“The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 16.5 percent in 2016 to total $204 billion, up from $175 billion in 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. The highest growth will come from cloud system infrastructure services (infrastructure as a service [IaaS]), which is projected to grow 38.4 percent in 2016.” *

With time, IaaS – Infrastructure as a service has emerged as the most opted segment of cloud computing with an increasingly large number of organizations moving their infrastructure requirements out of the data centers to the public cloud. IaaS provides them with flexible virtualized computing resources via a network like internet to meet their rapidly evolving IT requirements.

It provides them with the much needed business agility today by making changes to their computing power, storage capacity and other infrastructure services as and when needed, without paying a hefty amount. They don’t need to make huge investments in infrastructure and with pay as you go billing, they only pay for what they consume. For an enterprise, IaaS saves both – time and cost as the hardware and software resources, processing and networking, are all taken care of by the IaaS provider.

Let’s discuss IaaS storage in detail:

In order to create the perception of unlimited storage, proper capacity planning is essential and required storage capacity must be added well in advance. The storage amount to be added totally depends on the rate of consumption of storage space. The required IaaS storage is automatically allocated by the infrastructure to the user from Storage Resource Pools via Storage Area Networks (SANs) as per the need. There are few more storage requirements that should be considered.

1. Performance and availability: The storage that’s provided within a cloud should be consistent. The storage controller architecture for the servers that is directly connected to storage devices has a direct impact on performance, scale and on overall cost. Thus, it’s advisable to use SATA III as they can operate at speed of up to 6 Gbps. SAS controllers can also operate at high speed and provide high availability by giving direct access to the trays, disks or arrays attached to controllers. The input or output operations per second should not vary. The performance factors for hard drives one should consider are as follows:

  • Rotational speed should be highest.
  • Read and Write speed should be highest.
  • Lowest latency should be there.
  • SSDs should be used for business critical loads.

2. Fiber channel: Although fiber channels are very expensive, but there are a variety of reasons, including high performance and low latency, due to which most enterprises consider them. The adoption of Fiber Channel based SAN infrastructure is increasing day by day as it provides high-speed, same as SAS, and enterprise-level reliability. This type of storage protocol that uses Ethernet transport can work in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 through a Hyper-V feature.

3. Physical storage switches: These provide tough and flexible connectivity between the physical server and shared storage. Your cloud hosting provider takes care that the storage switch must meet the following requirements:

  • Dedicated switch port that provides I/O optimization and redundancy.
  • Firmware configuration and upgrades should be supported by a programmatic interface.
  • Data access segregation from conventional network for workload operations and host to host for data security.
  • Capability to withstand the storage faults with redundant HBA and switches.

4. Bandwidth efficiency with BranchCache: You can optimize Wide Area Network (WAN) bandwidth usage by reducing the traffic between the branch office and your main office easily with the integration of BranchCache, a bandwidth optimization technique. It improves the data storage efficiency on the disk by reducing the download times with less consumption of bandwidth.

5. IaaS security requirements: It’s essential to consider the security requirements for using IaaS so that you get a secure virtualization platform for your business critical data. No matter, whether you are using the private cloud or public cloud, following security issues should be considered:

  • Data stored in an IaaS infrastructure must be closely monitored by using proper tools and applying proper restrictions on the business critical information.
  • There should be robust authentication and authorization methods in order to have an effective Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution. It’s good to have multi-factor authentication and authorization for the information that needs to be restricted.
  • End-to-end logging and reporting in order to keep track of information – who accesses it and when, which storage arrays are responsible, and about the machines that handle it.
  • There should be whole disk encryption not just encryption of user data.

Wrapping up

IaaS provides cost effective and easily scalable storage solutions to the users. The complexities and management is taken care of by the cloud vendor itself. If you need to scale or expand your business, you just have to tap in the cloud resources, install and integrate the hardware rather than purchasing them. So, for a growing business, IaaS is the best infrastructure solution there can be.

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