What is Infrastructure as a Service? (IaaS Explained)

July 25, 2022

A type of cloud computing called Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offers virtualized computing resources online. Along with Platform and Software-as-a-Service (PaaS/SaaS), IaaS is one of the three main types of cloud computing services.

In the IaaS model, the cloud service provider controls IT infrastructure resources, including storage, server, and networking resources, and provides them to subscriber organizations via VMs (Virtual Machines) that are accessed online.

server as one key component of IaaS

IaaS can offer organizations various advantages, including the potential to make workloads faster, simpler, more adaptable, and more affordable. Using IaaS, users can run software and store data on remote infrastructure without directly footing the bill for that infrastructure’s upkeep and maintenance.

Instead, customers must pay a monthly subscription fee, typically calculated based on the number of server resources used. However, this blog post will explore IaaS and how it works. We will also discuss the advantages of using IaaS for businesses of all sizes.

What Is IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)?

IaaS is a cloud-based computing architecture in which business organizations can access IT resources and services through the cloud. It’s a more cost-effective alternative to traditional data center on-premises setups.

man checking on server and as part of hybrid cloud

Organizations can use IaaS to avoid the expenses associated with setting up and maintaining their own physical IT infrastructure.

A company may utilize IaaS to access a wide range of IT resources on demand through the “pay-as-you-go” pricing structure. This flexibility allows companies to adjust their resources as needed in response to changing user needs.

IaaS Architecture and Peculiarities

IaaS generally necessitates the usage of a different cloud orchestration system. It offers a solution that combines virtual machine construction with hypervisors (physical hosts) to enable multiple VMs to run simultaneously.

According to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) architecture, all of the critical infrastructure elements are hosted by a single cloud provider, which includes the following:

  • Servers
  • Networking hardware
  • Storage
  • Physical data centers
  • Additional services (monitoring, clustering, billing tools, and lots more).

A company may utilize IaaS to access a wide range of IT resources on demand through the “pay-as-you-go” pricing structure

This way, Infrastructure-as-a-Service provides the same features and techs as a traditional data center without requiring you to keep it physically up and running.

IT professional checking on underlying infrastructure for their organization

Nonetheless, compared to other cloud computing services, IaaS customers are responsible for many aspects of their infrastructure, including runtime, middleware, applications, O/S, and data.

IaaS services, on the other hand, accelerate infrastructure automation and operation. When users employ IaaS, they receive the needed capabilities such as fast load balancing algorithms for improved application performance.

IaaS solutions, in their most basic form, offer IaaS customers data storage and application maintenance services. For example, setting up an IaaS platform for backups and cloud workload storage is feasible. It’s worth noting that IaaS solutions allow you to maintain control of your storage volumes and all necessary data within the working platform.

What’s the Difference Between IaaS, PaaS, and SAAS?

Enterprises can rent or lease servers through IaaS, a cloud computing service, to use for cloud computing and storage. On the rented servers, users can run any operating system or application without worrying about the servers’ upkeep and running costs.

Giving customers access to servers in locations close to their end users is another benefit of IaaS. It does away with the need for data centers to manually provision and manage physical servers. According to demand, IaaS automatically scales up or down and offers guaranteed service-level agreements (SLAs) for uptime and performance.


Computing infrastructure can be delivered as on-demand services using IaaS. It is one of the three core operating systems for servers, storage, and cloud services.

team checking on cloud resources

Demand models exist where users buy servers, software, data centers, or networking hardware and rent those resources as a fully outsourced service. The resources are distributed as services, and it supports dynamic scaling. On a single piece of hardware, many users are typically supported.

Advantages of IaaS:

  • The IaaS provider can always deploy the resources to a customer’s environment.
  • Its capacity allows users to scale the business to their needs.
  • When deploying resources like VMs, applications, storage, and networks, the IaaS provider has a variety of choices. It can support a massive number of users.
  • It is very cost-effective and simple to expand. Companies can pay the high costs involved in implementing cutting-edge technologies.


A cloud delivery model for applications made up of services managed by a third party is called Platform-as-s-Service (PaaS).

company manager checking cloud service offerings

It offers elastic scaling for your application, enabling developers to create online services and applications with public, private, and hybrid deployment models.

Advantages of PaaS:

  • Programmers don’t have to worry about the database or programming language in which the application was created.
  • It enables programmers to create applications without infrastructure or the underlying operating system overhead.
  • Gives developers the freedom to concentrate on the application’s design while the platform takes care of the language and database.


Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software model deployed as a hosting service and accessed over the internet.

associate checking their backup and recovery systems

It is also a software delivery method in which software and its associated data are centrally hosted and accessed using their client, typically an online browser, over the web. Modern applications are developed and deployed using SaaS services.

Advantages of SaaS:

  • It is a hosted cloud computing service that offers a wide range of capabilities and services. You can create and distribute web-based software applications using these.
  • Compared to on-premises software, it offers a lower total cost of ownership. The reason is that no hardware or licenses need to be purchased, installed, or otherwise obtained.
  • It is simple to access using a browser.

