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#99-A Comprehensive List of Important As-A-Service Terms

In the last few years, world-renowned game studio Epic Games has shifted its focus from a product-based model to a service-based model. In a recent interview to GamesIndustry.biz, Donald Mustard, creative director of the studio explained how the studio decided to shift to a "games-as-a-service" model. Microsoft's software-as-a-service offerings such as Office 365 have been well accepted by the world. Office 365 solutions let a person be in office without being in office. Georgia State University saved $1 M in operating costs by switching to Office 365. British Airways is using Office 365 to improve customer experience. Carlsberg is using the solution to improve collaboration among its employees. IBM Cloud's Bluemix is a platform-as-a-service offering which has attracted a significant amount of global attention. It's a cloud platform which can be used to solve complex business problems in an elegant manner. It supports the creation of new apps and the migration of existing apps. It seems to be an industry-wide trend to shift from a product-based model to a service-based model. A massive worldwide growth of cloud services is one of the principal driving factors behind this trend. This phenomenon has given birth to a bagful of as-a-service terms in the industry. These terms are sometimes collectively called anything-as-a-service or XaaS. It's time to understand the important as-a-service terms in depth.

Among the as-a-service terms, the most popular one is probably software-as-a-service or SaaS. Search Cloud Computing defines software-as-a-service as, "a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet." The model offers a lot of flexibility in installation, execution, and maintenance of software solutions. The end user needs only one thing, an internet connection, in order to avail the benefits of software-as-a-service offerings. Some prominent examples of software-as-a-service solutions are mail.google.com, flipkart.com etc. IDC, world's leading market intelligence firm predicts that software-as-a-service enterprise applications will be a market worth $50.8 B in the next year.

A platform-as-a-service or PaaS solution offers a platform for in-cloud app development. The target users of these solutions are app developers. A platform-as-a-service solution generally uses pay-per-use subscription model. Intelligent customizations, automatic upgrades, and advanced security arrangements are some of the key features of platform-as-a-service solutions. Microsoft Azure, Cloud Bees, & Google App Engine are a few notable examples of platform-as-a-service solutions. PaaS improves the operational efficiency of enterprises reducing costs at multiple levels. PaaS Finder reports, among the PaaS vendors, Java is the most supported runtime language (67%) and Mysql is the most supported native service (48%), ignoring others in the case of services support. The platform-as-a-service market is expected grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36% in the coming years.

The third term on our list is infrastructure-as-a-service or IaaS. It operates at the third and lowest level in the basic cloud stack pyramid. Microsoft defines IaaS as an "instant computing infrastructure" that abstracts out the tedious tasks of managing physical servers and other associated infrastructure such as, networking firewalls, security, and data center building. It facilitates fast deployment and dismantlement of test and development environments, high-performance computing, and big data analysis at a low cost. The customer manages the infrastructure from a web-based graphical user interface with some service providers optionally allowing API access. Amazon EC2, Rackspace, Bluelock etc. are providers of infrastructure-as-a-service. The IaaS market will be worth approximately $56.05 B in three years.

We have discussed three most important as-a-service terms but the list does not end here. Due to ever-expanding scope of cloud tech and creative mindset of people in information technology sector, new terms are surfacing almost on a weekly basis. AI-as-a-service or AIaaS makes artificial intelligence available to the end users over the internet as a service. In some cases, these are being categorized as a special class of platform-as-a-service. Salesforce has already made moves in this direction with Einstein, which has been built to deliver advanced artificial intelligence services to sales, marketing, and other areas of a business in addition to acting as a platform for building "AI-powered" apps. Chatbots are another prominent example of AI-as-a-service. Chatbots.io is an AIaaS which offers a REST API for integration of AI-powered chatbots in apps. Big players such as Amazon, Google, & IBM are already offering AIaaS. For instance, IBM Watson provides AI-powered app development services. Element AI is an eminent corporation which specializes in AIaaS. The AI market will be worth around $47 B in three years.

