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Desk with coffee and sticky notes where two hands hold an iPad that is displaying "IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service) and seven icons surrounding the text, including a security icon and server icon

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a popular cloud computing solution in which a third-party provider manages and maintains a data center for you, while providing your business with cloud computing resources over the Internet.

Your IaaS provider will purchase all of the necessary data center infrastructure for you, so you can skip the huge upfront capital expenditure. Meanwhile, you only pay for what resources you need, when you need them. IaaS is quickly and easily scalable according to your changing needs.

With IaaS, your provider’s team of experts manages and maintains the data center for you, freeing up your IT team to focus on more important IT initiatives. If you’re looking to make the switch to Infrastructure as a Service in cloud computing, this blog shares essential tips and tricks to know before you move your data and what traps you’ll want to avoid.

Illustrated text bubble coming from a megaphone that reads "Tips And Tricks"

Tips and Tricks

It’s easy to get caught up in the industry hype of moving to cloud infrastructure services, but carefully planning your migration will be key to your success. These tips and tricks will help you prepare for a smooth migration:

1. Make sure IaaS is right for your business. IaaS is beneficial for many, but it may not be right for every business. In some rare cases, such as when a business already has a large investment in manpower and infrastructure, it may benefit them more in the long-run to stay on-premise or consider colocation.

2. Check your migration fears at the gate. Are you worried about security? Uptime? Customer support? These are valid concerns, but with the right provider, you can relax knowing you’re in good hands. Carefully evaluate potential providers to make sure they’ll have you covered in these areas.

3. Create a clear cloud strategy. Why are you migrating to infrastructure as a service? What are you hoping to achieve and what benefits are you looking for? Specify your hopes and goals so you and your provider can work together to create a custom IaaS solution that’s perfect for you.

4. Inventory your infrastructure and applications. Before you make the move to cloud infrastructure services, it is critical to build an accurate inventory of where your applications are located and what infrastructure you already have in place. This will help you determine what parts can stay put and which are ready to move to IaaS without letting anything slip by unaccounted for.

5. Don’t just prepare your tech; prepare your people too. No matter how ready you are tech-wise, if your people aren’t ready for change, it’s a recipe for disaster. Prepare your higher-ups with the changes they can expect and help familiarize your team with new processes and responsibilities well before the move is made.

6. Prepare for necessary security changes. You’ll need to research and consider new tools, services, and options to keep your data secure in the cloud, including next-generation firewall, monitoring tools, replication and recovery options, and more. Don’t assume that your provider will handle all of these security measures for you, as many will not. Do your research to know exactly what you can expect from your provider.

7. Vet potential providers. No two providers are the same, and some will leave you with headaches rather than solutions. Pay attention to a potential IaaS provider’s service delivery quality as well as the details of their SLAs. Be sure to ask questions including:

  • What percentage of uptime can you ensure? For many businesses, 100% uptime is non-negotiable.
  • Are you a reseller? If you are a consultant or reseller, you’ll want to make sure there is clear communication between you, the provider, and your client regarding authority for the ongoing decisions that need to be made. Otherwise, your client will have a less than desirable experience with the provider you choose.
  • Do you need to be compliant with industry standards? Providers should maintain complete compliance with industry standards set by HIPAA, PCI, SOX, and FISC.
  • How do you keep data secure? Look for a provider that offers DRaaS in addition to having the most secure technology in the industry, a secure environment, geographic diversity, and SOC 2 certification.
  • Is help available 24/7/365? Choose a provider you know you can reach easily at any time of day you need it.
  • Do you need guidance or a customized solution?  Just like no two providers are the same, neither are the needs of any two businesses. Choose a provider that can customize your solution.

8. Include your legacy systems in the plans. Don’t forget that your legacy systems will need to maintain connectivity with your new cloud infrastructure. Is your provider equipped to help you make this a smooth migration? Will they allow you to utilize hybrid cloud if keeping your legacy systems is necessary? Will they allow you to colocate some of your infrastructure in their data center?

