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XaaS: Why ‘Everything’ Is Now A Service

Jun 24, 2020 | Digitalization Trends, Industry Trends

The three traditional pillars of cloud computing — SaaS, PaaS and IaaS  — now support such a range of services that IT, and business, is  entering the ‘Everything as a Service’ or XaaS era.

As soon as internet connectivity became widely available at  reasonable speed, and offered low enough latency, service providers of  various kinds began offering scalable, on-demand products that were  delivered over those connections.

There are now thousands of SaaS applications, available from  internet giants to startups, along with services from rather fewer  providers of the other two key pillars of cloud computing:  platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).  Here’s how analyst firm Gartner characterises these foundational cloud services in comparison to more traditional methods of IT delivery:

With SaaS, service consumers control their data, but everything else in  the IT stack is managed by the service provider. With PaaS, the  application layer comes into play, while IaaS consumers control  everything from the OS layer upwards.

The contrast with traditional on-premises (or private cloud) IT is very  clear: the capital costs associated with equipping and maintaining data  centres full of physical and virtual servers, networking and storage are  someone else’s problem — and large service providers such as Amazon,  Microsoft and Google can solve that problem far easier than the average  business can. As a customer, you just pay for what you use.

The fundamental benefits of the ‘as a service’ model are  well known, and include: a shift from capital to operational expenditure  (capex to opex), often leading to lower TCO (total cost of ownership);  access for businesses of all sizes to up-to-date technology, maintained  by service providers that can leverage economies of scale; scalability  according to business requirements; fast implementation times for new  applications and business processes; freeing up staff and resources for  other projects and priorities.

Of course there are  potential downsides to ‘as-a-service’ adoption, which include: service  outages; security, governance and compliance issues; inadequate  performance; hidden costs (including the cost of integrating and  managing multiple cloud services, and of handling potentially large  amounts of data); service provider lock-in; and customer support issues.

Most of these potential problems can be minimised with  good planning and a tightly-defined SLA (Service Level Agreement), but  businesses will need to remain vigilant in order to minimise them — and  also realise that public cloud deployment will not be the answer for  every IT workload or business process.

Outlook

Increasingly, ‘everything’ in the IT  sphere can be delivered as a service via the internet. There will always  be pros and cons of outsourcing versus in-house deployment, but given  service provider openness and buyer due diligence, organizations should  be able to allocate their workloads and business processes across these  locations in something approaching an optimal manner.

However, as XaaS uptake rises and the IoT (in particular) makes its  presence felt, issues like internet bandwidth and latency, and data  storage/retrieval times, are likely to become ever more pressing —  along with the need to integrate, manage and secure multiple cloud  services.

 

 

 

Original Article by ZDNet / Charles McLellan/2017

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