A backend-as-a-service or BaaS solution enables app developers to easily integrate backend elements in their apps. The mobile cousin of the term is mobile-backend-as-a-service or MBaaS. Kinvey is a MBaaS solution. While developing an app with Kinvey as the MBaaS, the developers can practically forget about all backend aspects and focus on user experience. Kinvey holds a patent for backend-as-a-service. BaaS has revolutionized the way apps interact with the backend. Apps depend on the backend for a broad range of services such as, push notifications, file sharing, ratings and reviews management etc. BaaS accounts for an important segment of the cloud services industry. BaaS solutions are generally offered through APIs and integrated through SDKs; one such SDK is Appcelerator's Titanium SDK. Appcelerator has named its BaaS, Appcelerator Cloud Services (ACS). BaaS market at present is crowded. Conventional BaaS solutions target multiple platforms instead of one. BaaS providers can be classified into two categories, consumer BaaS & enterprise BaaS. The BaaS market is going to be worth $28.10 B in three years. The worldwide BaaS market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 102%.

CaaS or car-as-a-service is becoming a reality due to advances in self-driving technologies. CaaS will definitely bring some comfort to urban life. People will love the concept of summoning driverless cars through a smartphone app. The most interesting point is, a person using CaaS will not require a driving license. In this space, Google is in lead due to its vast tech repertoire which others can only dream of. Uber & Tesla are not far behind. Due to increased environmental concerns, CaaS will lean a lot on electric vehicles. Other as-a-service fields closely associated with car-as-a-service are, vehicle-as-a-service or VaaS, automobile-as-a-service or AaaS, & transportation-as-a-service or TaaS. The rise of CaaS will disrupt the auto industry at multiple levels. The revenue model will change, from "outright purchase" to a subscription-based model. This approach will enable auto manufacturers to grow their customer base. CaaS will usher in an era of more personal in-car experience. HERE conducted a study to dive into consumer sentiments around autonomous vehicles. 64% of the respondents stated that "they would use CaaS". CaaS is going to cover a major part of an urbanite's so-called transportation portfolio. The global connected car market will be worth around $150 B in three years.

A data-as-a-service or DaaS solution enables a corporation to understand its user base in great detail which in turn ensures transparent business decisions. Oracle Data Cloud is a data-as-a-service solution. It collates data from a variety of segments to uncover audience characteristics. It enables a corporation "deliver the right message, to the right customer - at the right time." ARI's DataStream is another interesting DaaS which was selected by Fidelitone, a supply chain and logistics management firm for provisioning of electronic parts catalog data. Hoover's, world's leading business research company, provides data on companies and industries. The total data market will get bigger and bigger and total revenue will reach $132 B in about three years. The global big-data-as-a-service (BDaaS) market, an important segment of the data-as-a-service market will be worth $7 B by that time.

There is a little bit of confusion in the industry regarding the relation between security-as-a-service and data-protection-as-a-service or DPaaS. Some consider it a sub-category under security-as-a-service, some consider it a separate category. MSP Mentor states, "cloud-based backup, disaster recovery (DR) and storage fall under the banner of data protection-as-a-service." Issues such as, business continuity (BC) & high availability (HA) fall within the purview of DPaaS too. DPaaS actually falls at the intersection of backup-as-a-service, disaster-recovery-as-a-service, storage-as-a-service, and security-as-a-service. DPaaS solutions protect data over a broad range of platforms. DPaaS is the number one factor that ensures business resilience. EMC is a leading DPaaS solution provider. DSM's DPaaS solution comes with robust encryption. DPaaS solution evaluation should be done with due diligence. Starting with the 5W+1H table of Mesabi Group is recommended. TrilioVault DPaaS+BaaS solution is for OpenStack. The solution is highly scalable, fault-tolerant, and provides "seamless self-service." The DPaaS market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 30.1%.

A desktop-as-a-service or DaaS solution provides access to virtual desktop whose backend is in the cloud. In DaaS, the responsibilities of the provider include storage, maintenance, disaster recovery, and security. DaaS employs multitenancy i.e. secure and cost-efficient sharing of IT resources. Using a desktop-as-a-service solution means, if the device from which the service is accessed is lost, the end user has nothing to worry about. They can access the service from another device. In addition to being device independent, these are network and location independent too. DaaS service providers generally use a monthly subscription model for charging users. These solutions are the best especially for startups which often operate on a limited budget. Three leading DaaS providers in the industry are VMware Horizon Air, Amazon WorkSpaces, & Citrix XenDesktop. The market for desktop-as-a-service solutions is huge. DaaS is a favorite of corporations which use Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach. One of the most important reasons DaaS is becoming more and more popular is high scalability and adaptability. The desktop virtualization market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 54.59% in the next five years, according to Mordor Intelligence.