How Does IaaS Work?

IaaS clients can use the cloud provider’s services to install the remaining components of an application stack after gaining access to resources and services over a wide area network (WAN), such as the internet.

To establish VMs, install operating systems in each VM, deploy middleware, such as databases, create storage buckets for workloads and backups, and install the corporate workload into that VM; for instance, the user can connect to the IaaS platform.

A provider must take part in any cloud computing model. Customers may then use the provider’s services to manage disaster recovery, balance network traffic, track costs, monitor performance, and troubleshoot application problems. A third-party company that specializes in selling IaaS is frequently the supplier.

Independent IaaS vendors include Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS). A company might also decide to set up a private cloud, turning it into its infrastructure service provider.

cloud users

Business organizations no longer need to acquire, set up, run, and maintain data centers, thanks to IaaS. It can also be scaled up (or down) automatically based on client needs, just like other “as a service” solutions.

Furthermore, a vital service level agreement (SLA) for uptime and performance is offered by the majority of top IaaS vendors. IaaS enables client organizations to access servers closer to their final clients, efficiently meeting technical and regulatory requirements.

Most businesses perceive infrastructure as more practical and cost-effective than purchasing and maintaining their servers. Obsolescence is one of the causes of this.

Infrastructure frequently becomes old as technology advances, primarily in software testing and development. IaaS providers regularly modify their infrastructure to meet customer needs, making access to the most recent technology more straightforward and more affordable.

IaaS Use Cases

IaaS can be used for a variety of purposes. Computing resources offered through a cloud model can be used for various use cases. The most common use cases for IaaS implementations include the following:

  • Test and development environments: IaaS offers organizations flexibility in different test and development environments. They can easily be enlarged or reduced as needed.
  • Hosting customer-facing websites: can make hosting a website more affordable than traditional website hosting.
  • Data storage, backup, and recovery: When demand for data is unpredictable or always rises, IaaS may be the most convenient and cost-effective solution for organizations to deal with data. Additionally, organizations can avoid extensive efforts focused on data storage management and legal and compliance requirements.
  • Web apps: IaaS provides the necessary infrastructure to host web apps. Therefore, IaaS can provide the required network, server, and storage resources when an organization is hosting a web application. Deployments can be made faster, and the cloud infrastructure can swiftly increase or reduce based on application demands.
  • High-Performance Computing (HPC): Certain workloads may require HPC-level computing power, e.g., scientific calculations, financial modeling, and product design.
  • Data storage and Big Data Analysis: IaaS can provide the computing and processing power needed to analyze large amounts of data.

Business organizations should carefully consider how technology and service offerings from different cloud providers meet business needs and organization-specific usage requirements during the implementation process.

manage data

The market for IaaS providers needs to be carefully evaluated; with significant differences in functionality within products, some may be better suited to business needs than others.

Once a vendor and product decision has been made, it is essential to negotiate any service level agreements. Careful negotiation with the cloud provider reduces the likelihood that the previously unfamiliar fine print will negatively impact your business.

Additionally, an organization should thoroughly assess the capabilities of its IT department to determine how well prepared it is for the ongoing needs of an IaaS implementation.

In the IaaS model, internal developers are responsible for the technical maintenance of the infrastructure, including software patches, upgrades, and bug fixes. This staff assessment is necessary to ensure the organization can maximize value on all fronts of an IaaS implementation.

Key Components of IaaS

IaaS companies often update their parts to improve dependability and performance and save customer costs. IaaS solutions are made up of a variety of elements. Here are a few of the main IaaS components.


Although end users don’t typically see the infrastructure they buy and use, it does physically exist somewhere. These computers, servers, and other components are located in a region or region of the provider’s choice.

The region that hosts the technology and human resources that power IaaS units can impact latency, customer service, disaster recovery, and the regulatory status of customer organizations, among other things.

cloud provider manages

The provider usually transmits the geography on their website. However, some vendors may require prospective customers to contact their sales or support team for clarification.

While extensive public cloud services use multiple geographies far from each other and the customer, smaller private cloud providers can limit their geographic footprint to a single administrative region. Generally, the further apart the provider and end-user are, the greater the latency and isolation.

Virtual Disks

Block-level storage devices with a persistent size configuration are called virtual disks. These disks may support random input/output (I/O) and are made to mount onto virtual machines that are already running.

Although you can only mount one virtual disk onto one virtual machine at once, you can install it on as many machines as it needs over its lifetime. A virtual disk will continue to exist but will be unmounted once the virtual machine it was mounted on goes down.

Despite being “virtual,” these disks could still experience hardware issues or be impacted by disasters—IaaS providers design backup solutions for virtual disk failures into their component architecture.

Virtual Machines (VMs)

VMs are fundamental computing units in an Infrastructure-as-a-Service system. These machines come in two primary flavors: persistent and non-persistent.

