Individuals and businesses traditionally think of infrastructure as something that must be installed and maintained at the same site where computer users will be present. This same attitude used to prevail about software; it had to be installed on a user's local machine or on a network server connected to that machine. The advent of cloud computing has largely changed users' perceptions about software; most people now understand that applications such as email and document editing can be installed at very distant locations with users accessing them online using common web browsers such as Internet Explore and Firefox.
At the moment, however, network infrastructure design as a service has yet to enter our common parlance the way cloud computing has. One is actually a natural outgrowth of the other, however. As more and more applications move to the cloud, the infrastructure needs of companies can change in dramatic ways. For example, when most data center operations are taking place in a cloud computing environment, individual businesses have a drastically reduced need for large-scale data storage of their own and can perform the same amount of work with fewer CPU-intensive hardware resources onsite.
Chris Rogers, an expert in the managed services industry, sees infrastructure as a service as the wave of the future. "Customers increasingly demand IaaS offerings that can support business-critical workloads in the cloud and leverage their existing IT investments," he remarked recently, adding that these kinds of IT services can deliver "interoperability, high quality, flexibility and affordability."