Shark with fishing rod trying to catch a fish in a bowl as a concept for avoiding traps

Traps

Avoid three major traps when moving to Infrastructure as a Service in cloud computing:

1.) Not knowing which applications are interdependent. You may virtualize one application and not realize that the application depends on another server, accidentally leaving it out from a network standpoint. This is why it’s essential to inventory your applications and where they reside.

2.) Networking troubles. If your servers can’t communicate, your IaaS solution simply won’t work. Having a network expert review the networking to the servers can help you, your employees, and customers avoid significant frustration with all the new changes.

3.) Not testing storage speed. Test to make sure that the storage in your virtual environment is just as fast, if not faster, than what you have now, rather than assuming it will be. Performance is essential to success, but not all providers can offer excellent performance, which is yet again another reason to vet potential providers carefully.

Infrastructure as a Service: the Key to a Successful Migration

At the end of the day, choosing a trusted IaaS provider like LightBound is the key piece of the puzzle to enjoying a smooth and easy cloud migration. A provider like LightBound will keep you informed and in-the-know about every tip, trick, and trap you’ll want to know, supporting you throughout your migration and beyond.

Have questions about Infrastructure as a Service or want to learn more about how you can prepare for a successful migration? Contact LightBound today and our experts will answer any questions you might have about IaaS in cloud computing.


Cloud Computing Concept with three clouds designed technologically in appearance

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between “Cloud” and “data centers”? What about Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, insourcing, outsourcing, and colocation services?  

When researching cloud computing options for your business, it’s important to know specifically what you are comparing when it comes to these often-confused terms. In this blog, we explain what “Cloud” and “data center” refer to specifically and the differences in how each cloud computing option serves your business.

Are You Talking About “Cloud” or “Data Center”?

When talking about Cloud, it’s a reference to cloud computing, which is the delivery of computing services over the Internet. Types of cloud services include infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). IaaS is further subdivided into Private, Public, and Hybrid. Cloud services come in different shapes and sizes, but most are highly scalable, handled by your provider, and you only pay for what you need when you need it.

Where it can get tricky is understanding the three models by which cloud computing is deployed: Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Private Cloud.

Public Cloud is the most commonly used deployment of cloud computing, where a provider manages and maintains your hosting solution for you. When people simply speak of “Cloud,” they most commonly mean this kind of outsourcing to a provider. The key to Public Cloud is that the infrastructure resource pools you subscribe to are shared by other companies. None of the resources are yours entirely or discretely in terms of deployment.

If you are talking about Private Cloud, a hosting provider still provides and manages the infrastructure, but that infrastructure is dedicated to you. It’s your dedicated resource pool, or at least most of it. You may share CPU and memory, but the storage allocation is typically on a separate SAN dedicated to you.

There’s also a combination of both Public and Private Cloud: Hybrid Cloud. Hybrid Cloud allows a company to utilize both cloud computing methods as needed for a more custom solution.

On the other hand, if you’re talking about a data center, this is insourcing. Many people call this Private Cloud, but that’s incorrect. You own the data center, the infrastructure and likely your staff manages everything. Any virtualization that takes place is simply your company buying software and virtualizing the infrastructure you own. This deployment is very traditional in every way. Insourcing is called as such because your company either capitalizes the elements or leases some of them, but it’s highly capital intensive. It’s not technically Cloud, because Cloud always refers to outsourcing.

What about colocation services? The term Colocation refers to a commercial datacenter. You are essentially leasing data center space, power, and cooling from a company that owns and manages the data center. The “co” in colocation services refers to the fact that other companies put their servers and infrastructure in the same building. That infrastructure is typically housed in separate, locked cabinets or cages dedicated to your company’s infrastructure, but you share the power, cooling and other building infrastructure.

