Evolution of Infrastructure as a Service
|Richard Harris in Programming Thursday, February 20, 2020|
We chat with Sagi Dudai, Chief Technology Officer of Vonage about the evolution of Infrastructure as a Service and the impact it has on other industries and markets.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) has changed the world. In the past, a company had to invest time and resources into building and operating its own servers. So much effort went into maintaining infrastructure, that little time remained for focusing on the company mission. IaaS changed all that. Today, a provider like AWS will build the server farm. A software company will use those servers to build applications, and their customers will leverage both of those tools to develop their own products.
IaaS has changed the world because the best thing for the market is equilibrium. Equilibrium can only be achieved when every company specializes in what they do best. Cloud infrastructure enables a focus on core competencies. When organizations are able to focus on what they do best, they can deliver focused, better products, which in turn better serve end customers’ needs.
ADM: What is infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and what is its role in the enterprise?
Dudai: The ‘aaS’ acronym refers to a cloud solution for business that is provided as-a-service. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) more specifically refers to self-service, pay-per-use storage space, networking equipment, and services. It is highly scalable, automated, self-provisioned and gives users far more granular control over their environments.
IaaS has evolved entire industries because it enables companies to deliver a more focused, better product to customers. It allows companies to build specialized technology stacks that help them do what they do best, ultimately differentiating them from the competition.
ADM: What are the biggest differences between infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS)?
Dudai: Some would say that IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS are part of a family tree. SaaS is one of the more widely known as-a-service models where cloud vendors host the business applications and then deliver to customers online. It enables customers to take advantage of the service without maintaining the infrastructure required to run software on-premises. In the SaaS model, customers pay for a specific number of licenses and the vendor manages the behind-the-scenes work.
The PaaS model is more focused on application developers and providing them with a space to develop, run, and manage applications. PaaS models do not require developers to build additional networks, servers or storage as a starting point to developing their applications.
ADM: How is the market different today from when IaaS was first introduced?
Dudai: When first introduced, IaaS initially provided mostly compute (virtual servers such as ec2) and object storage (such as s3). Today it has matured to provide a much richer set of managed services from databases, to containers, to serverless functions, to message queues and more. This has enabled companies to leverage more and more capabilities in the cloud and spend more time differentiating their product.
ADM: What is IaaS’s impact on the broader market and industries?
Dudai: IaaS is now enabling more disruption across all markets and industries as the same capabilities available to larger companies are now also available to the smallest startup in a garage. This includes advances in AI and Machine Learning (as a service), data analytics, serverless technologies, IoT and much more. This is also requiring large companies to behave as agile as a startup.
ADM: How can companies best embrace IaaS to find their equilibrium and focus on “what they do best”?
Dudai: IaaS enables businesses to deliver a more well-honed, better product to its customers. IaaS is like a microeconomy, where supply equals demand, creating an equilibrium. With IaaS, everyone in the market is specialized and can do their best work. IaaS enables companies to build the best app that focuses on solving problems for their customers rather than spending resources spinning up and managing their own infrastructure.
ADM: What is the impact of this “equilibrium” on customers?
Dudai: This balance opens the door for broader, deeper, richer and more robust products and services, with faster turnaround time and faster time to market.
ADM: What are the risks of not having this “equilibrium”?
Dudai: Without it, companies run the risk of falling behind and losing business to their more agile competition.
About Sagi Dudai
Sagi Dudai is Chief Technology Officer. In this role, he is responsible for leading Vonage’s technology vision, architecture, and design, overseeing all aspects of technology development, including new products, their enabling technologies, and R&D. Prior to being named CTO, Mr. Dudai was Senior Vice President of Software Engineering for Vonage, responsible for software development company-wide.
Mr. Dudai has more than 20 years of experience at the forefront of the fastest moving technology industry trends, including cloud, mobile, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Prior to joining Vonage in 2012, he held engineering leadership roles at various technology companies, including three startups – Mercury Interactive, TelMap & fring – which were later acquired by Hewlett-Packard, Intel and GenBand, respectively. Earlier, he also worked on a number of classified software and hardware engineering projects for Israeli intelligence.
He graduated from the prestigious IDF computer science training program and earned his B.A. in Computer Science & Business Administration from Tel Aviv University. He also holds an Executive M.B.A from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.