The next term on our list is energy-storage-as-a-service or ESaaS. Despite being popular in expert circles, research reveals it came into existence, not due to technological reasons but for corporate interests. Constant Power is a provider of ESaaS solutions. The corporation's ESaaS solutions reduce power consumption costs. A Constant Power ESaaS solution comprises an advanced battery storage, energy management system, and service contract. The corporation offers the solution for an affordable and fixed monthly fee and no advance payment is required. The solution is a set-it-and-forget-it one as Constant Power does all the heavy lifting. It can be debated whether energy storage is a product or a service. The recent advancements in energy storage technologies are driving the steady growth of the ESaaS sector. Energy storage market is going to be worth $250 B in 20-22 years.

The term function-as-a-service or FaaS is another class of cloud computing services which differs with PaaS in the degree of visibility of scalability problem to the developer. It uses an event-driven model. FaaS is considered synonymous with serverless computing, which some call a misnomer. FaaS is more cost-efficient than PaaS and that is its most important advantage. FaaS suffers from one pivotal disadvantage, latency which is the result of noncontinuous code execution. In FaaS, functions offered as services "cover databases, messaging, authentication, etc." Notable FaaS solutions are Amazon AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, & Microsoft Azure FunctionsIronFunctions is an open-source FaaS solution. Frameworks such as serverless, apex etc., aimed at reducing the development overhead while working with FaaS have surfaced. The FaaS market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 32.7%.

ITaaS or IT-as-a-service is a managed service delivery mechanism used to provide information technology to fulfill the needs of a business. The ITaaS provider may be a separate entity or an in-house entity. A broad gamut of services fall under information technology and so each offering is meticulously cataloged along with a clear pricing structure. By definition, ITaaS is an operating model which may or may not involve cloud services but since the predominance of cloud services have increased significantly in the last few years, it's highly likely for an ITaaS solution to include cloud services at present. McKinsey & Company forecasts, "In the next three years, enterprises will make a fundamental shift from building IT to consuming IT." EMC has outlined ten steps an enterprise needs to take to make a shift to ITaaS. The journey starts with the definition of a vision, goals, and objectives; goes through the development of a services framework; and ends with "design change management plan". ITaaS means more innovation and less headache, not to mention greater agility and reduced risks and costs. IBM offers a host of ITaaS solutions in cloud, mobility, networking, resiliency, and tech support. ITaaS should not be confused with iTaaS or Infrastructure Transformation as a Service, a service delivery platform from Happiest Minds or itaas, a Cognizant company that provides interactive television solutions. The worldwide IT-as-a-service market is expected grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31.0%.

In today's connected world, logs are more important than ever. You need logs for fast troubleshooting. You need logs for investigating security incidents. You need logs for business intelligence. In the words of Security Metrics, log monitoring systems are the "electronic" sentries.  Logs are indispensable in disaster recovery too. Corporations need to do regular self-assessments to ensure the logging policies in force are sufficient. Due to increased importance of logs, some corporations are turning to logging-as-a-service or LaaS solutions. Using a LaaS solution from a provider means an enterprise can focus more on core operations instead of logging and associated operations. Sematext Logsense is a notable LaaS solution which offers log management and analytics. On Logsense, logs can be stored in the cloud or on premises. It has support for Elasticsearch, "a distributed, RESTful search and analytics engine" for distributed and multi-tenant environments. Logsense has role-based access control support. 20+ LaaS solutions are available at the moment and the number is expected to grow in future. The threat intelligence security market, a market that encompasses log management market, is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.3%. LaaS also stands for lighting-as-a-service, the big-scale offering of energy-efficient lighting that is environment-friendly. "The development of smart cities in the Asia Pacific regions" is going to drive the growth of the lighting-as-a-service market in the area. That is not all. LaaS stands for another as-a-service term, licensing-as-a-service. The benefits of a well-structured cloud-based licensing mechanism extend beyond intellectual property protection. It ensures flexibility, revenue optimization, and simplifies the complexity of licensing. The way licensing-as-a-service works is, when a cloud-based app is exposed to an enterprise user, a licensing client sits between the app and the licensing server. One licensing client remains on the side of software producer. Flexera Software offers a licensing-as-a-service solution available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. The solution offers smooth integration of software monetization components inside Azure Marketplace. It has support for the entire spectrum of software licensing solutions. The solution is part of FlexNet Producer Suite. The global software license management market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9%.