Letters "V" and "S" written on two seperate black cubes on a wooden background with the left side behind the V colored turquoise to show the concept of comparison

The Key Differences Between Hosting Your Own Data Center and Going to the Cloud

When comparing insourcing versus outsourcing to a provider, how do you know which solution is best for your business? Compare the key differences between hosting your own data center on-premise and seeking out a cloud services provider:

Insourcing with an on-premise data center:

  • Slower time to market
  • Lacks scalability and flexibility
  • Physical and geographical constraints
  • Fine-tuned control of, and access to, your environment, security, and data
  • Increased responsibility and overhead to keep your business operations running smoothly
  • Difficult to achieve 24/7 monitoring by on-site staff
  • Increased risks, unless you are experienced with industry regulations and handling disaster recovery (DR)
  • Offers no geographic separation for mitigating disaster and operational risks
  • 4-5 times more expensive than outsourcing, assuming you have all the talent and expertise in-house to make it work

Outsourcing to a cloud services provider:

  • Faster time to market
  • On-demand scalability and flexibility
  • Independence from physical and geographical constraints
  • Relinquishing some control of your environment, security, and data
  • You can focus on your core business without the distraction of supporting a non-core business expense
  • Provider can handle 24/7 monitoring for you
  • Your provider’s expert staff should be experienced in industry regulations and handling disaster recovery (DR) to reduce risk
  • Provides better geographic separation for mitigating disaster and operational risks
  • Significant cost savings and conservation of capital, only paying for the services you need

Looking for another option?

The benefit of choosing Hybrid Cloud is it allows you to have continued control over critical data with Private Cloud infrastructure while leveraging Public Cloud services for non-sensitive data.

Having a colocation site can serve as a beneficial compromise between insourcing everything and passing off responsibilities to a provider.

3D illustration of server room in data center full of telecommunication equipment as a concept for colocation services or cloud computing technology

Which Option is Right for Your Business?

Hands down, it’s almost always a better idea to outsource data center services thanks to several financial and functional benefits. At the very least, if you still want to buy your own equipment, virtualize, and staff for the management of your own infrastructure, you can still leverage a commercial colocation data center facility to house all of your infrastructure for you in a professionally maintained environment with colocation services.

Long-term, it rarely if ever makes sense to build and maintain your own data center. There are some exceptions, for instance, if that’s your main business, you have a very unique circumstance, or you have an abundance of capital you don’t know what to do with.

Otherwise, you’ll want to seek out a trustworthy cloud services provider like LightBound, who will be a true partner to your business and ensure an easy and pain-free transition to Cloud. Contact LightBound today to learn more about your options for harnessing the power of Cloud and get answers from our experts about any cloud computing questions you might have.


Businessman using tablet pc and selecting IaaS, or "Infrastructure as a Service"

The ocean of information surrounding cloud services IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS can be a lot to sort through, but the incredible benefits these services offer make it essential to understand how each of these solutions can improve business operations through cloud computing.

In this blog, we break down the techspeak surrounding Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and put all the need-to-know information about this valuable cloud service in one spot. This way, you can gain an understanding of whether or not IaaS is right for your business, in addition to the key details to consider before signing a contract.

What is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)?

To help you understand IaaS, you’ll want to first understand cloud services and cloud computing. Cloud services are the delivery of cloud computing resources (servers, software, storage, and more) over the Internet rather than locally.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is one type of cloud service that delivers data center infrastructure, which refers to all of the physical components that make up a data center, including:

  • Servers
  • Network
  • Operating systems
  • Data storage
  • Server racks, power, cooling

A third-party provider delivers use of these resources to you via the Internet. Meanwhile, your IaaS provider handles all of the purchasing, installation, and management of all data center infrastructure so you don’t have to.

IaaS is a pay-as-you-go service, so you can choose the infrastructure elements that you need, easily scaling up and down as your needs change—only paying for what you need when you need it.

Illustration of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with cloud, server, and storage icons

What are the benefits of IaaS?

There are several benefits to Infrastructure as a Service in cloud computing, including:

Scalability. IaaS allows you to quickly, and easily, scale infrastructure up and down as you need it, granting you flexibility and speed to market. This is great for new and growing businesses or those that are constantly testing new products.  

