In this section, we are going to learn about Microsoft Azure and AWS(Amazon Web Services).
Microsoft Azure and AWS are IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service providers.
What is IaaS?
IaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service. Lets assume you are an entrepreneur and want to start a tech start up company. To do this , you will have to first set up the infrastructure for your company.
What kind of infrastructure?
By infrastructure, i mean the physical server racks, the computing hard wares, processors,telephone systems etc.,
If you do not want to use the IaaS, you will have to physically buy all these components, set it up and hire some one to maintain the infrastructure.
If you are using IaaS, you do not have to worry about setting up the infrastructure physically and maintaining it. You can simply set up the infrastructure in the cloud with the help of IaaS providers like Microsoft and Amazon.
Are Microsoft and Amazon the only IaaS providers?
No, there are other players in the cloud services like Digital Ocean, AT&T, Rackspace etc., But Microsoft and Amazon are the top and popular providers.
Why it is wise to go for IaaS instead of setting up the infrastructure by yourself?
OK, Lets take an example of a tech start up company.Lets assume you have set up all the infrastructure by yourself and hired someone to maintain it. It might have cost you around 50,000 to 60,000 dollars to set up the infrastructure.
There are three things that can happen to any start up company.
1)The company does exactly like what you had visioned.
Great, you are an awesome entrepreneur, the company is doing exactly like what you had visioned.You expected that the number of visitors/users per day will not exceed some 30,000 and it is the reality.
2)The company fails.
This is common with most of the start up companies right now. You had invested more than 60,000 dollars in your company and it is not going in the direction you wanted it to. So you will have to close the company. It would have been wiser to use the IaaS. Basically you just have to pay only for the kind of services you would you use. We shall discuss about these services in detail later.
3)The company is doing exceptionally well (Not as you expected).
This is weird but good. You expected the number of users to be around 10,000 per day. But your company is doing really well and the number users is growing at a rapid rate. This would be a problem because you had set up the infrastructure to cater to around 10,000 users per day. Now its really difficult to scale up quickly. If you were using the IaaS, its just a click of a button and you can scale up almost instantaneously just by paying a little more to the IaaS providers.
What type of Services do IaaS providers offer?
- Compute services like Virtual Machines, App Services.
- Storage services.
- CDN(Content Delivery Network)- Its one of the services to quickly render the media to your users when the actual data center is far away from your user.
- Cognitive Services-Microsoft has some amazing cognitive services for image processing, speech processing etc.,
- Machine Learning - A service to get insights and make predictions from your data.
There are many such services provided by IaaS providers.
Whats a Data Center?
When you are setting up your infrastructure in the cloud, it's not actually "The Cloud". You will be setting up your infrastructure in one of the Global Data Centers. Both Microsoft and Amazon have set up their data centers around the world. For example, you can either set up your infrastructure in the U.S data center, South East Asia data center and many other data centers around the globe. Data Centers are highly secured locations, so you do not have to worry about your data or infrastructure. They have some thing called as "Geo-Replication" in which they replicate your data in different locations so that if there is a problem in one of the data center, they can quickly back up the data from other data centers.
Which Data Center should i choose?
You should always choose a data center which is closer to your users and not closer to you(unless your users are from your location). This is because your users are the ones who are hitting your servers and other infrastructure hard. Not you.