IT Infrastructure Still Growing in the Cloud

September 5th 2016

Running high-end IT systems and developing apps is an expensive business, requiring lots of expertise, compute power, storage, networking and software. Alex Meehan asks what if there was a way to do it faster, cheaper and more flexibly?

Faced with the prospect of paying for technology up front, a growing number of Irish companies are opting to sign up for pay-as-you-go cloud services instead, and it’s here that the twin offerings of cloud services — Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Platform as a service (PaaS) — can start to make sense, saving companies money and speeding up their time to market dramatically.

Where IaaS offers users the ability to access computing infrastructure such as virtual servers, compute power and storage online, PaaS refers to the idea of providing access to a platform to develop, run and manage applications without the need to pay in advance to purchase or manage the infrastructure needed to do this.

Along with Software as a service (SaaS), Iaas and Paas have become the three pillars of cloud computing. But for many companies, the challenge presented by these cloud services is how best to take advantage of their intersecting and complementary abilities.

“Security, reliability and availability are the main drivers for the average company’s interest in and adoption of IaaS and PaaS,” said Roisin Cahill, chief operations officer and director of IT Force.

“The last thing that any business owner wants to worry about when working to improve their business is whether or not their infrastructure can keep pace with the need to innovate. They are also concerned as to whether or not their infrastructure can respond to the competitive pressures that they face daily.”

While IaaS is a good solution to address these potential issues, no matter what business a company is in and no matter what stage that business is at, Cahill suggested that PaaS can help to innovate new offerings. “You can expand your capacity, increase your customer base and grow quickly,” she said.

With PaaS, the solution provider takes on much of the work of dealing with servers and gives clients an environment in which the operating system and server software, as well as the underlying server hardware and network infrastructure, are taken care of. This gives clients the freedom to focus on the business side of scalability, and on the development of their product or service.

“PaaS is built on top of virtualisation technology. This means that businesses can request resources as they need them, scaling as demand grows rather than investing in hardware with soon to be redundant resources. Moving down the stack, we get to the fundamental building blocks for cloud services, IaaS. This comprises highly automated and scalable compute resources, complemented by cloud storage and network capability,” said Cahill.

The benefits of working with these technologies are clear — increased flexibility, lower cost barriers to entry and increased time to market with applications.

What are platform and infrastructure as a service?

As the name implies, platform (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are aspects of the IT function delivered using the internet on an as-needed basis. Together with the more common Software as a service (SaaS), these three make up the bulk of what is referred to as cloud services in the IT industry.

SaaS is, as it sounds, the concept of allowing companies to access specific pieces of software over the internet, running remotely rather than locally on the servers of the client company.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) takes things one step further, offering users the ability to access computing infrastructure such as virtual servers, compute power and storage online. A hypervisor, such as those offered by VMware, Oracle or Hyper-V, sits on top of these resources and runs the virtual machines as guests. These virtual machines can be increased or decreased in number as the user requires.

Platform as a service (PaaS) specifically refers to the idea of providing access to a platform to develop, run and manage applications without the need to pay in advance to purchase or manage the infrastructure needed to do this. There are generally two ways to access PaaS, as a public and as a private cloud resource.

Public PaaS is generally rented from a provider which supplies the servers, storage, networks, operating systems as well as the middleware necessary to get things up and running. The client company typically only controls software deployment and has access to the bare minimum of configuration tools. When deployed as a private service PaaS is typically hosted inside the company’s firewall or as software deployed on a public infrastructure as a service.

At IT Force, we can help businesses plan for, design, implement, operate, and manage the right technologies to improve the way they in which they do business. From security to cloud to business continuity, we take the complexity and confusion out of selecting and managing the right IT solutions for your budget, allowing you the time that you need to focus on running your business.

For more information

Call us on 01 5546 000 or info@itforce.ie

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