Cloud // Infrastructure as a Service
01:15 PM
Connect Directly
Repost This

Infrastructure-As-A-Service Options

Our latest Buyer's Guide looks at 8 top IaaS offerings in a range of categories.

Security And Compliance

Let's face it, the default security stances of most IaaS vendors are significantly more stringent than standard on-premises security practices.

IaaS vendors are also quite used to questions about compliance with common regulations, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and some have guides on how to best achieve compliance within their infrastructures. Finally, the Cloud Security Alliance's Security, Trust, and Assurance Registry has responses from many IaaS vendors to a rich set of uniform questions about security practices.

Support And SLA

Every IaaS vendor we surveyed offers 24/7 online support, and most have telephone support as well, sometimes at an additional charge. However, not all telephone support is equal; SoftLayer is the only vendor that says it puts you in touch with a person who works directly on the hardware underlying your VM. Make sure to calculate the cost of premium support for vendors that price support as a percentage of usage, as that can quickly add up.

Every IaaS vendor with a service-level agreement provides credits for future service in the case of an outage, although offerings can be difficult to compare. Amazon and SoftLayer offer 10% of your monthly bill as credit in case of an outage, while Joyent offers 5% of your monthly bill as credit for every 30 minutes of outage, and GoGrid offers 10,000% credit on whatever amount you paid during the outage. Most customers find that IaaS SLAs are noncompensatory; that is, no SLA adequately compensates a company for downtime. SLAs serve more as an incentive to providers to make sure the service is up for the vast majority of its customers. If you have a mission-critical application on IaaS, you must have a multiregion or multicloud deployment, as SLAs don't provide adequate protection.

Additional Services

One of the most exciting aspects of infrastructure-as-a-service vendors is that they're constantly innovating and creating new services that make developing and deploying powerful applications even easier. Amazon has had such a head start that its additional offerings dwarf the competition, but a number of vendors are starting to add services, too.

Some of the offerings unique to Amazon are Route 53 (DNS service), ElastiCache (caching service), CloudSearch (full-text search service), Simple Notification Service, and Mechanical Turk (human worker service). A number of vendors offer or will soon offer NoSQL database services, aimed at customers who need to store a large number of key-indexed records, such as user preferences for a consumer website: Amazon (SimpleDB and DynamoDB), Google (BigQuery), and IBM (coming soon); as well as queue services (Amazon, Joyent and SoftLayer); and email services (Amazon and SoftLayer). Some vendors also offer consulting services, whereas others let partners do the consulting.

chart: Minimum and maximum number of CPU cores offered per virtual machine, by Iaas provider?

3 of 3
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2014 Private Cloud Survey
2014 Private Cloud Survey
Respondents are on a roll: 53% brought their private clouds from concept to production in less than one year, and 60% ­extend their clouds across multiple datacenters. But expertise is scarce, with 51% saying acquiring skilled employees is a roadblock.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.