Anything as a service bears a striking resemblance to a certain phrase. If it can be automated it should be automated. If it can be used via the cloud it should be. But whether it actually should we’ll discuss in this article.
Cloud computing is the technological practice of using remote cloud resources to perform tasks that usually require on-premises hardware. The on-demand nature of this technology has inspired a multitude of different services. As the hardware behind them only improves (edge servers, for example), the more complex are the tasks that can be performed via the cloud. By getting the computing resources remotely it opens up a wider range of possible operations you can perform. Because of that, cloud computing has offered opportunities for many businesses and individuals when it comes to software development and general daily use. This is what spawned the term XaaS, or anything as a service.
Before delving deeper into XaaS, a brief introduction to other cloud computing models is necessary. Since we already covered them in a separate article we’ll do just a quick rundown. If you want a more in-depth comparison of them with advantages and disadvantages make sure to have a look.
Software as a Service (SaaS) model provides you with pretty much any type of software right in your browser. The most widely recognized examples are Google Apps or Microsoft 365. They offer text editors, email clients, and much more. It’s the most widespread model and you are most likely familiar with it already.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is different. It offers a full toolkit for the development of various applications. With these solutions, you can run, create, and manage apps without having to invest in an often expensive proprietary set of tools.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the most advanced model out of these three. With IaaS you get a full virtual infrastructure with the resources you require. This opens a lot of possibilities for software development, system administration, and testing. It basically provides servers, storage, and networking without any hardware.
And now that we have more or less covered the three core cloud computing models it’s time to do the same for the more niche and less talked about services.
There are two types of ITaaS. The first one is a cloud model that provides an information technology service. The second type doesn’t require cloud computing at all. Let’s look at both of them.
The cloud ITaaS often serves as a sort of an umbrella term. For example, the virtual networking offered by IaaS is a type of information technology. So technically calling it ITaaS won’t be a mistake. However, this cloud solution is much bigger in scale. Many consider the underlying technology of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS as a requirement for the service to be called ITaaS. But that’s where the second approach to this model comes in.
ITaaS without cloud computing is an organizational shift rather than a technological one. This approach has more in common with DevOps or Agile rather than other cloud services. It organizes the IT operations of the company in order to optimize the structure of the business. Such a big disparity between the two interpretations is often confusing. However, it seems like the second one is becoming the dominant take on IT as a service. It’s also often connected to the practice of IT outsourcing.
Its pros and cons can be found in a separate more detailed article.
We have mentioned storage as a part of the infrastructure as a service. STaaS model is a solution that provides you with just this service without other virtual machine capabilities of that model. That allows you to use this service for more general purposes. In that regard, it is closer in scale to SaaS rather than IaaS. In fact, it’s often considered to be a type of software as a service model.
For certain types of software projects, a finely-tuned manually developed backend is absolutely necessary. However, not all applications actually require this degree of complexity. This is where BaaS can help you achieve quick and cheap results that will be equivalent in quality. These solutions offer database management, hosting, cloud storage, user authentication, and other features. That’s why this type of cloud service is especially widespread among frontend and mobile developers. BaaS allows them to focus on the user interface and the client-side logic.
This type of service is often considered to be a type of outsourcing. While this is correct for a lot of solutions of this nature, QAaaS is not limited to it. There are solutions available that can facilitate automatic testing pipeline, such as CI/CD. As the DevOps only grows in popularity, many companies want to use one of it’s most beneficial features.
FaaS often acts as a template that developers can build upon. It bears a lot of similarities with the platform as a service model since the offered functionality is in most cases similar. However, there is a distinction. FaaS solutions don’t require a running server for it to function. It is also a more scalable and affordable alternative to PaaS. Since you pay for execution time, you save on idle time. The payoff for that often comes in the form of latency. One of the most common applications of this technology is the creation of microservices.
In this article, we wanted to stick to our area of expertise. That’s why we focused on cloud services that are connected to software development and information technology. But as you can imagine, the services have already spread outside of our industry. You can easily find solutions providing content, distribution, games, and much more as a service.
That’s the general overview of anything as a service. Due to the all-encompassing nature of the word “anything” that will have to do for now. However, once other XaaS solutions become more widely adopted, Digital Skynet Corp will definitely tell you about them.