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IaaS Revolutionizes Infrastructure

The second most widely used cloud model (in terms of revenue generated) is the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud, embodied by pioneers such as Amazon EC2, JoyentCloud or Terramark vCloud Express. An infrastructure cloud is a bit like a ready-made datacenter, except that it’s no longer owned, it’s extensible on demand and consumable in installments. An IaaS-type cloud provides a distributed and highly automated virtualized IT infrastructure foundation that can meet enterprise application release requirements. This infrastructure foundation consists of a set of resources (servers, networks, storage) accessible in a granular manner and with multiple predetermined service levels. The basic consumption unit in an infrastructure cloud is the virtual machine, usually offered in several small, medium and large format formats (depending on the format the VM has more or fewer CPU cores, memory, and storage ). The infrastructure cloud is also generally billed according to the time of use of this VM, its consumption in the number of storage and network input outputs.

The infrastructure cloud has revolutionized IT for some start-ups but also for more established companies. It allowed them to focus on developing their applications without having to worry about building data centers, provisioning servers or managing their infrastructure. The IaaS has somehow provided an abstraction of the data center on which its companies came to deposit their systems environments and their applications. And without question of sizing or “scaling”, the infrastructure of the cloud provider being virtually elastic to infinity. A typical example is Dropbox, which without investing in a single server has built the most widely used cloud storage service on the planet (the company now uses nearly 20,000 virtual instances on Amazon EC2 to serve its customers). Another is the Gilt Group (the US equivalent of private sales) that built all of its infrastructures on the Joyent cloud. Gilt had sales of nearly $ 400 million with more than 3 million customers in 2010 but its infrastructure cost less than 1% of this figure. This dynamic infrastructure must be able to load suddenly every day between noon and 14h to increase from 100,000 visitors to 1 million simultaneous visitors, which allows the Joyent cloud dynamic activation of new VM to cope with peak usage from the Gilt site.

One of the great benefits of IaaS is that it is very easy to consume for the business. It finds a unit of familiar work that is the virtual server. And cloud VM administration looks exactly like VM administration in a virtualized data center. With the difference that the company no longer has to buy its own servers, configure them, wire them, administer them … In short, the responsibility of exploiting the “power” computer is outsourced to a third party. The company only has to worry about managing the system environments and applications installed on VMs in the cloud.


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