Cloud Computing Explained: 10 Acronyms to Know
With more and more cloud services emerging every day, it’s getting nearly impossible to keep up with all the options businesses have available to them – especially when it seems like they’re all some kind of __aaS. To help out, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common cloud computing services and their acronyms:
Software as a Service. Also sometimes called “on-demand software.” This is a centrally hosted, subscription-based software delivery model, usually accessed by users via a web browser. The user has no control over the infrastructure or application capabilities, but this also means all the expense of hosting and upgrading the software is the vendor’s responsibility. Just to make things confusing, SaaS can sometimes refer to any of the other services on this list.
Infrastructure as a Service. The provider of this service hosts servers, software and other infrastructure components for the user on a pay-as-you-go model. IaaS is frequently used for resiliency planning, unexpectedly changing workloads, and testing new applications affordably.
Platform as a Service. The PaaS provider delivers software and hardware tools to the user necessary for Web application development on a per-use basis or a monthly fee. The user doesn’t need to install their own software or hardware to develop or run a new application, since the service provider hosts them. PaaS also allows users to manage and develop their Web applications without having to build or maintain infrastructure (the common theme on this list).
Storage as a Service. This is sometimes ALSO called SaaS, but they’re not the same thing. In this model, a big company rents storage space in their infrastructure to smaller companies on a cost-per-gig and cost-per-transfer basis (think Amazon S3 or Google Cloud). This can be a lot cheaper for a small company than buying and maintaining their own storage infrastructure.
Monitoring as a Service. This service monitors and continuously tracks the state of networks, systems, and applications that are deployable in the cloud. State monitoring is the most commonly used feature of MaaS, since users can log in from anywhere via a web based tool to check on the status of their key applications.
Communication as a Service. A solution leased from one or more vendors that includes voice over IP, instant messaging, videoconference calls, and other collaboration tools on a pay-as-you-go basis. The vendor manages all the service software and hardware. CaaS is popular with SMBs, since it allows them flexibility they may not be able to afford if they had to host and manage everything themselves.
Security as a Service. Yet another service sometimes also referred to as SaaS. Typically this service involves a third party organization overseeing and managing a company’s security through a subscription model. The SECaaS category includes anti-virus software with constant virus definition updates delivered via the Internet, as well as log management and other security tasks.
Business Continuity as a Service. This risk management service focuses on assisting organizations with business continuity planning and disaster recovery through a monthly fee model. Business continuity planning goes beyond IT to consider how every aspect of the business might be affected in a disaster, and how the company will recover. The goal of BCaaS is to make a seamless transition from the challenges of a disaster to resuming business, so business functions and supporting infrastructure will be unaffected.
Disaster Recovery as a Service. Also referred to as RaaS (Recovery as a Service). DRaaS providers host servers to get operations back up and running immediately after a disaster on a monthly fee model. One of the key differences between DRaaS and BCaaS is that DRaaS focuses more on getting a business’ IT services back to running rather than the business functions involved in recovery. Small and mid-size businesses use DRaaS to ensure their key servers, environments and data are safe no matter what comes their way.
‘Anything’ as a Service. This collective, catch-all acronym refers to all of the above mentioned cloud services, and the others that have yet to be named.