• Madi Cordle

as-a-Service: Everything You Need to Know

Over the last several years, the “Anything as a Service” (XaaS) model has taken the technology industry by storm. XaaS refers to products, tools, and technologies that are delivered to end users as a service via the internet. Prior to the as-a-service model of cloud computing, businesses had to purchase software, hardware, servers, security, and infrastructure individually, install them all, and link them to create networks. XaaS simplifies the process for companies, as they only have to buy and pay for what they need and can easily scale up or down. Businesses are also able to easily adapt to new technologies or changing markets due to the flexibility of XaaS. These services are paid for in a subscription method, meaning that companies have a predictable monthly cost instead of having to pay for upfront costs or licenses. Former capital expenses can become operating expenses, which is a huge advantage of XaaS.


With so many XaaS services on the scene, it can be overwhelming to know and understand the differences in offerings. This list compiles popular XaaS services, and the advantages they can provide your organization.

1. SaaS - Software as a Service


SaaS is a method of software delivery that allows data to be accessed from any device with an internet connection and web browser. Prior to SaaS, software was provided in the form of installation files that would need loaded onto hardware by an administrator or end user. With SaaS, administrators have no connection to the hardware because SaaS is provided on a hosted platform. Administrators also don’t have to worry about software updates as that is taken care of by the software provider.


Examples: Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, AWS, Concur, DocuSign, Dropbox, Slack, HubSpot


2. PaaS - Platform as a Service


PaaS is a cloud computing offering that is used to build, deploy, and maintain applications. Rather than building and maintaining the infrastructure that software development processes require, companies can use the PaaS service provider’s platform to develop, run, and manage business applications. Development kits, programming environments, and prebuilt application components are delivered by the PaaS cloud provider.


Examples: SAP Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Heroku, AWS Lambda, Dokku, Salesforce Lighting, Red Hat OpenShift, Oracle Cloud Platform


3. IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service


IaaS is a form of cloud computing that delivers fundamental compute, network, and storage resources to consumers on an on-demand basis. It reduces the maintenance and cost of physical servers and data center infrastructures. In an IaaS model, the service provider manages the infrastructure while the company purchases, installs, configures, and manages their own software. IaaS also allows companies to save money on hardware expenses and gain business insights.


Examples: Amazon EC2, Compute Engine, Linode, Digital Ocean, Azure Virtual Machines, Virtual Machine Manager, Hostwinds


4. DaaS - Desktop as a Service


DaaS delivers virtual applications and desktop services through a public or private cloud service. The cloud service provider hosts the infrastructure, network resources, and storage in the cloud and streams a virtual desktop to the end user’s device. The virtual desktops can be accessed through an html web browser or a secure application to a device such as a laptop, desktop, tablet, or thin client.


Examples: Amazon Workspaces, VMware Horizon Cloud, Windows Virtual Desktop, Citrix Managed Desktops, Evolve IP


5. WaaS - Workspace as a Service


WaaS is offered by a third party provider and relieves organizations from having to deploy digital workspaces on office premises. It also minimizes capital and operational costs. WaaS provides the complete package in a cloud environment, taking care of desktop deployment, implementation, data security, application delivery, and software updates.


Examples: Amazon Workspaces, VMware Workspace ONE, Citrix Workspace, Unisys Digital Workspace Services using Microsoft Services


6. NaaS - Network as a Service


NaaS is a model where customers can rent networking services from a cloud provider, allowing them to operate their own networks without maintaining the necessary infrastructure. NaaS can replace on-prem networking hardware as well as VPNs and MPLS connections, and other legacy network configurations.


Examples: Amazon, Rackspace, ATT, Level 3 Communications, Telefonica, Verizon


7. DBaaS - Database as a Service


DBaaS is a cloud computing service that lets users access and use a cloud database system without purchasing and setting up their own hardware, installing their own database software, or managing the database themselves. Because DBaaS is easy to scale up or down, customers can add additional storage and computing capacity as needed, or scale down during non-peak times to cut down expenses.


Examples: IBM Db2, Oracle Database, Amazon RDS, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Aurora, SAP HANA


8. STaaS - Storage as a Service


STaaS is a managed service where the provider supplies the customer with access to a data storage platform. STaaS can be delivered from the public cloud as a shared service that is paid for through a subscription. Typical STaaS offerings include bare-metal storage capacity, raw storage volumes, network file systems, storage objects, and storage applications that support file sharing and backup lifecycle management.


Examples: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Box, Arcserve


The goal of the XaaS model is to provide value, simplicity, and customization. These as-a-Service offerings offer numerous benefits to both the company and the end-user, created to meet their specific needs in a pay-as-you-go method that works for them.


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