IoT, cloud, and the logical progression to everything ‘as a service’

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The growth of all things connected and of all things cloud seems unstoppable, and monikers are jumping to the logical end…that the Internet of Things will be the Internet of Everything and that the 'as a service' model will morph into 'everything as a service'.

On-demand products have always had a place in business. For more than forty years, mainframe time has been sold ‘as a service’ where users only pay for what they need when they need it. At a time when businesses are growth hacking their way to larger and larger client bases and new companies are coming online every day, the on-demand model provides the perfect balance of functionality and value.

XaaS is defined – by TechTarget – as “a collective term said to stand for a number of things including “X as a service,” “anything as a service” or “everything as a service.”” XaaS could just as easily refer to CaaS (communication as a service) as it could PaaS (platform as a service). As long as the service is delivered over the internet and not installed locally, it meets the “aaS” requirements.

Service game

The “aaS” list just keeps growing:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): hardware, software, servers, storage and all of the associated maintenance is handled by someone else. Generally, this means that many of the tasks are automated by the provider and that both monitoring and systems management will require more time.
  • Desktop as a service (DaaS): the infrastructure of VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) is hosted in the cloud. It is a lower cost alternative to VDI yet offers many of the same features: data storage, backup, security and upgrades.
  • Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS): While data is sent via the cloud, it does not necessarily remain stored there in DRaaS solutions. The provider may offer cloud-storage or the data may be sent to a server to lie in wait until disaster strikes. Businesses that utilise DaaS often rely upon it to function as a disaster recovery plan instead of enlisting a separate service.

Benefits of ‘as a service’ models

What is it about the “aaS” model that has businesses trading assets for memberships? In a word: flexibility. Businesses are tired of carrying technical debt and instead want their technology choices to remain as agile as the rest of their practices. The lure of a plug-and-play solution is that it eliminates the need for in-house support personnel while ensuring that tools and support are available on a moment’s notice.

Perhaps even more attractive is the flexibility to choose the right solution provider at the right moment. No longer will large monopolies of “compatible” or “preferred partners” rule decision-making. Instead, businesses have the freedom to choose the provider with the best set of features for the best price.

The future…as a service

Technology startups of today will never have known the limitations of release specific software. The frustration of buying a software suite only to have a new release hit the shelves days after a major investment is made. While these businesses are young by today’s standards, according to HfS, “the make-up of the Fortune 500 in five years’ time will be very different from todays.

One of the key reasons for this is the rapid evolution of new business [is that] all their services are in the cloud and their entire infrastructure is delivered to them on a seamless “as-a-Service” model.” HfS founder, Phil Fersht goes on to write that these businesses will see significant cost and speed-to-market advantages thanks to the ‘as a service’ model.

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