Traditional data center infrastructure has always been expensive and costly to maintain. It required you to own or lease the facilities, purchase hardware, license software, and hire an IT staff to manage all of it. Some companies relied on IT outsourcing to handle some of the responsibilities, but ultimately, the capital cost and maintenance costs fell on the shoulders of the organization.
Cloud infrastructure takes a lot of the cost and responsibility off your shoulders and makes it easier to get started and maintain your servers. When you pay for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), you are not just getting servers and networking. You often get an SLA (service-level agreement) and all of the support and maintenance that goes along with it.
Cloud infrastructure can take two primary forms: public cloud infrastructure and private cloud infrastructure. Many cloud providers such as Amazon EC2, Windows Azure, and Google Compute Engine provide levels of IaaS. These are all public offerings. On the other hand, some of those cloud providers also offer private cloud infrastructure that operates on-premise but is not nearly as cumbersome or expensive as traditional local infrastructure or outsourcing.
In Part 2, we will look at current developments in cloud infrastructure, how the landscape in enterprise is changing, and why more organizations by the day are electing to migrate to the cloud.