NaaS or network-as-a-service includes virtual private network, advanced security services, bandwidth on demand, & mobile network virtualization in its scope, among others. In NaaS, the network "resides in the cloud" instead of being physically present on-premises. NaaS is for customers who need network services but do not have the capacity to build the network infrastructure. More often than not, virtualization is at the core of a NaaS solution. Aryaka is a leading global NaaS provider with 550+ international enterprise customers spread in 60+ countries. Aryaka's high-performance WAN solution (SD-WAN) is "as simple to deploy and use as the Internet." Cloudnexa is an AWS-focused NaaS provider. Masergy, another NaaS provider offers network-as-a-service solutions as a part of its software defined platform and it comes with customizable deployment models. NaaS uses pay-as-you-go model. Most NaaS providers offer a trial plan. NaaS means no on-premise set-up cost, no maintenance cost, no power cost, no cooling cost, and no troubleshooting cost. The international network-as-a-service is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 35%.

PaaS or payments-as-a-service is a software-as-a-service at its core. In the early 90's, the rapid spread of internet forced enterprises to start looking for a way for people to make and receive payments over the internet in a convenient manner. Some early failures followed. After the launch of PayPal, it soon became the most preferred e-wallet of the people in the US. The success of PayPal ushered in a new era of international trade. Now, PayPal is accepted in over 200 countries and regions worldwide. Enterprises turn to PaaS to get relief from ever-increasing complexities of payment processing systems. The four pillars of payments-as-a-service are, value, technology, community, and support. PaaS applies the principles of SaaS to payment processing. In addition to providing the core service, leading PaaS providers such as Verifone offer a bundle of value-added services including rich interactions. Verifone processes over 5 B transactions every year and is present in more than 150 countries around the globe. Online fundraising platforms such as, Click & Pledge use PaaS to deliver value to its customers. The solution offered by C&P is comprehensive, affordable, and secure. C&P serves more than 20,000 non-profits and organizations worldwide. Global payment gateways market is going to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.79% and that paints a pretty good picture for the future of the payments-as-a-service market.

Disasters are common in all industries and IT industry is not an exception. 40% enterprises "never reopen after a disaster [...]." What's more shocking is, a disaster often leads to bankruptcy. Some of the businesses that remain operational are forced to swallow anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars in losses (Centre Technologies). A disaster can strike any business, anytime. Businesses need to have a sound Disaster Recovery (DR) plan in order to make sure they come out unscathed from the disaster. That's where recovery-as-a-service (RaaS) or disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) comes in. DRaaS reduces downtime. Enterprises are understanding the growing importance of DRaaS. Veeam, a leading DRaaS solution provider, relies on "affordable and efficient image-based replication" to deliver cloud-based disaster recovery. Bluelock, another big player in DRaaS sector, offers custom solutions along with 24-hour support. Bluelock's strategic partnerships with industry leaders make it a highly reliable DRaaS solution provider. While choosing a DRaaS solution provider, it is necessary to gauge the completeness, proactiveness, and responsiveness of the solution. DRaaS market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 45.9%.

Robots are growing in numbers. Key industries that are relying more and more on robots include automotive, electrical-electronics, and metal-machinery. In a couple of years, the total number of "industrial robots deployed worldwide" will be around 2.6 M units. A RaaS or robot-as-a-service or robotics-as-a-service unit is a self-contained cloud computing unit that relies on service oriented architecture. TCS, the Indian tech giant, is using a combination of robotics, analytics, and cloud to revolutionize retail. RaaS improves productivity manifold. Robots used to be dumb in the earlier days of automation but they are getting more intelligent and more connected every day thanks to the advances in robotics and cloud technologies. Notable robot-as-a-service solution providers are, Neurala, Airware, and Universal Robotics. Airware's commercial drone solution is offered as a drone-as-a-service solution which is an important component of its Aerial Information Platform (AIP). Understanding its potential, venture capital firms are also showing interest in robot-as-a-service. The RaaS as a business model is elastic and effective. The market of service robotics is going to be worth $23.90 B in five years. The market of global robotics technology as a whole is going to be worth $82.7 B in three years.

