News & Analysis

Everthing as a Service – Does it Really Work?

There's a lot of hype around shifting the entire IT infrastructure on to the cloud but things need to shape up quite a bit before XaaS really works

From software to infrastructure and platforms, everything is now available as a service, which is why the latest buzzword XaaS or Everthing as a Service appears plausible. In other words, it means delivering all of IT’s computing services over the internet where users only pay as much as they use. 

For years now, we have been speaking about cloud-based services and how they’ve helped businesses get a better bang for their buck for using such services by not paying for the entire package but only for specific needs and usage patterns. Now, with XaaS, the story appears to be getting into murky weather for a host of reasons. 

If it had its way, XaaS would completely obliterate what once used to be IT infrastructure or an important part of the IT architecture. It would end up being just a tad beyond an IT charge-back algorithm, which sounds downright weird. 

Not that the weirdness is anything new in this domain as we grappled with SaaS when software was rolled out as a service, followed by IaaS when infrastructure followed suit and then PaaS happened with platforms available on a pay-per-use model. Users will tell us that SaaS was not software but applications that were used by folks and so was PaaS a mix of software. 


What exactly is XaaS though? 

There could be several examples of XaaS though the most common ones that get bandied about involve three cloud computing models, viz., SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. While SaaS provides a range of applications such as Google Apps, Office 365 and Salesforce, PaaS gives us AWS, Elastic Beanstalk, Google App Engine etc. IaaS solutions include Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine and AWS Elastic Compute Cloud. 

Of course, that’s not all as XaaS also includes storage as a service (SaaS) that provides application, data and backup storage systems, and database as a service (DBaaS) which gives users a DB platform over the cloud. Then there’s malware as a service (MaaS) that helps guard against common attacks, disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), communications as a service (CaaS) and network as a service (NaaS). 


How would it hold up in the future? 

Enterprises chooze XaaS because of the cost benefits and the simplification of their IT deployments. As they keep adding to cloud services, companies can shed parts of their in-house IT infrastructure, reducing expenses on servers, hard drives, network switches and software deployments among other things. 

This reduces physical overheads such as space for the equipment, additional power costs as well as cooling expenses. In addition, there is a substantial reduction in the IT staffing, or alternatively provides them an option of working on more mission critical issues. Also, in the balance sheets, a shift to external services moves the expenses from Capex to Opex. 

However, one must warn that things aren’t all rosy yet. There are issues of resilience and internet reliability. Enterprises also seek more visibility into their service provider’s environs in order to be able to understand their general health. Moreover, if a service provider goes broke or gets acquired or discontinues a specific service, it could impact XaaS users. 

Having said so, the combination of cloud computing and growing bandwidth capabilities does provide a fertile ground for XaaS providers. Of course, there are always issues around security, compliance and business governance when enterprises approach such service providers, but with each passing day they appear to be confident of handling such objections. 



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