Why IaaS services need to offer more from the cloud

Mature IaaS services now go beyond the NIST definitions.

Businesses are seeing the benefits of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and are keen to buy up services within the cloud, but what they are seeing more and more is that they should be able to get a higher level of functionality for their product.

The reason why this is is that cloud service providers are beginning to realise that they need to go beyond the traditional definitions of the cloud in a bid to progress and deliver upon business needs. Back in 2011, the National Institute of Standards in Technology (NIST) offered up the three titles that have come to define services within the cloud. These, of course, are IaaS, software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).

IaaS is usually taken to cover all the underlying resources that support an IT system- including storage, networking and virtual servers. Yet a number of services that are considered to be IaaS no longer fit the description, with providers finding that they need to offer more to businesses to appeal to them. Infrastructure services from Azure do fit the definition but also come with additional, useful extra services like SharePoint.

A white paper from Dot Net Solutions entitled What We Talk About When We Talk About Cloud stated: "Providers are going to market with specific cloud-enabled services that, whilst offering some functionality of true IaaS solutions, lack some fundamental characteristics as defined by NIST."

Analysts at Gartner have seen the shift in cloud computing and created a new term to properly encompass the extension of services now offered in conjunction with infrastructure. When IaaS is offered as a technology platform, Gartner labels it as cloud-enabled systems infrastructure (CESI).

However, as stated in a previous blog, businesses may take a little longer to adjust to the shift in terminology. Many scrutinise such technicalities as where their data is being stored and which IT structures are needed for them to function properly. These are questions that have been laid out due to the IaaS, SaaS and PaaS labelling structure but by moving away from these terms, they can open themselves to more innovative options for cloud services.