Explained: as-a-Service

Written by:
Leah Johnston
Date Posted:
31 July 2020

Do you know your IaaS from your PaaS?

Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed the (rather abrupt) death of CDs and DVDs. Why? The answer is simple. Subscription services such as Spotify and Netflix have made their role in the entertainment business redundant.

In fact, nowadays, consuming software by subscribing to a service is becoming far more common than actually buying a product outright. From Dropbox to Mailchimp, or Photoshop to Hubspot, service-based subscriptions have become an integrated part of our daily lives.

XaaS
When you rely on this type of software delivery model, you are using ‘XaaS’ (Anything-as-a-Service), a collective term for cloud-based subscription services. 

XaaS is delivered over a network, rather than on-site, and therefore requires participation from a third-party provider, which could range from simply providing the infrastructure to producing and delivering a ready-to-go application.  

With XaaS, it is a bit like renting the functionality of the technology, rather than actually buying the solution. This way, you only pay for what you use, but you never own the product yourself. 

The most common of the ‘as-a-Service’ models are SaaS, IaaS and PaaS. So, what do these acronyms really mean?

SaaS
Software-as-a-service is the most common type of XaaS. It refers to the delivery of ready-made applications, such as Salesforce or Disney +, to users who pay a recurring usage fee.

Typically, the fee will cover updates and upgrades to the application as well as your usage, which is not always the case when you buy a solution outright. Compared to other as-a-Service products, SaaS places the most responsibility on the provider, including the maintenance, management and development of the program itself.

PaaS
Platform-as-a-Service provides the tools and framework that you need to develop, manage and run unique, customisable software. Typically, PaaS provides pre-configured virtual machines (VMs), alongside other resources and is accessed via a web browser. 

PaaS is popular with developers, as it saves them from sourcing individual software tools to create their own solutions. It can even reduce the amount of code they need to write, which makes the development and deployment of apps much more cost-effective. 

IaaS
Infrastructure-as-a-Service is where the provider hosts the infrastructure – including servers, virtualisation, and storage – that you need to use and store your data. By deploying and configuring VMs in a third-party data centre, you can ensure your data is secure and manage your systems remotely.

With IaaS, the user has a lot more freedom than PaaS and SaaS – but also a lot more responsibility. As a self-service model, the maintenance and management of software and applications ultimately lie with you, so you need to have experts in-house, or a managed service provider to run it for you.

IaaS is a flexible, cost-effective and scalable solution compared to hosting your infrastructure in-house. For businesses such as ticket vendors, IaaS is the perfect solution for planned, periodic spikes in traffic as you only pay for the extra resources as you use them, rather than large bills all year round.

The future of XaaS
Whilst IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are the three key players in the cloud services environment, nowadays, almost anything can be consumed as-a-service. DaaS (Desktop-as-a-Service), DRaaS (Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service) and BaaS (Backup-as-a-Service) are amongst many other up and coming cloud-based services.

Each of these cloud computing models gives users flexibility and options that on-premise hosting simply cannot provide – and whilst some businesses have been nervous to adopt XaaS because of security or compliance concerns, the combination of global internet access, high-bandwidth and the rapid adoption of cloud computing provides a rich environment for accelerated XaaS growth.

Do you require a cloud solution as-a-service? Get in touch with our friendly sales team on 0800 612 2524 or email sales@hyve.com for more information.

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