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January 25, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 9:40am

5 ways IaaS can enable developers and reduce costs

List: A number of benefits come from the growing IaaS market, but how can providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure help you offload your troubles?

By James Nunns

Businesses are moving to the cloud with one of the most popular ways to benefit being through the use of Infrastructure as a Service.

The analyst firm Gartner forecasts that in 2015 the market was worth $16.2bn with growth of 31.9%, with further growth expected to continue and increase in 2016, rising 38.4% to $22.4bn.

This growth is being caused by enterprises moving away from data centre build-outs and to infrastructure provided by big players in the public cloud.

A few obvious names pop up when you talk about IaaS and public clouds, those being Amazon Web Services which has more than 10 times cloud IaaS compute capacity in use than the aggregate total of the other 14 providers, says Gartner.

Another big name is Microsoft with its Azure Infrastructure Services, while Google’s Compute Engine and CenturyLink’s Cloud are also available.

There are numerous benefits that can be gained by going down the IaaS route and CBR is here to help identify them.


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1. Cost savings

One of the biggest benefits of moving to an IaaS model is that it should give you lower infrastructure costs.

This mainly comes through the fact that you no longer have to maintain your hardware or networking equipment and because it is typically a pay-as-you-go model, you only pay for what you are using.

This means that instead of paying for maximum capacity 100% of the time, you are only paying for it when it is actually required, which may only equate to a couple of months of the year depending on when you have spikes in demand.


2. Flexibility and scalability

The flexible approach to pricing is already helping you to save money but its ability to scale up and down quickly in response to demand gives you a much more agile business. It may be a buzzword but in this case it is definitely true.

On-demand scalability gives you the ability to build and dismantle test and development environments and allows you to run proof of concepts without having to bother your IT infrastructure and arrange perhaps a month in advance the extra servers you will need.

Take the Olympics for example, for long periods of time it doesn’t need to be running at full capacity, but it has to deal with huge peak loads when games come around.

Philippe Llorens, CEO, Canopy, told CBR: "You cannot size your infrastructure for the peaks, otherwise you are oversized for the majority of time."


3. Support for disaster recovery, high availability

The majority of companies will have a disaster recovery plan in place, but with them comes expense, and it can often be an expensive safety net; necessary but you hope you don’t have to use it.

With an IaaS provider your DR will come along with it. Basically you are paying for your infrastructure to be hosted elsewhere and within your agreement there should be some assurances as to up time and DR.

You should check your service level agreements to see where you stand with this by understanding requirements on both sides.

Some of the major cloud provider will provide mirroring or multi-region availability, so even if there is a problem with them then your infrastructure should be safe elsewhere.


4. Focus on other areas – free up staff

This really comes as a result of a number of factors, some that have been mentioned already. Once you have freed up your IT staff from constantly managing and maintaining the hardware and networking then you can put them to work elsewhere.

The idea is that you have both freed up money and your IT staff, this doesn’t mean they are no longer needed, it means that they can focus on driving your business forward.

This can involve helping with PoC’s and developing applications and solutions.


5. Reduced development time

Because you now have an infrastructure that is flexible and scalable you can develop and deploy quickly. This is frequently identified as one of the top reasons for going to the cloud and IaaS is a major enabler.

Yan Noblot, COO of Olympics & Major Events told CBR: "Before if someone said a few months before the games that they needed a new application, then the process was long and drawn out and would take a long time. But with cloud you just need to provision X amounts of virtual machines and how much storage and you can be done in a couple of days or hours."

This accurately summarises an issue that many have faced when trying to quickly develop in a pre and post cloud environment. No longer is it necessary to waste time and resources and make your life more difficult when you can make it easy and go for IaaS.

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