The Lesson Behind Proliferating XaaS

You probably know the three XaaS (X-as-a-service) monikers most commonly associated with cloud:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) includes offerings like the application menu exposed by, Zoho, Google Apps, and so forth. Sign up and start using software with no install or maintenance.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is all about renting virtual or physical hardware. Big names in this space include Amazon’s EC2, Rackspace, Terremark, Joyent, and the like.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) enables companies to deploy custom apps in seconds to pre-built, subscription-based middleware on which they depend (Ruby on Rails or node.js stacks, for example).


If you follow cloud closely, you may have noticed other X-as-a-service terms cropping up as well: Security as a Service, Networking as a Service (aka Software-Defined Networking, or SDN), Storage as a Service (aka Software-Defined Storage, or SDS), Business Process as a Service (BPaaS)… Each of these is a facet of a growing trend: Business is looking for ways to harness world-class technology without dramatically complicating their IT landscape.

Today I ran across another term that piqued my interest: “Cloud Management as a Service.” Think about this for a minute. What technologies are managed by a vendor who offers CMaaS? The answer is… wait for it… all of the other XaaS services! So we have a service managing a bunch of services that are supposed to make IT’s life easier. Doesn’t that feel a bit ironic?

I don’t see this term as an indictment of the vendor who touts it. Rather, I see it as an indictment of the turbulent, bewildering, and poorly managed world of cloud offerings that are today’s state-of-the-art. As I have repeatedly said on this blog:


Comment and Share: X-as-a-service offerings help to navigate the ever-changing world of cloud computing. What future service would help improve your cloud environment?


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