Making Sense of the Complex “as a Service” Ecosystem

by Jim Berkowitz on April 6, 2010

Here’s a very informative article by Max Coburn and Margaret Dawson of Hubspan which summarizes a presentation that will be given at Cloud Expo later this month, Which “aaS” Is Right for You?. Check out the complete source article for much more, including a brief synopsis of current aaS variants, when you should consider them, and what the future might hold for this technology.

The benefits of doing things “as-a-Service” (aaS) and leveraging cloud-based technologies are well-known and documented, such as a low barrier to entry, reduced capital outlay and infrastructure, easy scalability, and device/location independence. Many companies also appreciate the reliability of service and the ability to leverage specialized domain knowledge expertise from an experienced aaS provider.

However, there is still a great deal of confusion about the many different types of aaS and questions remain over how much companies should rely on the cloud. Specifically, when is the right time to turn to aaS rather than build and manage in-house and what are some of the pitfalls that can be avoided when moving to an aaS-based solution?

Leveraging the cloud and delivered as a service, each type of aaS has the ability to help you do things faster, better, cheaper. The most attractive characteristic of the aaS movement is a flexibility that allows for an incremental or selective approach to deployments. You don’t need to do it all at once, and you can mix and match.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet of three most common aaSes:

1. IaaS – stands for both Integration-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service
2. SaaS – Software-as-a-Service
3. PaaS – Platform-as-a-Service

While each aaS company should do its own research and find solutions and vendors that best meet its specific requirements and budget, there are some universal, key points to keep in mind:

1. Start Small
2. Watch out for aaS pitfalls
3. Beware of hidden costs
4. Look for best practices
5. Choose the right third-party vendor
6. Ensure the highest level of security

The benefits of cloud and “aaS” are real and quantifiable. With the right research, plan and vendor, your company can reduce costs, improve operational efficiencies, become more agile, achieve business and IT alignment, and increase levels of customer and partner satisfaction.


Philipp April 8, 2010 at 9:35 am

It’s funny how hard it seems for most people in the IT industry to get the aaS part. Especially here in Germany I see a lot of people really confused by this whole concept of not owning hardware and software anymore.

Jim Berkowitz April 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Hey Philipp… Interesting to hear that in Germany SaaS etc., hasn’t caught on so much. Here in the States, the market is booming; led by How is Social Networking and SCRM doing in Germany.

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