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Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is defined as a cloud computing model which provides virtualized computing via the Internet. With IaaS, a cloud service vendor hosts and manages computing infrastructure and resources, such as servers, networking, storage, and virtualization, and users control operating systems, applications, and other misc. software.


IaaS is a convenient and flexible option for organizations that don't have a desire to run and maintain their own data center or purchase their own hardware.

IaaS Platforms and Architecture

Popular public cloud platforms for IaaS include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, IBM, and Oracle. Each platform offers a range of services within the IaaS architecture.


There are seven categories that make up IaaS architecture: the physical infrastructure, virtualization layer, networking infrastructure, storage infrastructure, management and orchestration layer, security and compliance, and billing and metering.

  • Physical Infrastructure: This is the foundation of the IaaS model which consists of servers, storage devices, networking equipment, data centers, power and cooling, and other hardware components as needed. These necessary physical resources are managed and maintained by an IaaS provider.
  • Virtualization Layer: The virtualization layer abstracts the underlying physical hardware and establishes virtualized environments. A hypervisor facilitates the creation and management of virtual machines (VMs), and enables efficient resource allocation and isolation. Additionally, it facilitates underlying physical resources to be shared across multiple VMs.
  • Networking Infrastructure: Networking infrastructure consists of switches, routers, load balancers, firewalls, etc. These components are what allows network connectivity within an IaaS environment and facilitiates communication between VMs, provides network security and routing, and connects external networks to the IaaS platform.


Each platform may have slightly different names for each networking feature, but both   AWS and Azure have options for virtual private networks (VPN), load balancing, content delivery networks (CDN), network security groups (NSGs), and virtual network peering.

  • Storage Infrastructure: This component provides various storage resource types, such as block, object, and file, to the IaaS model. The storage infrastructure is necessary in providing essential data persistence, availability, and scalability for both user applications and data.
  • Management and Orchestration Layer: This layer consists of the services, tools, and interfaces needed to manage and control IaaS resources. Components within this layer include user interfaces (UIs), Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), command-line interfaces (CLIs), and sometimes orchestration and automation tools. These components enable users to provision, configure, monitor and manage their VMs, storage, and networking.
  • Security and Compliance: Security and compliance is a critical category within IaaS architecture that is comprised of security measures, policies, and controls to protect the infrastructure, apps, and data. Such actions include data encryption, network security, identity and access management, compliance frameworks, and security monitoring and auditing.
  • Billing and Metering: This section monitors resourage usage and measures resource consumption (including CPU, memory, storage, bandwidth, etc.) to calculate associated costs for IaaS services.

How Does IaaS Work?

Infrastructure as a service works through layers working together and virtualizing to be used by the customer. The cloud provider is responsible for keeping the hardware and infrastructure running, and the organization needs to manage and configure the virtual environment on their own or with the help of a service provider.

What Are the Benefits of IaaS?

There are several benefits of IaaS which include the following: scalability, flexibility and agility, cost savings, reliability and redundancy, disaster recovery, security and compliance, collaboration and integration, and geographic reach.


With IaaS, companies only need to pay for what they use, because cloud providers offer it on a pay-as-you-go basis. As opposed to being saddled with upfront hardware and infrastructure costs, this can be a significant source of cost savings for an organization.


Data protection and compliance are paramount for any company, and IaaS providers can assist with both. Available security features can include firewalls, data encryption, and intrusion detection systems. Major IaaS providers, such as AWS and Azure, are able to help organizations comply with common regulatory standards such as PCI DSS and HIPAA.


Because organizations don't need to buy their own equipment with IaaS, and everything is virtualized, that makes resources easier to scale up or down as needed.

What is the Difference Between IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS?

IaaS, platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) are all different cloud computing service models. While infrastructure as a service mainly concerns the computing level, PaaS creates an environment for organizations to deploy and develop applications. SaaS gives users access to cloud-hosted software applications.

How TierPoint Can Help with IaaS

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have workloads that are deployed across all three environments - IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Whether you use our managed IaaS services to help configure your IaaS environment, or you have questions about how to find the right level of cloud service for your workloads, TierPoint can help you find the magic combination and advance your digital transformation initiatives.

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