Persistent VMs are backed up by a permanent storage medium, e.g., a virtual disk. As discussed above, even if the virtual machine stops working, these disks still exist and can be remounted in the same or a different virtual machine.

man reviewing public cloud available

Persistent VMs can be restarted using a virtual disk or similar storage medium in the same state they were in when operations were stopped. On the other hand, non-persistent VMs do not persist after the stopping process.

Any changes made to the machine while in an active state will be lost once it goes into a “powered off” state. If persistence is required, file storage, a virtual disk, or other suitable storage media must be implemented before the completion of machine operations.

As with virtual disks, VMs are vulnerable to disasters and hardware failures. Therefore, IaaS providers must ensure robust backup and continuity planning for their VMs.

Archival Storage

IaaS systems with archival storage are made to provide long-term and permanent storage. The system can save and retrieve individual “binary huge items” thanks to archival storage (BLOBs). However, random I/O within BLOBs is not intended for this storage.

Archival storage does not have to be mounted on a virtual computer. Many virtual computers can simultaneously access this storage. Although archival storage is reliable, it might not always be accessible.

Failure-Insulated Zone

Failure-insulated zones are small areas that are purposefully isolated to contain localized failures because they are a subdivision of topography.

adobe creative cloud

Failure-insulated zones shield IaaS systems from smaller-scale failures instead of geographical areas that separate larger-scale catastrophes and losses (such as explosions and earthquakes) spread over vast areas (machine or power supply failure).

These zones are just further divisions of geographic regions. The degree of isolation in each zone will always fluctuate, just as in geographical locations. Similar to geographic areas, failure-insulated zones always benefit from greater isolation levels.

Top Cloud Computing Providers

Choosing the top cloud company might be challenging because so many of them exist. However, it is possible to find a cloud hosting company with the right mix of offerings for your business, with the best possible uptime and reliability once you identify your needs and the solutions you are looking for.

Cloud computing stores and accesses data and programs over the internet instead of on hard drives, physical servers, or PCs. Cloud computing replaces local storage devices like hard drives with a network of distant computers to store, manage, and analyze data.

A cloud is a collection of servers that can access online to share and store data. Both individuals and businesses use cloud computing to store their data remotely and access it from any internet-connected computer or device.

You can, for example, share and receive files while collaborating with colleagues, access your pictures on your phone or computer, or even utilize programs like Google Docs or Microsoft Word when utilizing cloud computing.

Using the cloud means that the servers you use are not located at the exact physical location; they are accessible over the internet, making it more accessible and secure. Also, you can save your data and backup essential files in a disaster. However, here is a list of the top cloud computing service providers;

Cloud computing stores and accesses data and programs over the internet instead of on hard drives, physical servers, or PCs. Cloud computing replaces local storage devices like hard drives with a network of distant computers to store, manage, and analyze data.

AWS(Amazon Web Services) Cloud

Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is one of the most widely used cloud computing services. It is a cloud computing platform that may be utilized independently. AWS can be used in combination for a more comprehensive experience. You may build interactive website solutions with Elastic Compute Cloud and AWS.

Google Cloud

With storage capacity, Google cloud enables you to consolidate data throughout your enterprise. Users of Google cloud can quickly and transparently combine their data on the cloud.

IT professionals on cloud migration

The Google cloud platform is one of the most practical cloud computing providers because of its intelligent analytics and database options.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure offers a wide range of comprehensive services that may be utilized for various purposes. Virtual machines and storage accounts with high availability are provided from Microsoft Azure. It also has effective cloud servers and scalable cloud storage.

IBM Cloud

IBM is one of the most well-known cloud service providers. You can use it per the demands of your company because it is a platform that is adaptable. IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS services are the key areas of concentration for IBM Cloud.

Oracle Cloud

The hybrid cloud service Oracle cloud is available to IT managers and development teams. Oracle cloud infrastructure provides a wide range of services and solutions as a cloud computing provider.

Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud is a cloud computing infrastructure that may use without relying on other services. You can select this service if you want to use one as a more general cloud computing service. It also provides hybrid cloud services as a cloud service.

Alibaba, one of the most popular cloud computing providers, offers a variety of solutions that may be tailored to your company’s requirements. Accessing and analyzing data for analytics and business intelligence is simple because cloud services are operated through software platforms and virtualized networks.

Final Words: How IaaS May Improve Your Startup Company

Any business that chooses to utilize IaaS can reap a variety of advantages. To be successful, it must be executed properly, much like the majority of other software projects.

SQL server workloads

The transition to IaaS involves several challenging processes that must manage appropriately to prevent operational hiccups, data loss, odd costing models, angry customers, or a system that doesn’t meet the needs of the client firm.

Make wise decisions, ask for assistance from professionals when necessary, and maintain open lines of communication. Most of the time, that is all it takes for an IaaS implementation to be effective.

About the author: Joe Silk -

Joseph is a freelance writer who focuses on sharing our Startup Oasis team's abundant knowledge with the rest of the world. Our team has no secret for anything to do with Startups, SaaS software firms, technology, Web and mobile apps, IoT, UI/UX Design. View on Linkedin