Users  in the marketplace seem to be getting a clearer understanding about the different kinds of cloud deployments (private, community, public and hybrid), but one area where I still see peers, customers and industry experts tripping up surrounds the definition of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

What IS IaaS?

IaaS includes all the system services that make up the foundation layer of a cloud—the server, computing, operating system, storage, data back-up and networking services.   IaaS supports the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) layer, which includes the development tools you use to build, modify and deploy  cloud optimized applications, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) layer, which includes the business applications.

Shades of Gray in the Cloud

While the definition of the IaaS layer is pretty straightforward, there are some gray areas where you need to ask questions: resiliency, restoration, disaster recovery, and security.

  • -Resiliency refers to the stability of the foundation and whether it is built to enterprise standards;
  • -Restoration refers to the ability to restore your data quickly after, say, the release of application software  updates that damages data;
  • -Disaster recovery refers to the ability to get your business operations back online following a catastrophic event, whether it is a natural disaster, or an errant backhoe clawing through the power lines somewhere on the electrical grid, and finally
  • -Security refers to the architecture for monitoring the access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification and destruction of data by users and programs and whether those security capabilities are “baked in.”

Different vendors offer different types and levels of service in these areas, so it is wise to define your needs carefully.

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