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Is SaaS Part of Cloud Computing?

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From Andre Yee: Does cloud computing include software-as-a-service (SaaS)? You may wonder why that's even a question, but some believe it doesn't, or are at least drawing distinctions (see here and here). So are SaaS and cloud computing interchangeable terms, or not?

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  • In this "anything goes" IT semantics atmosphere, where people make architecture a verb and SOA something you buy, SaaS is as much a part of the cloud as it isn't. Consensus has become the only barometer in IT of what something means, and by that definition, SaaS is definitely part of the Cloud.

  • In my view, cloud computing is an extension of the web-based, pay-as-you-go service delivery model that has proven to be successful by SaaS. Strictly speaking, cloud computing connotes a broader set of independent, web-based, on-demand resources which users can acquire to build their own solutions to satisfy specific business requirements on a situational basis. However, many vendors (such as Salesforce.com) and others use the terms cloud computing and SaaS interchangeably.

  • SaaS and Cloud Computing are not interchangeable. Clouds came from world of grid computing architectures and SaaS can be traced all the way back to the timeshare services of the 1970's or more recently the ASP services of the late 1990's. These two worlds have converged, but they are not the same.

    When you go to your ATM machine you are likely engaging with a cloud computing model but you would not jump to the conclusion you are a SaaS user. Or maybe you are? The ATM uses electricity from a grid and software from a cloud therefore you are a grid and SaaS user. Now I got myself confused. No, I had it right the first time – I think.

  • Here's a thought -- let's get rid of the term "SaaS" altogether. It's clunky and says nothing. I think "cloud computing" is an umbrella term that neatly describes the adoption of online services -- be it applications or utilities -- from elsewhere. Let's retire all the goofy "x-aaS" terminology once and for all.

  • Obviously a few different views here and the one common thread is that these terms aren't always helpful. Most of these terms is less about technology and more about marketing. With that in mind, I tend to agree with Joe - maybe SaaS shouldn't be used anymore

  • I agree with Joe too. SaaS does not even say whether you use somebody's SW or your own one, remotely. The term is not comprehensive enough.

    BTW, I do not like the term ‘cloud computing’ either. The word ‘cloud’ has several different connotations and cultural associations. For example, it might mean any of the following:
    1) not concrete, accurate, fuzzy, murky computing
    2) you need an umbrella when dealing with it
    3) unrealistic, sitting in the clouds computing
    4) given to you from the Above, as a gift (and it is not a custom to challenge gifts)
    5) computing, which one can use irresponsibly

    Yes, ‘cloud computing’ may sound romantically but it is very difficult to relay on and charge a cloud… Don’t you think?

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