Cost savings. With IaaS, all hardware is taken care of for you, so you don’t have a large capital expenditure right off the bat, nor do you have to worry about having enough manpower or expertise. You also save money thanks to easy scalability, because you only pay for as much infrastructure as you need when you need it.

Improved security. The right provider will adhere to strict industry standards, protecting your environment and data both physically and virtually. This can include redundant power, cooling, fire suppression, and physical security access, plus Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).

Time savings. Managing and maintaining a data center is no easy task. IaaS takes this responsibility off of you and your team so you can focus on what you do best. IaaS will increase your manpower and available expertise to ensure smooth operations.

24/7/365 monitoring. Thanks to a professionally designed and maintained environment, you’ll enjoy improved performance and reliability. Even better is if your provider offers 24/7/365 monitoring. This around-the-clock monitoring is essential to increasing your visibility, ensuring all is well and the ability to know right away when it’s not. Ensure that your provider also has always-available customer service so you’re never left hanging in a time of need.

Your data isn’t in your office building. This improves your business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) because if disaster strikes your business location, your data is safely secured at a separate location—that of your provider. Plus, if your office building moves, you won’t have to deal with the cost or burden of moving your data center with it.

Is IaaS right for me?

IaaS is ideal for:

  • Businesses looking for improved data center scalability, security, cost savings and more
  • Small businesses or new businesses that can’t afford or don’t want to invest large amounts in infrastructure up front
  • Businesses that want products to move quickly to market or are constantly testing will enjoy the flexibility and scalability of IaaS
  • Businesses that don’t have the proper manpower, experience, or expertise to manage and maintain a data center

IaaS may not be right for:

  • Businesses that already have a large investment in data center experts/manpower and infrastructure
  • Some very large businesses that may benefit more from investing in their own infrastructure down the line
Data center Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) server with icons depicting security, gears, cloud computing, the internet, and communication

How Do I Choose an IaaS Provider?

To enjoy the full benefits of Infrastructure as a Service, it’s key that you choose the right provider. Seek a cloud infrastructure services provider that does the following, and more, such as LightBound:

  • Offers 24/7/365 monitoring and always-on, always-available, excellent customer service
  • Has top-notch security, follows industry standards, and offers DRaaS
  • Has a whole team of experts with experience in building and maintaining data center infrastructure
  • Will work with you personally to create a custom solution for your business
  • Is trustworthy, attentive, and a true partner that cares about the success of your business

Choosing LightBound as your provider will ensure an easy transition to IaaS and continued success into the future. Contact us today and we’ll answer any questions you might have about IaaS in cloud computing to help you determine if it’s right for your business.


"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written on colorful illustration of three gears next to a laptop with an illustrated Cloud on a background of the world map in grayscale

“The cloud” is a phrase thrown around casually as though it has one specific meaning, but in reality, the cloud is a broad concept used to reference many different services and deployment models.

If you’re speaking of “the cloud” generally, then it can refer to how and where data is stored—and where it isn’t. The cloud has become important for its improvements to modern business operations. Instead of being able to run only locally on one device, the cloud enables software and services to run and be accessible over the internet.

Interested in switching your business to the cloud? Then you’ll want to think of “the cloud” more specifically, with three primary cloud service options to consider: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Knowing the difference between each of these cloud services will help you discover which solution, or solutions, could most benefit your business or organization.

"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written with a diagram to explain briefly what each cloud service option does

SaaS

Software as a Service, or SaaS, is cloud-based software hosted online by a provider that is delivered via the internet and available for use on a subscription basis.

Beneficial for startups, e-commerce companies, and short-term projects that require collaboration, SaaS is the most common type of cloud computing service used by businesses.

Advantages of SaaS include:

  • It’s managed in one central location and hosted on a remote server accessible over the internet.
  • Users are not responsible for hardware or software updates because they are handled by the provider.
  • It doesn’t need to be downloaded and installed on individual devices in order to be deployed to an entire team or company.
  • It is ideal if you use applications that aren’t in demand very often or applications that need both web and mobile access.

