What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?

Various layers are involved when we talk about running any software application. To run any application, one needs storage, servers, networking, operating systems, some middleware, a runtime and data, and applications. These are different layers from the bottom to the top, as shown in the diagram below.

Before the cloud computing model became prominent, companies were responsible for managing all components in different layers. They would procure hardware, install OS and other components required for their application, and make them available. They would also keep servers running so that applications remain accessible to their audience. That's a lot of things to manage and requires many resources.

Cloud computing has made Infrastructure as a Service more straightforward by the IaaS model. It was the very first model that cloud platforms started offering. In its simple form, IaaS allows us to eliminate the acquisition of any hardware and networking equipment. Our concern begins with installing the operating system. We don't need to worry about procuring the hardware, connecting different servers, upkeep, and maintaining the hardware to scale up or down.

As shown in the diagram below, all the green components are our responsibility, whereas the cloud vendor manages the components in red. When we move from an on-premises environment to IaaS, we delegate underlying components to cloud platforms to manage on our behalf.

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