What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?

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Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a service model of Cloud Computing that delivers computer infrastructure on an outsourced basis to support enterprise operations. Typically, IaaS provides hardware, storage, servers and data center space or network components; it may also include software.

An IaaS provider provides policy-based services and is responsible for housing, operating and maintaining the equipment it provides for a client. Clients usually pay on a per-use or utility computing basis.

Characteristics of IaaS include:

  • Automated administrative tasks
  • Dynamic scaling
  • Platform virtualization
  • Internet connectivity

IaaS helps the client avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing one’s own physical servers and other datacenter infrastructure. Each resource is offered as a separate service component and the client only needs to rent a particular one for as long as required.

The client does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, and deployed applications; and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).

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