The term search-as-a-service or SaaS is gaining prominence due to the ever-increasing importance of search in an enterprise database. The search function is a necessity for both internal and external users. The complexities of search requests have increased. Searches often use technologies such as optical character recognition for searching information from scanned documents. Due to the increased complexities of search functions required in enterprises, corporations are outsourcing them to search-as-a-service solution providers. If we go deep inside it, search-as-a-service is a class of software-as-a-service. Algolia is an eminent provider of unique hosted cloud search-as-a-service solutions. Product Hunt, Digital Ocean, Crunch Base, Periscope, & Medium are using the hosted search API of Algolia to ensure the best possible user engagement. With Algolia, the search results are returned within a fraction of a second. Over 980 B Algolia API calls have been made till now. That's not a small number. Searchify, another hosted cloud search-as-a-service solution provider offers robust full-text search through API. Heroku, DoStuff Media, & Degree Cast uses Searchify. Big players such as Microsoft & Amazon have also forayed into the search-as-a-service market. Searchly offers a fully-managed high-availability Elasticsearch-powered search-as-a-service solution. The increasing corporate demand for search solutions indicates the search-as-a-service market is going to experience rapid growth in near future. The present enterprise search market is worth close to $750 M.

Companies lose $400 B every year due to security incidents. If a corporation takes its security lightly, then it won't be in business for long. The service model used in the case of security-as-a-service or SECaaS or SaaS is getting more popular due to its never-seen-before flexibility in ensuring safe and secure business operations and efficient use of cloud in service delivery. Intrusion detection & prevention, authentication, and security information and event management are some of the services that fall within the purview of SECaaS. It comes with reporting tools that inform the administrators about protection status, ongoing scans etc. A shortage of competent security staff is also a driving factor behind increased adoption of SECaaS. Zscaler, a leading SECaaS solution provider, is providing total cloud-based security to 5,000+ organizations and has a presence in 180+ countries. It processes 30 B+ requests and blocks 125 M threats per day. It uses cloud intelligence. Alien Vault is a security-as-a-service solution provider with more than a thousand customers. It provides threat intelligence and detection, vulnerability assessment, security monitoring, and much more through its Unified Security Management (USM) platform. Through its partnerships with numerous managed security service providers (MSSPs), the corporation has established itself as one of the key players in the security-as-a-service space. Sonic Wall offers proactive, affordable, and flexible SECaaS solutions. It uses RFDPI technology for scanning traffic. It uses a subscription-based pricing model. Fire Eye provides next-gen security-as-a-service solutions. The corporation's single-platform approach combines protection against advanced persistent threats, threat intelligence, and adaptive defense. It has around 15 M endpoints deployed worldwide. In order to provide implementation guidance to corporations and to improve their understanding of various aspects of security-as-a-service, Cloud Security Alliance has formed a working group. With security-as-a-service, an important point that corporations need to remember is "they can outsource responsibility but they cannot outsource accountability." In three years, the SECaaS market will be worth more than $8.5 B.

Small and medium businesses, and at times big businesses, find it difficult to set up and maintain their own storage infrastructure. The solution for them is storage-as-a-service or STaaS or SaaS. Data from a corporation is transferred and stored in cloud storage of the storage-as-a-service solution provider. In the case of a data loss incident, the corporation requests the stored data from the provider. Zadara Storage's enterprise storage solution offers impressive cost savings, seamless upgrades, 24/7 support, and a wide range of advanced features such as, at-rest and in-flight encryption. Net App's storage-as-a-service solution stands apart from others of its kind due to its superfast deployment and fine-tuned performance. The solution allocates storage "on a just-enough, just-in-time basis." Cloudian, Interoute, & AT&T offer storage-as-a-service solutions to customers worldwide. Researchers are exploring various avenues to deal with the minor slowdown issue associated with storage-as-a-service solutions. The storage-as-a-service market is going to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30%.

In a professional setting, it is wise to use the as-a-service terms in their full forms as using their short forms can create confusion. We are living in an era of everything-as-a-service. It is indubitable that the large scale adoption of as-a-service approach will benefit every part of the global IT industry and as a result, each as-a-service market is going to experience explosive growth. 

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