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What is XaaS (anything as a service)?

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“Anything as a service” (XaaS) describes a general category of services related to cloud computing and remote access. It recognizes the vast number of products, tools, and technologies that are now delivered to users as a service over the internet. Essentially, any IT function can be transformed into a service for enterprise consumption. The service is paid for in a flexible consumption model rather than as an upfront purchase or license.

What are the benefits of XaaS?

There are several benefits of XaaS: improving the expense model, speeding new apps and business processes, and shifting IT resources to higher-value projects.

Improving the expense model. With XaaS, businesses can cut costs by purchasing services from providers on a subscription basis. Before XaaS and cloud services, businesses had to buy individual products—software, hardware, servers, security, infrastructure—install them on site, and then link everything together to create networks. Now, with XaaS, businesses simply buy what they need, and pay as they go. Previous capital expenses now become operating expenses.

Speeding new apps and business processes. This model allows businesses to quickly adapt to changing market conditions with new apps or solutions. Using multitenant approaches, cloud services can provide much-needed flexibility. Resource pooling and rapid elasticity support mean that business leaders can simply add or subtract services as needed. A company can quickly access new technologies, scaling infrastructure automatically when users need innovative resources.

Shifting IT resources to higher-value projects. Increasingly, IT organizations are turning to an XaaS delivery model to streamline operations and free up resources for innovation. They are also using the benefits of XaaS to transform digitally and become more agile. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 71% of companies report that XaaS now constitutes more than half of their company’s enterprise IT. XaaS provides more users with access to cutting-edge technology, democratizing innovation.

What are the disadvantages of XaaS?

XaaS has some potential drawbacks: possible downtime, performance issues, and complexity.

Possible downtime. The internet sometimes breaks, and when it does, your XaaS provider might have problems as well. With XaaS, there can be issues of internet reliability, resilience, provisioning and managing the infrastructure resources . If XaaS servers go down, users won’t be able to use them. XaaS providers can guarantee services through SLAs.

Performance issues. As XaaS becomes more popular, bandwidth, latency, data storage, and retrieval times can suffer . If too many customers use the same resources, the system can slow down. Apps running in virtualized environments can also face impacts. In these complex environments, there can be integration issues, including the ongoing management and security of multiple cloud services.

Complexity impacts. Pushing technology to XaaS can relieve IT staff of day-to-day operational headaches; however, if something does go wrong, it might be harder to troubleshoot. The internal IT staff still needs to stay current on the new technology. Costs for maintaining high-performing, robust networks can increase—although the overall cost savings of XaaS models are usually much greater. Nonetheless, some companies want to retain visibility into their XaaS service provider’s environment and infrastructure. In addition, an XaaS provider that gets acquired, discontinues a service, or alters its roadmap can have a profound impact on XaaS users.

What are some examples of XaaS?

Because XaaS stands for “anything as a service,” the list of examples is endless. Many kinds of IT resources or services are now delivered this way. Broadly speaking, there are three categories of cloud computing models: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Outside these categories, there are other examples such as disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), communications as a service (CaaS), network as a service (NaaS), database as a service (DBaaS), storage as a service (StaaS), desktop as a service (DaaS), and monitoring as a service (MaaS). Other emerging industry examples include marketing as a service and healthcare as a service.

NetApp and XaaS

NetApp provides several XaaS options, including IaaS, IT as a service (ITaaS), SaaS, and PaaS.

IaaS. When you differentiate your hosted and managed infrastructure services, you can increase service and platform revenue, improve customer satisfaction, and turn IaaS into a profit center. You can also take advantage of new opportunities to differentiate and expand services and platform revenue, including delivering more performance and predictability from your IaaS services. Plus, NetApp® technology can enable you to offer a competitive advantage to your customers and reduce time to market for deploying IaaS solutions.

ITaaS. When your data center is in a private cloud, it takes advantage of cloud features to deliver ITaaS to internal business users. A private cloud offers characteristics similar to the public cloud but is designed for use by a single organization. These characteristics include:

  • Catalog-based, on-demand service delivery
  • Automated scalability and service elasticity
  • Multitenancy with shared resource pools
  • Metering with utility-style operating expense models
  • Software-defined, centrally managed infrastructure
  • Self-service lifecycle management of services

StaaS. NetApp facilitates private storage as a service in a pay-as-you-go model by partnering with various vendors, including Arrow Electronics, HPE ASE, BriteSky, DARZ, DataLink, Faction, Forsythe, Node4, Proact, Solvinity, Synoptek, and 1901 Group. NetApp also seamlessly integrates with all major cloud service providers including AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

PaaS. NetApp PaaS solutions help simplify a customer’s application development cycle. Our storage technologies support PaaS platforms to:

  • Reduce application development complexity.
  • Provide high-availability infrastructure.
  • Support native multitenancy.
  • Deliver webscale storage.

PaaS services built on NetApp technology enable your enterprise to adopt hybrid hosting services—and accelerate your application-deployment time.