The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defined infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in its 2011 definition of cloud computing:
The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, and deployed applications, and possibly limited control of select networking components such (ex. host firewalls).
Infrastructure as a service is typically characterized by high-level APIs and integration libraries which help software engineers develop software which is compatible with the IaaS provider. IaaS may also entail the use of cloud orchestration technologies such as OpenStack, Apache CloudStack, or OpenNebula. These software components assist with the creation of virtual machines, decides which hypervisor (the physical machine driving a compute cluster), enables virtual machine migration between hosts, allocates storage to VMs, and track and display usage information.
- System administrators
- Developer operations (DevOps) teams
IaaS services offer access to virtual computers, network-accessible storage, and network infrastructure components such as firewalls, and configuration services. These software components may be also referred to as "software primitives" or "system primitives."
Usage fees are typically calculated as a function of the time during which computing or networking resources were being utilized as well as the quantity or scale of resource utilization. IaaS providers may also offer value-added services like monitoring and auto-scaling for an additional cost.
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