Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualised computing resources over the Internet. As one of the three main categories of cloud computing, SaaS and PaaS being the others, it is important to know who the big players are and who is the best.
CBR looks at the top 10 IaaS providers.
1. Amazon Web Services
EC2 provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud and is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.
Offering an interface which allows users to obtain and configure capacity, this allows for complete control over computing resources. The user can scroll capacity up and down as their computing requirements change and Amazon EC2 is offered on a pay as you use basis, only charging the user for the capacity that is used.
Also included are developer tools so that developers can build failure resilient applications and be able to isolate themselves from common failure scenarios.
2. AT&T Cloud Computing Services
AT&T’s Synaptic Compute as a Service is an IaaS offering which allows developers and business customers to access virtualised servers through AT&T data centres on a pay-per-use basis. Virtual LAN is offered for each client along with a choice of operating system and up to 100GB of storage space.
The services can be accessed via VPN, customer accounts or over the internet and the customer accounts can be managed through web-based GUI or API. AT&T is trying to leverage the power of its worldwide network in order to compete, however, it offers less than the big competitors.
The company has been building a global "Intercloud," it describes this as a network of clouds which are run by partners. The initiative has benefited from over $1bn in funding from Cisco, and its partners build out the infrastructure needed to make it work. With providers being numerous, questions can be raised over the reliability of the service.
4. Google Compute Engine
Running on Google’s global infrastructure and including the companies private global fibre network along with high efficiency data centres helps to set it as one of the top providers. The system is tailored towards dealing with big data and big data warehousing by offering analytics focused applications including Google Cloud Storage, Google BigQuery and Google Cloud SQL.
Google is extremely popular because often it is one of the best and can offer a lot to its customes, with IaaS it offers a number of operating systems which includes Debian, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Windows Server and others.
5. IBM Cloud – Softlayer
Similar to Microsoft in that it didn’t start with a ready made network of international servers and data centres, so the acquisition of Softlayer which offers IaaS by bare metal servers or virtual servers got them into the market. A fully managed IaaS is available and aimed at corporate style IT departments.
IBM also offers core compute and storage services and an asset catalogue of IBM and non IBM software, which is ideal for enterprises that manage large numbers of testers and developers that require both the ability to deploy virtual machines and to allocate storage efficiently.
HP Helion Cloud is built on OpenStack and is a part of a converged cloud solution for public, private and hybrid cloud.
One of the key benefits of the service is that both Windows and Linux are supported, whilst another important factor is that HP cloud offers simple access to its content distribution network, this can come in handy for companies that have a global customer base.
Enterprise converged infrastructure, the offering is built on OpenStack and IaaS is a part of its converged cloud solution for public, private and hybrid cloud.
7. Microsoft Azure
The service is not just Microsoft specific. What is available is ready access to virtual networks, message queues, services buses and non-relational storage platforms.
Access to a gallery of images is provided so customers can use Ubuntu and Oracle, as well as others. Similar to some of its competitors, the pricing is based upon the size and type of use, and the type of operating system which is installed.
The company was named as a "Leader" by Gartner in 2014, however issues with loss of service in the past 6 months have damaged its reputation.
8. Rackspace Cloud
Although the company is discontinuing its "pure" IaaS offering so that it can transition to being a managed cloud provider, the only real difference will be an additional fee that will be based on the type and size of use.
Rackspace is more expensive than Google, Microsoft and Amazon, but it’s hard to compete with the relentless pricing competition between those companies.
9. Dimension Data
Dimension Data has a standardised architecture and offers enterprise-class cloud IaaS, one of its best selling points is that it includes hardware-based security and scalability along with customisation and control. Similar to others it has 24-7 live support and has a wide range of pricing plans.
Dimension Data has come to market with its Cloud Services Suite, as well as its Managed Cloud Platform (MCP) and CloudControl solutions.
The company has a strong focus on customer assistance in order to help them through stages of Cloud adoption. The management services work to interconnect the companies public and private cloud and the managed services also offer patch management, device configuration and backup.
Oracle’s IaaS is a private cloud service which is for deploying Oracle Engineered Systems, again it is offered as a pay-as-you-go pricing model. CPU capacity is on demand so that will help to accommodate peak workloads. The elastic capacity is a key feature that needs to be offered to organisations in order to be able to meet all requirements.
The pre-integrated, pre-tuned and pre-tested systems are optimised to run Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware. Hardware support coverage is included with Oracle Premier Support for Systems and 24/7 fault monitoring is available with Oracle Platinum and PlatinumPlus Services.