It all started with Software as a Service (SaaS), a distribution model wherein third-party providers host business application over the Internet. Coupled with increasingly reliable Internet and other advancements in tech, we realized the potential of hosted cloud computing, paving the way for applications like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). But our fascination with “as a service” didn’t stop there; combining the abovementioned models alongside other variations, we came up with XaaS, X referring to “everything” or “anything” as a service. Service providers offering standalone SaaS, IaaS, or PaaS began exploring the possibility of providing all three along with other utility-based services.
Simply put, XaaS is now the umbrella term for any tech-based service delivered over the Internet, instead of delivering them onsite. This flexibility gave businesses, big and small, the opportunity to save a lot of money by eliminating maintenance and infrastructure costs of vital business processes. Imagine having access to Software, Infrastructure, and Platform services and paying only a fraction of the cost it usually takes to set them up onsite. You can choose the plan that suits your needs, usually on a per-user, per-month model. You can even scale up or down depending on the performance and growth of your company.
Understanding which XaaS model fits your needs
In a 2014 IBM article, author Taymour El Erian mentioned that we are heading into the X as a service era, with more and more “as a service” models popping out. But what really prompted the creation of these XaaS models is the increasing need for them in the modern business landscape. As Internet became more reliable and as the usage increased, we found ways to use them more efficiently in various business processes. Take a look at the list below to understand each application and to see which XaaS model fits your needs.
Software as a Service – As mentioned earlier, SaaS was responsible for the XaaS revolution. Software here refers to software apps that clients use for their day-to-day operations, and is hosted by a third-party provider. These applications, all delivered through the cloud, can provide vital business process at a fraction of the actual cost of running them onsite. Apps like CRM (customer relationship management), web and mobile messaging (chat and SMS), communication and collaboration, and even document processing, fall under SaaS.
Software as a Service is perfect for startups and SMBs who are looking to streamline operations without really busting their budgets. With SaaS, you get a managed service with standard business apps, short deployment times, and very little cost of development and maintenance.
Platform as a Service – PaaS refers to the computing platform that enables the users to modify or create their own apps. A third-party provider delivers all the hardware and software tools needed for app development over the Internet. PaaS providers hosts the hardware and software on their own infrastructure, so all the users need is a reliable connection, a capable device to access the tools, and the know-how to develop and create their desired application.
Platform as a Service is suitable for mid-sized businesses and even enterprises who are into developing and running their own applications, but lack the platform to do so. Instead of investing more money for the hardware and software, they can just tap a reliable PaaS provider at a fraction of the cost. This removes the need to have expensive hardware (with high specs and the needed processing power) to install said apps.
Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS refers to all the IT infrastructure components, including servers, networking, and storage among others. As a service, these are offered by third-party providers to businesses who want to manage their business’ information technology component but has no room in their budget to start from the ground up. The service provider hosts infrastructure components in its managed facility, and is then accessed and utilized by their clients through the cloud.
Infrastructure as a Service is perfect for mid-sized and even large enterprises who want to take control of their IT, for development and management purposes, without spending too much on capital and maintenance expenses. Remote servers and storage facilities are hard to maintain, and even harder (more expensive) to build, since it requires round the clock security and maintenance. Service providers already have this in place, so there would be no extra cost for the customers just to keep their data and their facilities secure.
Summing it all up, Everything as a Service is truly where IT and cloud computing is heading. From what’s discussed above, XaaS is now evident in every aspect of doing business online. Literally everything can be delivered as a service, including software, development tools, access to servers and storage, and a lot more. It is all up to the business owner to identify which part of his business he’s entrusting to third party providers. The bottom line is, with XaaS, he’ll be able to do more without spending money, time, or effort in building onsite facilities or procuring his own software or non-essential hardware. So, what do you think? Is XaaS for you?
About the author:
Francis has been writing for more than a decade now, focusing on Digital Marketing in the last couple of years. He is currently in charge of writing web-optimized content for RingCentral, an industry-leading cloud phone systems provider. Francis is also a voracious reader, spending most of his free time immersed on fictional worlds. You can reach him through Twitter and LinkedIn.