Business requirements
A common business driver of IaaS is when businesses outgrow their applications, such as email. Prior to cloud computing, the IT department would need to purchase the hardware required to meet growing demand. With IaaS, you can continue to operate your existing applications on your current infrastructure, but extend it to the cloud to handle additional demand.
Business needs often change rapidly. When a company decides to consolidate offices or merge with another company, it can dramatically affect computing resources. That’s where IaaS offers greater speed and flexibility to provision services and capacity. More importantly, the pay-per-use model ensures that you’re investing in the computing power you need, when you need it – and can scale back if the business need changes.
IaaS: Skills required
IaaS requires that a certain amount of technical ability be retained on-premise to ensure the best benefits of cloud computing. When you adopt IaaS, your provider handles server, storage and networking components of the IT architecture. You’ll handle the operating system, middleware and application layers. Before you reassign resources, keep in mind that a private cloud – where some of the resources are hosted behind your firewall – requires a higher level of in-house expertise.
IaaS brings more than cost savings and infrastructure efficiencies. It can be an enabler of business growth for small and mid-size businesses. With a basic understanding of your compute and storage needs, your business requirements, and a strong security/recovery policy, you’ll be poised to better leverage your IT resources and IaaS.
Learn how Dell can facilitate smooth effective cloud adoption, and why you need cloud for your mid-market business. Don’t forget to sign up for our Dell World 2013 conference, where’s you’ll be able to learn even more about the latest IT trends!
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