What’s the difference between a single cloud server and a fully-fledged IaaS cloud hosting solution (such as a virtual or cloud data centre)?
Perhaps the simplest explanation is that it’s the equivalent of a single server versus an entire rack in a colocation data centre. And while both single cloud server hosting and IaaS allow you to define your own requirements when it comes to storage and processing power (within the parameters set by your provider), IaaS is where the self-service, pay-as-you-go, agile and scalable nature of the cloud really becomes apparent.
Many organisations make the move from colocation to IaaS when their infrastructure reaches end-of-life – swapping their existing rack for a virtual one. However, there are other reasons for adopting IaaS too, even if your business already uses the cloud via a single server or a number of discrete servers. Here are three of the most common.
1. You’re outgrowing your resources
One of the key benefits of using IaaS is the freedom and flexibility that comes with it. In comparison to a single cloud server, where you’re limited to the amount of storage and processing power that was defined at the start of your contract, with IaaS you’re able to match your resource deployment with your own requirements on a monthly, or even hourly, basis.
This means that if you ever outgrow the resources at your disposal, you don’t need to go back to your provider to buy and deploy an entirely new server – instead, you can spin up a new one or change your settings with a couple of clicks.
2. It takes too long to make changes
If you’re a fast-growing business, you’ll value agility in your cloud environment, and want the ability to chop and change from time to time to ensure your resources stay relevant to whatever you’re currently working on. Say you need to spin up a server to use as a testing environment for a new application, for example – you’ll want to be able to do this with minimal fuss (and, by extension, with minimal intervention from your provider). Most IaaS solutions can be controlled via an all-encompassing management tool that makes this process as simple and painless as possible.
Granted, a single cloud server will still be a lot simpler to manage for most tasks, but you won’t be able to self-serve in the same way as with IaaS and you’ll need to go through your provider to provision new servers. This can be frustrating if you’d prefer to be in control yourself, even if your provider is exceptionally responsive. With your own chunk of the cloud to play with, the “what and when” of resource deployment is done on your terms.
3. You have specific cloud security needs
With IaaS, you have full control over how you connect to and from the servers in your cloud environment. As with a rack in a colocation data centre, you can connect as many or as few servers as you want to the public internet – treating your environment as an extension of your office VPN, and creating virtual firewalls, switches and routers with a tool like VMware NSX.