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January 29, 2014

Cloud Computing Acronyms Explained

As the IT world continues to change, so do the terms and acronyms we use each day to explain services and products, especially when it comes to cloud computing. With all the similar sounding, but completely different something-as-a-service acronyms, it’s easy to get confused. To help clear some of the confusion, we’ve listed below a few of the most common cloud computing acronyms you’ll see.

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a distribution model in which licensed software applications and associated data are hosted in the cloud by vendors and service providers. Vendors make these available to clients and users via a network – typically the Internet. The SaaS delivery model works well for key business applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM1.

PaaS (Platform as a Service) provides applications, supporting infrastructure and associated tools without the hassle and cost of buying and maintaining the hardware and software. The platform service provider typically makes available all of the platform assets to the end user and manages levels of scalability and maintenance.  The difference between SaaS and PaaS is that SaaS applications are designed for end-users and are delivered over the web, whereas PaaS provides users with the set of tools and services to help make coding/deploying those applications easy and efficient.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is a service model in which an organization outsources the responsibilities of purchasing and/or maintaining the equipment and software which comprise the underlying computing platforms typically used to support business operations. A service provider owns this equipment and is responsible for its operation, maintenance, housing and cooling. IaaS services are typically offered on a monthly recurring basis for collocated or service provider managed infrastructure, and on pay-per-usage model for Cloud.

MaaS (Monitoring as a Service) provides customers with monitoring functionality for infrastructure and applications hosted in the cloud.  These types of monitoring platforms can help to continuously track the states of applications, systems, and supporting infrastructure, which can be cheaper and more effective than investing in and managing an in-house monitoring platform.

CaaS (Communication as a Service) allows companies to utilize VoIP, instant messaging, videoconferencing and collaboration, among other services offered by a service provider. The provider incurs the costs associated with investing, managing and maintaining the infrastructure, and provides the communications solutions as service offers usually with respective guarantees around uptime/availability and accessibility.

XaaS (Anything as a Service) is a collective/catch-all term encompassing anything that can be offered as a service and can reference one or all of the terms listed above, as well as any combination.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) refers to a policy that allows employees to bring their own device (smartphones, laptops and tablets1 to their place of work and use those devices to access company information and applications. While BYOD trends are growing, there are still concerns over security and safety of critical company information.

BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud) is the latest trend is which employees are allowed to store company information on public/private third-party cloud storage services, like Dropbox. While these online file storage services may provide users with some efficiencies, they are also a security concern due to the fact that companies have little to no control over these types of services and the location of their potentially sensitive data.

With IT primed for big changes this coming year, we are sure to see more and more acronyms and jargon pop up, especially in cloud computing.

Do you have a cloud computing term we may have missed? Leave us a comment and let us know!