A Guide to AWS IaaS Services: What, Why, When To Use

Key Takeaways

  • AWS IaaS offers a robust cloud computing infrastructure, enabling scalable and flexible cloud services.
  • AWS IaaS provides computing resources like servers, storage, and networking without physical hardware management.
  • The benefits of AWS IaaS are flexibility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, global reach, enhanced security, and fosters innovation.
  • Popular AWS IaaS Services are Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon EBS, Amazon Route 53, Amazon VPC, ELB, AWS Direct Connect, Amazon Lightsail.
  • Use Cases – AWS IaaS Services are most suitable for complex enterprise environments, enterprise applications that need more control over the underlying virtual environment than what PaaS provides, big data analytics, backup/disaster recovery, and web hosting.
  • AWS provides features and tools such as AWS Console, AWS CLI, CloudFormation for monitoring, configuration, automation, and optimization of AWS IaaS services.
  • IaaS vs. PaaS – IaaS allows more control and customization whereas PaaS offers for ease of use in development, deployment and operations.
  • AWS IaaS services provide extensive control and customization, ideal for diverse business needs but require higher lift and expertise to efficiently build and operate your cloud environments.


AWS’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides the backbone for cloud computing, offering a suite of services that deliver scalable and flexible cloud infrastructure. This article delves into AWS IaaS Services, their benefits, use cases, and how AWS IaaS compares with AWS Platform as a Service (PaaS).

What are AWS IaaS Services?

AWS IaaS services are a set of cloud-based solutions that provide businesses with essential computing resources, including servers, storage, and networking capabilities, without the need for physical hardware management. AWS’s IaaS platform allows users to rent virtual servers on which they can run their applications and handle data storage.

AWS IaaS services are scalable, meaning they can grow with the needs of the business, and are charged based on usage, offering a cost-effective solution for many companies.

The Benefits of AWS IaaS

  1. High Flexibility and Control: AWS IaaS services offer near complete control over the virtual servers, operating systems, virtual network, storage and the deployed applications.
  2. Scalability: AWS IaaS provides the ability to scale resources up or down based on demand, ensuring optimal performance and cost-efficiency.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: With a pay-as-you-go model, businesses can manage cloud spend and save on the capital expenses of buying and maintaining physical servers.
  4. Global Reach: AWS’s vast network of data centers around the world ensures reduced latency and better performance for global applications.
  5. Enhanced Security: AWS provides robust security measures, including network firewalls and encryption, to safeguard data.
  6. Innovation and Speed: The agility and on-demand nature offered by AWS IaaS enables businesses to deploy and test new applications rapidly, fostering innovation.

AWS IaaS Services Examples

AWS offers a wide array of IaaS services catering to different aspects of cloud computing. These services collectively form the backbone of AWS’s IaaS offerings, each addressing a different aspect of cloud infrastructure needs.

Here is the list of the top AWS IaaS services:

Amazon EC2: Elastic Compute Cloud

Amazon EC2 provides scalable computing capacity in the AWS cloud. It allows businesses to run and manage server instances as needed without the upfront investment in hardware. EC2 offers various instance types for different workloads and use cases, providing flexibility in terms of processing power, memory, and storage.

Amazon S3: Simple Storage Service

Amazon S3 is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. This service allows you to store and protect any amount of data for a range of use cases, such as websites, mobile applications, backup and restore, archive, enterprise applications, IoT devices, and big data analytics.

Amazon EBS: Elastic Block Store

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) provides block-level storage volumes for use with EC2 instances. EBS volumes offer highly available and reliable storage volumes that can be attached to any running instance and are used to store critical data that needs to persist beyond the life of the instance.

Amazon Route 53

Amazon Route 53 is a highly available and scalable cloud Domain Name System (DNS) web service. It is designed to give developers and businesses an extremely reliable and cost-effective way to route end users to Internet applications by translating names like www.example.com into the numeric IP addresses like that computers use to connect to each other.

Amazon VPC: Virtual Private Cloud

Amazon VPC lets you provision a logically isolated section of the AWS cloud where you can launch AWS resources in a virtual network that you define. This service provides advanced security features, allowing you to create public-facing subnet for your webservers and keep your backend systems, such as databases or application servers, in a private-facing subnet.

Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)

Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple targets, such as Amazon EC2 instances, containers, IP addresses, and Lambda functions. It ensures fault tolerance in your applications and provides the required load balancing capacity to route user traffic.

AWS Direct Connect

AWS Direct Connect is a cloud service solution that makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection from your premises to AWS. This service can reduce network costs, increase bandwidth throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience than internet-based connections.

Amazon Lightsail

Amazon Lightsail is a simplified cloud platform offering virtual private servers, storage, databases, and networking capabilities. Ideal for smaller businesses or individual developers, Lightsail provides a more straightforward interface for deploying and managing applications, websites, and other cloud services with predictably priced packages. Compared to EC2, which is more complex and offers a broader range of customization and scalability options, Amazon Lightsail simplifies the process for users who require less configurability. This makes it an excellent choice for small/hobby projects and websites that do not need the vast array of options and features that Amazon EC2 provides.

AWS IaaS Use Cases

AWS IaaS services cater to a wide range of use cases, enabling businesses to leverage cloud computing for various operational needs. Some key use cases include:

  • Enterprise Applications: AWS IaaS provides a reliable, scalable, and secure environment for hosting enterprise-level applications. It supports numerous enterprise software stacks and offers the flexibility to handle the fluctuating demands of enterprise applications.
  • Big Data Analytics: With its vast computing and storage capabilities, AWS IaaS is ideal for data management solutions, including big data analytics. Services like Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 can process and store large volumes of data, facilitating complex analytical tasks and insights.
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery: AWS IaaS ensures business continuity with robust backup and disaster recovery solutions. The cloud environment allows for regular data backups and quick recovery in case of system failures, minimizing downtime and data loss.
  • Web Hosting: AWS IaaS offers a scalable and cost-effective solution for web hosting. It can accommodate websites and web applications of all sizes, ensuring high availability and performance even during traffic spikes.

Managing AWS IaaS Services

Effective management of AWS IaaS services is crucial for maximizing their benefits. AWS provides various tools and features for efficient management:

  • Tools and Services for Management: AWS offers a range of management tools such as AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), and AWS CloudFormation. These tools aid in monitoring, configuring, and managing AWS resources efficiently.
  • Automation and Optimization: AWS enables automation of several tasks like resource deployment, scaling, and backups. Services like AWS Auto Scaling and AWS Lambda allow for automatic adjustment of resources based on demand, ensuring optimal performance and cost-effectiveness. AWS Trusted Advisor provides recommendations for optimizing AWS infrastructure, enhancing performance, and reducing costs.

AWS IaaS vs AWS PaaS: Which one should I Use?

The choice between IaaS and PaaS on AWS depends on your project’s specific needs:

  • IaaS is preferable if:
    • You need complete control over your infrastructure.
    • You have specific requirements for the environment or configuration.
    • Your project demands extensive customization.
  • PaaS is ideal if:
    • You want to focus primarily on application development without the hassle of managing the underlying infrastructure.
    • Your project requires rapid development and deployment.
    • You do not have the resources or expertise to manage infrastructure.

AWS IaaS offers more control and flexibility at the expense of greater management responsibility, while AWS PaaS services provides ease of use and efficiency, ideal for developers who want to focus on code rather than infrastructure. The choice depends on the balance you wish to strike between control and convenience.


AWS has not only redefined how businesses approach their computing needs but also offers unparalleled flexibility, scalability, and efficiency.

AWS IaaS services, with their extensive control and customization options, are ideal for businesses that require detailed control over their infrastructure. They cater to a variety of use cases, from enterprise applications and big data analytics to backup, disaster recovery, and web hosting, ensuring that businesses of all sizes and sectors can leverage the power of the cloud.

AWS’s suite of IaaS and PaaS services offers a comprehensive range of solutions tailored to meet the diverse needs of modern businesses. By understanding the nuances of each service model, organizations can make strategic decisions that align with their goals, ensuring they harness the full potential of cloud computing.