What's XaaS?

It's everything as a service, and more

Tom • Cloud, Learning •

XaaS and chill

If you’re working somewhere in the tech branch, you’ve heard these acronyms before: SaaS, PaaS, Iaas, describing a specific aspect of your business “as a service” available “in the cloud”. Thanks to ever increasing computational power on one hand and internet connections getting faster and faster (albeit slower in some countries than in others), it’s more feasible than ever to allocate resources on-demand without actually relying on physical locations.

The growth of cloud computing led to a stunning explosion of products marked as-a-service. And that’s where XaaS comes into play: XaaS stands for “Everything as a service”, sometimes also written as “EaaS” and describes a use case where every aspect of your business or project uses resources completely allocated on-demand.

Bird’s eye view

Just a quick reminder what I mean by explosion of as-a-service products that are currently available:

  • SaaS: Software, licenses never get fully sold but only rented, e.g. when using any product with a plan
  • PaaS: Platform, which enables the quick availability of runtime environments, even for coding, through providers such as Google Appe Engine or Azure
  • IaaS: Infrastructure, describing the time-based usage and payment of servers or server’s services, such as Amazon Web Service or Google Cloud Platform (yes, GCP is IaaS, as it’s providing the whole infrastructure if you’re paying for it)
  • BaaS: Banking, allocating banking services when you need them, e.g. by an established bank that provides its services to you, abstracting away the infrastructure + certain management aspects
  • RaaS: Ransomware, you guess it
  • Gaas: Gaming, meaning you don’t have to own the powerful hardware anymore but just stream the game through the web to your screen (and the input commands back), e.g. Stadia by Google

There are many, many, many more services and as you can see, the usage of these acronyms gets out of hand quite quickly. It’s also important to highlight that using “as-a-service” in marketing material communicates a modern and state-of-art product, as the whole tech industry is pushing this rent-don't-buy-model.

Cloud as the center of the universe

Using the cloud as the central place (and also the last in a completely decentralized environment) is great for all the advertised features one gains: resources are always available and can be deallocated when not needed anymore. Business processes can be faster, as setting up stuff can be done really fast.

Yet there are some downsides to it (and why the big tech companies are pushing the cloud hard):

  • 100 % of on-demand usage for a business’ infrastructure can become quite expensive, as you might need the resources most of the time, therefore losing the advertised advantage of quick and easy de-/allocation of them
  • you completely rely on your provider’s prices, which might not be the best idea when your whole infrastructure is only available through others and not physically always available locally

And that’s about it! I hope you liked this compact overview of the current state of “as-a-service” in the tech industry.

- Tom