Understanding the Key Characteristics of IaaS in a Public Cloud

Public IaaS services are very well known, thanks to the work done by Amazon with its Web Services. Business users over the past several years have discovered that they can bypass the IT organization and — for a small amount of money — access compute and storage services with little effort. They simply go to a self-service interface and provide a credit card number, and an image of compute or storage services is provided almost instantly. This rapid provisioning represents a stark contrast to the reality of many IT enterprise environments. The truth is that the traditional methods of acquiring computing resources simply haven’t kept pace with business urgency. A company may miss out on the opportunity to win new customers if its hot new offering is delayed for three months because the IT development and test teams can’t get the resources they need.

Companies face all sorts of variations in demand for IT resources. As a result, predicting what the demand for these resources will be and justifying the expense of new hardware are often very hard to do. For example, in a six-week period, a development team may need extra compute and storage infrastructure, but purchasing it for temporary needs makes no sense.

Likewise, in some situations an online vendor may need extra computing and networking capabilities during the holiday rush. If an online retailer in this situation relies on a traditional approach of maintaining all ...

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