Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offers many benefits. By moving key parts of their infrastructure including compute, networking, and storage resources to the cloud, organizations remove the need for costly capital investments and are able to ensure they’re only paying for the services they need, while still being able to ramp up capacity as and when it’s required.
This not only means lower costs, but greater flexibility and speed of deployment. This technology can also lead to improved performance by giving users access to critical services and applications no matter where they are.
Yet introducing IaaS to your operations can be a complex process, and it's one with many potential pitfalls that need to be overcome - not just during the planning and rollout phase, but throughout the lifetime of the project. Any missteps in how these tools are deployed, managed or maintained can negate the advantages of IaaS, leaving you with a costly, inefficient system that doesn't meet your needs.
Here are a few major concerns and challenges of IaaS deployment and how you can deal with them.
An initial concern for many businesses will be how IaaS can be secured. Doubts about this can be one of the biggest reasons why companies choose not to pursue this technology or restrict the use of cloud to less mission-critical operations.
To prevent these worries hampering your use of cloud, it's important to work closely with a trusted supplier who will be able to explain in detail exactly what protections they have in place and what their contingencies are if they experience any issues. You should also ask about patching and updating schedules and have a clear idea of which security measures are the responsibility of the vendor and which will remain with the business.
One particular area to be aware of is misconfigured cloud services. These can be one of the biggest causes of a data breach when using the cloud, and they’re often one of the most overlooked areas. Figures from McAfee claim 99% of misconfigurations initially go undetected by users.
While the majority of these are able to be fixed quickly when spotted, by then the damage could be done, so it's important to make use of automated monitoring tools to detect and correct these errors - as you can be sure malicious actors will be using similar bots.
2. Scalability and management
One of the most advertised benefits of cloud is its ability to scale up on demand, allowing businesses to be more flexible than with on-premise solutions and to support their growth more easily. However, as companies move operations to the cloud, they may find the volume of traffic these solutions have to handle expands much more than expected. As cloud tools give people access to more advanced services, this can quickly spiral out of control.
The first step in addressing this is to have a clear idea of your needs before you start - not just for today, but projecting for years to come - and plan for increasing your bandwidth before you adopt IaaS. This should tell you whether the solutions you're choosing will be up to the task, and whether you'll need to invest in additional resources such as cloud specialists further down the line. Being able to spot the key signs of when to make these moves will ensure you aren't overwhelmed by the sprawling cloud environment.
This will likely be a particular issue if you're using a multicloud environment, which offers many benefits over relying on a single vendor, but it does mean extra complexity that can make the ongoing maintenance and management of your solutions more difficult and potentially harm efficiency. Therefore, having the right expertise within your organization and using dedicated management tools will be a must.
3. Exit strategy
Finally, it's vital when agreeing an IaaS contract with any supplier that you have a clear idea of what steps will be needed if or when the relationship comes to an end. While successful partnerships can last for many years, it may be the case that your needs change in the future and you want to go down a different path - perhaps because you require different functionality or you find a cheaper alternative.
However, if you haven't considered your exit strategy, you may find it much harder than you expect to extricate yourself from a supplier. Vendor lock-in can happen when firms are so dependent on the specific tools used by their provider that it becomes too costly and complicated to move to another platform.
Avoid this by reviewing a partner's exit terms carefully before you sign a contract, and consider taking a multicloud approach. This should give you more flexibility and keep interoperability at the forefront of your planning.