Infrastructure as a Service: The Foundation of an XaaS World


Infrastructure as a Service: The Foundation of an XaaS World

By Juhi Fadia

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), also known as hardware as a service (HaaS), is pay-as-you-go computing that provides storage and on-demand networking resources through the “rental” of Virtual Machines (VMs) or partitions of VMs.

It complements other fast-growing Everything as a Service (XaaS) approaches, including:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS)
  • Network as a Service (NaaS)
  • And Serverless (an execution model in which the cloud provider allocates machine resources on demand, taking care of the servers on behalf of their customers)

Cloud computing has overtaken the world of IT and is continually maturing and morphing even as the underlying hardware, software, middleware, and firmware themselves evolve. Small and medium enterprises today fully understand what this means but can be overwhelmed by the puzzle pieces causing “analysis paralysis” as they still fear moving to cloud-first approaches.

SMBs do not have large IT teams, with experts in each category, and experience in a challenging new world, which is driving them to work with MSPs, who are increasingly also becoming MSSPs, given the growing concerns and complexities in a world where cyberattacks are being reported every day.

“All businesses know they need to digitally transform how they operate and serve customers,” said Scott Chasin, Chief Technology Officer of Pax8. “Every business needs secure, affordable, and scalable infrastructure and, depending on the business they are in, expert guidance in choosing the right IaaS option. For e-commerce companies, certain hardware ‘for lease or rent’ is required, compared to IoT companies, which need more local physical infrastructure with proximity to the edge. MSPs play an incredibly important role globally, especially given that small and medium businesses are growing much faster than large enterprises – in large part because they do have access to world-class technologies when they are able to buy it and scale it as needed.”

Chasin explained that migration can be the most intimidating part of transforming IT infrastructure for small businesses, noting that, “one of the key growth drivers fueling the growth of IaaS among SMBs is a fast and easy process when delivered by the right MSP partner. Time is money, and small businesses can’t afford to waste either. IaaS serves as the foundation for XaaS, and with experts to guide them, SMBs can be up and running on a higher quality, more affordable, and more agile computing and communications environment they can scale up or down as business needs change.”

On-premises data centers and hardware are notoriously expensive, complicated, and burdensome to IT staff. IaaS saves SMBs money and time by eliminating the need for physical server maintenance and management.

Since server connection isn’t a necessity with IaaS, businesses can bounce back faster after a crisis. Business continuity and disaster recovery are baked in when the XaaS strategies and solutions are implemented by experienced MSPs.

According to Datamation, the IaaS market was valued at $38.94 billion in 2019. Projected to maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.2 percent from 2020 to 2027, it’s expected to reach $201.83 billion by 2027.

Utilizing IaaS platforms as private, public, or hybrid cloud comes with numerous benefits for companies, Datamation also said, including:

  • Cost-efficiency
  • Infrastructure flexibility and scalability
  • On-demand access to resources
  • Automation
  • Outsourcing of infrastructure maintenance
  • Ability to focus on business growth

“There are many reasons why IaaS is growing so fast,” Chasin said. “Smart MSPs have completely shifted their own overall architecture built around IaaS – and these are MSPs with hundreds and thousands of customers with whom they’ve worked for years and even decades. Those MSPs used to resell gear, and they’ve replaced that revenue by selling everything as a service, including infrastructure. This is part of the reason Pax8 has also been growing at a breakneck pace – we enable the transformation of the MSP’s own business and operations so they, in turn, can bring so much value to their customers, retaining and growing them while attracting new customers with a modern offering.”

That doesn’t mean a cloud transformation is easy.

 “Many mistakes have been made along the path to cloud-first models,” he said. “Just one misconfiguration of permissions for an asset has proven to unlock the door and leave it wide open for cybercriminals, for example. Just one innocent mistake made in terms of governing resources can fuel a massive, unexpected bill. When you start to layer IaaS with XaaS applications and services and don’t have the experience or knowledge to be able to manage wisely the vendors selected, you can end up one day with a mess that may be even more complicated than your old IT closet.”

MSPs have navigated the pandemic well, and their businesses reflect it. Sixty-two percent of IT MSPs expect 2022 revenue growth to come primarily from new business. This is up from 49 percent in 2021. and is great news for MSPs prepared to support SMBs that can deeply benefit from having an experienced, enthusiastic, and well-educated IT partner.

Only in that way, Chasin said, can MSPs and their customers benefit from IaaS – and XaaS.

Juhi Fadia is an engineer, analyst, researcher and writer covering advanced and emerging technologies.

Edited by Erik Linask


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