I've talked about the cloud and cloud computing in my last two articles and about the war going on between Internet service providers to gain market share and provide services to companies and individuals. The war is a silent war, but one that is intense, and is the next big technology marketing challenge.
The challenge is how to separate what one service provider offers from another provider's services. It's like how do you decide which chiropractor to go to to get your back aligned.
The initial marketing efforts have segmented the market using acronyms, that in most cases, are clear as mud. What has evolved is a concensus marketing acronym, that is, an initial letter with "aaS" tacked on, for "as a service."
As a service, aaS, implies cloud computing. The companies with these types of services offer Internet based services.
What are these aaS services? It's almost like alphabet soup. It seems like any service that can be provided over the Internet has an acronym. Let's go through these acroynms.
SaaS - Software as a Service: Companies with these products provide on demand software over the Internet. All a user has to do is log into the service in their browser.
A couple of examples of companies that offer this type of serivce are: Salesforce.com that connect a companies sales force together with a CRM application to boost sales, and Netsuite which offers core integrated business systems over the Internet.
This market is huge and growing, estimated at over $10 B dollars a year. Essentially, companies that sell a software program on a CD, now want to offer an Internet based version for a monthly fee.
PaaS - Platform as a Service: These services provide both the hardware, operating system, and software stack to run any application you want to run on the Internet.
IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service: These companies provide the entire IT infrastructure on the Internet. Hardware, disk space, memory, operating system, and companion software, like load balancing. Just to confuse you, this is sometimes called HaaS, or hardware as a service. Amazon AWS is an example.
The above three are the main services offered by Internet providers, but there are several spin-off services that have sprung up.
CaaS - Communication as a Service: These companies provide Voice over IP, VPN connections, PBX switching, Web meetings, and manage company communications so a company doesn't have to invest in this infrastructure.
XaaS - Anything as a Service: Now here's a good one, this is a catchall for companies that offer many of these services and don't want to be put into any one of the segments.
To give you an example at how messed up the marketing of these acronyms are, there are two, MaaS and DaaS, that mean two different services.
MaaS - Metal as a Service: This is an underlying service that provides flexible hardware configuration to run any software application.
MaaS - Monitoring as a Service: This service offers to monitor your network, software applications and internet usage for a fee, of course.
DaaS - Data as a Service: These companies offer data on demand any where in world. The advantage to a company is their data is secure, constantly backed up, recoverable, and synchronized, running on several servers in different locations in the world.
DaaS - Desktop as a Service: The idea is to have your home computer desktop running on a computer on the Internet. Amazon's AWS tries to do this now, but they don't address the mass market, where the money is going to be. The market is for an individual to sign up for the service and immediately have a Windows 8.1 computer running on the Internet. No one is quite there yet.
I think this market is huge. One of the problems is Microsoft is one of the competitors in the market place and they don't want to change their licensing to accommodate services providers that may compete with them. Microsoft, of course, wants the market to themselves, but they're just not there yet. Google and Amazon's AWS are way ahead in market share.
After going through all the acronyms, if you're still confused as to where to look for a particular type of Internet service, join the rest of us. Confusion rains supreme, as I said, the challenge is how to market these service to gain market share. There's a war going on out there.
I'll take a closer look at Amazon's AWS, the current market leader, in my next post.