SaaS Week

Krissi Danielson

Attack of the -aaS Acronyms, or a Quick Glossary of SaaS Cousins

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Just about everything seems to be available in version 2.0 these days. I think the first was Web 2.0, which as you probably know indicates the development of the Internet into an interactive, collaborative, social network.

And then came Business 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Office 2.0, Sales 2.0, and all the other 2.0s, all indicating
use of the same type of technology.

The same thing seems to be happening to the -aaS acronym.

Today I saw a news story about companies, such as Cool Blue Interactive and Cbeyond, that are delivering communications and telecom services on demand. CIO Insight called this CaaS, or Communication as a Service.

Having seen several similar acronym usages, I did some Googling and was surprised to discover that an entire alphabet soup of acronyms were floating around out there for on-demand technologies. Here's a quick rundown of the other -aaS acronyms floating around out there.

AaaS - Architecture as a Service
Not in wide use, this acronym was used by blogger Steve Richards to refer to architecture services such as virtualization technology.
BaaS - Business as a Service
Rather than an offering, this appears to be more of an idea that all businesses ought to make their offerings available as a service rather than a mere purchase.
DaaS - Data as a Service
This appears to have originated from StrikeIron, a company that aims to distribute live data across the Internet in a centralized location.
EaaS - Ethernet as a Service
WhatIs.com calls this the use of high bandwidth, fiber optic media to deliver Ethernet services to customers across a common broadband infrastructure.
FaaS - Frameworks as a Service
It's difficult to tell whether or not this is in wide usage, but a number of blogs describe it as an application development environment that is provided as a service.
GaaS - Globalization as a Service (also used for Governance as a Service
A Google search reveals that this acronym is starting to be used by those who would offer globalization services, as well as those who would use SaaS for data governance.
HaaS - Hardware as a Service
This is another uncommon one that is being used to refer to provision of virtual machines
IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service (also Integration as a Service)
MuleSource seems to be a primary user of the Integration as a Service definition, wherein system integration functionality is offered in the clouds (Rosenberg discusses this here). Infrastructure as a Service is the idea that customers would no longer purchase servers, software, data center space, etc. but would rather use those as an outsourced service, according to Wikipedia.
IDaaS - Identity as a Service
IDaaS is the idea that identity services can be purchased on an on-demand basis, and the acronym appears to be widely used even among Forrester analysts.
LaaS - Lending as a Service
Okay, so LaaS isn't really in wide usage, but blogger Akash Bhatia used the term in commenting on IBM's Lender Business Process Services and likening it to an on-demand lending service.
MaaS - Mashups as a Service
Bloggers around the Web use this acronym to refer to the "convergence of SOA with Web 2.0," as Chuck Allen of HR XML puts it.
OaaS (multiple meanings)
Around the Web, this seems to be used for everything from "Organization as a Service" to "Optimization as a Service" to "Operations as a Service."
PaaS - Platform as a Service
Salesforce.com is pushing this one in a major way to describe its new Force.com offering that enables businesses to create and run applications on-demand.
TaaS - Technology as a Service (also Testing as a Service)
The latter seems to be used by Blue Star Infotech to describe an independent testing service it offers to ISVs. Technology as a Service seems to have a very similar definition to Business as a Service and Organization as a Service.
VaaS - Voice as a Service
A company called M5 Networks uses this as a means of offering call center services through an on-demand model.
WaaS - Whatever as a Service
Blogger Darren Wesemann has a good point in using this acronym to describe the multitude of "as a Service" acronyms.
XaaS - X as a Service
This term is a synonym to WaaS. Blogger Lincoln Murphy attempted to coin the term but then discovered it already existed. His post links a YouTube video someone made about the term.
ZaaS - Zero as a Service
The sole use of this term seems to be by the Project Zero development team in discussing the attempt to expose samples as a service.

Is overuse of the acronym destined to give everyone a headache trying to figure it all out?

If you know of -aaS acronyms not listed here, please post them in the comments below!

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My own coined acronyms - SaaS/s (SaaS that substitutes a desktop offering)
SaaS/v (SaaS that provides added value beyond the desktop equivalent)

I've been noticing this too -- just wrote about a couple of new SaaS combinations in my InfoTech enewsletter this week:

NetSuite Offers Up "Service as a Software"
Iron Mountain Extends "Storage as a Service"

Another acronym about SaaS: "Something as a Service" to define globally the on demand services

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I have worked in technology for over 20 years now. I have discovered industry/government copyrighted terms that use known academic definitions, and sometimes with, sometimes without the academic (typical engineering/science/math...) term. Maybe we should (all be forced to) use the correct and accurate academic word/terms/acronyms... from now on. At first, I thought, the terms were new and interesting. Then, I learned, the terms were confusing and misleading marketeer-hype. Then, a few times, I paid too much for far less then expected. Then, I got angry, nobody in management understood or cared, because of their fixation on new is better. Then, I decided, it is funny how smart all those decision makers are when (always I) told technology application reality is not what they like best by lots.

To further entertain me over the decades, the C*Os always decrease expertise requirements for what is expected to be low-risk Trademark reputation, or cheap and might provide ROI. Rather than looking for solutions they key on marketing hype/vapor for creating another (no reputation) pet-rock C*O position for a friend or some credentials that were received from a nationally famous Bubblegum-U with social skills for hub-curriculum. Look good is do good enough for US. Business-Science (BS) graduates are now accredited (it appears) in the USA to edit scientific theories and discoveries with all sorts of grand-dogma truths. The BS grand-dogma truths must be correct most US Citizens accept the facts as comfortable and palatable for rejecting fearful unacceptable reality.

Also, if we ever need to, we can solve all things with *aaS on the Internet.

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