PaaS

Platform as a Service, or PaaS, refers to cloud-based platform services that provide a framework for developers to build custom applications. Note that PaaS does not deliver software over the internet. Rather, it provides an online platform accessible to different developers so they can create software over the internet.

This allows developers to build custom applications online without having to deal with maintaining or managing infrastructure, software, and more.

There are several advantages to PaaS including:

  • It makes the development of apps simple, cost-effective, and scalable.
  • It gives developers the ability to create customized apps without maintaining any software.
  • It reduces the amount of coding needed.
  • If multiple developers are working on the same project, or if other vendors must be included, PaaS grants speed and flexibility to the entire process.

IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, is the delivery of cloud-based infrastructure resources to organizations through virtualization technology, helping businesses organize and manage their servers, network, operating systems, and data storage.

With IaaS, customers have control over their own data without having to physically manage it on-site. IaaS is also known as a “virtual data center.”

The benefits of an IaaS include:

  • It is the most flexible cloud computing model, ideal for startups and reducing time to market.
  • It allows for automated deployment of storage, networking, servers, and processing power, all handled by your provider.
  • It allows resources to be rented in a flexible, pay-as-you-go model.
  • It gives you the ability to easily scale your infrastructure as needed.
  • It gives you increased security and 24/7 monitoring with the right provider.
"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written on colorful sticky notes and posted on a chalkboard illustration of a cloud that reads "CLOUD" for cloud services

Is SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS Right for You?

To put it simply, IaaS provides pay-as-you-go use of cloud computing infrastructure that can easily and flexibly scale with your business, PaaS provides developers with a maintenance-free platform to build custom apps, and SaaS is cloud-based software that makes it easy and less time-consuming for companies to use applications.

Although these services have similar acronyms, they all serve very different functions. However, at the end of the day, all three work together to help businesses improve operations through cloud computing.

When it comes to your business, are you ready to experience the power of the cloud? Choosing the right provider will make all the difference. Contact Lightbound today to learn which of our Indianapolis cloud services is the best fit for your business.

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It’s the holiday season and 2019 is fast approaching! Before we hit the new year, and with the warm feelings of the holiday spirit all around us, we wanted to take a moment to thank our customers, employees, and everyone who’s supported LightBound.

Our success is thanks to you, not only during this incredible year of 2018, but during all of  the years since LightBound’s founding in 1994. Thank you!

As you may have already heard or read in our announcement, LightBound will soon be merging with DataBank, a leading provider of enterprise-class data center, connectivity, and managed services. We are looking forward to an amazing future with DataBank!

We could not be more excited at LightBound for this incredible opportunity because, as Raul K. Martynek, CEO of DataBank, explained, the merger will combine LightBound’s strengths “in colocation, connectivity, and managed services with DataBank’s broad product offering and national footprint.”

“Joining DataBank is an outstanding opportunity for LightBound, its employees and customers.” – Jack Carr, CEO of LightBound

DataBank’s customer-centric approach is why we chose to “combine with their team and be able to expand our offering and geographic footprint,” explained our very own CEO, Jack Carr.

As you may already know, this merger will not impact your existing relationship or services with LightBound. DataBank’s services are a great complement to LightBound’s services.

DataBank’s portfolio of solutions will gain the following services from LightBound:

    • Colocation
    • Internet
    • Voice
    • Network
  • Cloud services

Here are some facts to know about DataBank:

    • DataBank offers customers 100% uptime availability of data, applications, and infrastructure anchored in world-class facilities
    • DataBank’s customized technology solutions are designed to help customers effectively manage risk, improve their technology performance, and allow them to focus on their core business objectives
    • DataBank is headquartered in the historic former Federal Reserve Bank Building, in downtown Dallas, TX
  • DataBank will operate 17 data centers in 9 US Markets, including Dallas, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Atlanta, and now Indianapolis

You can read DataBank’s announcement of our big news here and the Inside Indiana Business story here.

The words "Thank you" written on a blurred lights background

We will keep you informed with more information about our integration as the latest developments happen. Thank you again for your continued support and trust. We look forward to a wonderful year ahead!