In the constantly evolving digital marketplace, new innovations are often imagined and brought to life. One of the most significant advances in recent years is the advent of cloud computing, which has made way for the XaaS (Anything as a Service) model.
What is XaaS?
XaaS is an umbrella term that refers to the delivery of anything tech related “as a service”.
It is an extremely wide-ranging tech term that refers to any tools, applications, services or games that are delivered via the cloud.
Before the XaaS model was envisaged, all video games, IT tools and software applications, such as Microsoft 365, had to be bought in physical form and installed on to a computer hard drive.
These days, almost all IT and software applications can be purchased from a cloud platform provider thanks to the XaaS model. In fact, most major tech companies, such as Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Oracle and Google offer some form of XaaS offering.
The 3 Pillars of XaaS
The 3 most common examples of XaaS, also known as “the 3 pillars” of XaaS”, are: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
With SaaS a provider hosts applications and software in the cloud and provides them to users over the internet on a subscription basis.
- Example: Adobe use the SaaS model to provide users with their software applications. Users can subscribe to one specific application, such as Adobe Photoshop, or they can choose to subscribe to a bundle of applications which can offer better value for money.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
With PaaS a service provider delivers a platform to clients where they can run, host, manage or develop software applications without having to maintain their own on-premises infrastructure.
- Example: Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk is an easy-to-use PaaS service that allows users to deploy and scale web applications and services developed with Java, .NET, PHP and other programming languages.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
Using the IaaS model, cloud providers allow customers to access and use IT infrastructure services, such as storage, server and networking resources, over the internet on a subscription basis. By subscribing to an IaaS offering, customers don’t have to invest in costly hardware solutions that require expensive upkeep.
- Example: Microsoft Azure provides customers with a comprehensive cloud infrastructure that delivers flexibility, increases scalability and optimises IT costs. An entire infrastructure solution can be configured using Azure IaaS.
There are also many other examples of XaaS, including:
- AaaS (Authentication as a Service) – A cloud service that oversees identity and access management.
- CaaS (Containers as a Service) – A cloud service that helps users manage and deploy virtualised apps using container-based abstraction.
- DaaS (Desktop as a Service) – A cloud computing offering that delivers virtual desktops to end users over the internet on a subscription basis.
- DBaaS (Database as a Service) – DBaaS offerings provide access to database platforms through the cloud without customers having to purchase or set up their own hardware.
- DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) – DRaaS offerings allow businesses to back up their data and IT infrastructure in a third-party cloud computing environment, allowing them to regain access and functionality after a disaster.
- FaaS (Function as a Service) – A cloud computing service that allows users to execute code in response to events without the complex infrastructure typically associated with building and launching applications.
- NaaS (Network as a Service) – NaaS offerings allow customers to operate their own networks without maintaining their own networking infrastructure.
- STaaS (Storage as a Service) – A managed service that provides customers with application, data and backup storage systems via the cloud.
- UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) – Cloud hosted software that offers a variety of business communication and collaboration applications and services.
These are all legitimate services offered by cloud providers, however cybercriminals have also developed their own version of the XaaS model – Malware as a Service.
- MaaS (Malware as a Service) – A form of organised cybercrime where end-users subscribe to a cloud-based service that provides them with malware to mount cyber-attacks.
What are the benefits of XaaS?
The primary benefit of using XaaS based offerings is a financial one, as there is a reduction in the need for businesses to outlay money on expensive hardware. Instead, focus shifts to subscription fees and operational expenditure, which are paid on a month-by-month basis. This is often a particular benefit for SMEs that don’t have the money to pay huge lump sums upfront for IT services and infrastructure.
Other benefits of XaaS include:
- Improved productivity
- Less physical overheads
- Higher levels of cybersecurity
- Increased scalability
- Advanced technical support
- Improved business agility
- Highly convenient
- Additional backup and protection
Disadvantages of XaaS
As with any process or system, there are some potential disadvantages to XaaS – although these are minimal. Possible disadvantages include:
- Service downtime
- Lack of integration between services
- Issues troubleshooting problems
- Hidden fees
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