The IT procurement model is the definition of insanity – repeating the same actions, over and over again, expecting a different result. To get out of the IT procurement rut, you need a new strategy. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) has evolved significantly over the last several years. Its time you took a look at this breakout technology.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is one of the most discussed, and most misunderstood, IT developments in the last several decades. IaaS, for the purposes of this article, will be defined as purchasing compute, storage and network access resources housed in a service provider environment that can scale for the client on demand.
Whether your IaaS is private, pooled, self-service or managed, or if you are providing licensed software or the service provider is, we are considering all of those collective models as an IaaS deployment.
Great! Now that we have the “what” locked down, let’s talk about the “why.” IaaS is considered by most industry analysts as the primary way businesses will manage their IT resources within the next 10 years. That is a bold prediction, but it is predicated on the fact that IaaS just makes sense on a number of levels. IaaS is generally seen to have the following advantages:
· Strong cost profile relative to on-premises equipment
· Better security than individual companies can deploy
· Elimination of regular refresh cycles
· Flexibility to scale up or down and then back again
With all these benefits, why are some still reluctant to take the plunge? The most common objection to IaaS is that IT management wants to keep their stuff on site. This preference is typically due to the perceived lack of security or control – both of which are enhanced in an IaaS environment.
The cost structure of an IaaS deployment is a lot like leasing the gear for an onsite environment. The line items in the cost structure will look familiar. One of the main cost advantages in IaaS is that you only need to pay for what you need today. When purchasing an onsite storage array, for example, you would need to forecast your storage needs out into the future. In 3 years, your forecast may indicate that you will need twice the storage volume than you are using today – so that is what you buy. In an IaaS environment, you buy what you need today, then you add to that as you require additional capacity. If your needs do not materialize, you have not over purchased. If your needs explode beyond your forecast, you do not need to fork-lift upgrade your capacity and retire partially depreciated equipment.
Cost advantages also appear in the maintenance that IaaS infrastructure requires – IaaS implementations do not require maintenance. The upkeep, patching and replacement of the equipment can be the responsibility of the service provider. No more managing upgrades, machine replacements or warranty licenses. IT is truly liberated to manage their user’s experience, their application performance and start partnering with the business units to address their strategic needs.
Security, as mentioned above, is commonly considered an IaaS issue. Users are reluctant to move their stack out into what they perceive to be the public domain. However, keeping servers on premises, where they are exposed to a variety of threats on a daily basis is akin to keeping one’s life savings under their mattress. It may feel nice and safe, but it is exposed to numerous threats that a bank mitigates. The security services available within a cloud environment are typically several levels above what most commercial firms have deployed. Now that the market is comfortable with virtualization, it is clear that there is no co-mingling of information in the shared environment.
One of the key benefits of moving to the cloud is the avoidance of infrastructure refresh cycles. Whether you are simply at the end of a planned time horizon or have outgrown your current footprint, refreshing infrastructure is a painstaking task of projections, planning, vendor meetings, negotiations, finance approval, revisions, contracts, testing and finally implementation. Those activities are completely eliminated when you embark upon an IaaS strategy. We think you’d have to be insane not to at least take a look at IaaS.
A properly negotiated service agreement will allow the user of an IaaS platform considerable flexibility. ARG adds another layer of flexibility to its clients. By independently representing the major cloud service providers in the area, we have the ability to work with the providers on your behalf at levels several times higher than a typical customer. We can frequently negotiate flexibility mid-contract to ensure your evolving needs are met. ARG is a leader in the cloud service consulting space, and are ready to help you meet your cloud objectives in a “best possible outcome” fashion.
Contact ARG to discuss your cloud needs. To get started email firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-770-2400.