The DCK Guide to the As-a-Service Revolution

We’ve entered into the software-defined, service-aware era of the data center timeline. This DCK Guide to the as-a-service revolution will show you how new types of software-based technologies can impact your cloud and your enterprise.

Bill Kleyman

March 26, 2014

8 Min Read
The DCK Guide to the As-a-Service Revolution
The proliferation of cloud has created new types of service models aimed at very direct solutions.

Something interesting is happening in the cloud and data center space. We’re seeing a lot of abstraction around existing hardware environments and new types of delivery models emerging. Recently, we presented the DCK Guide to Software-Defined Technologies. We were able to understand the power around intelligent resource control and how you can make your hardware span globally.

Now, there is a new type of revolution happening. This time, it revolves around services and delivery models. The proliferation of cloud has created new types of service models aimed at very direct solutions. We’re not talking about email services here or even online backup, although those are service models. The industry has come much further than that.

When cloud computing started, there were some powerful foundational service platforms which helped fuel the as-a-Service deployment model. Let’s take a look at the “original” three and where they are now:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – Probably one of the most basic cloud service offerings, IaaS has really come a long way. Traditional data centers are now offering complete IaaS offerings scaling from physical to logical. New efficiencies around resource pooling and intelligent workload routing has boosted the IaaS model to create a powerful on-demand cloud platform. Now, IaaS offerings can include everything from security to virtualization, and everything in between.

  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – With so much new development around mobile apps, software delivery, and content optimization, the PaaS model has really evolved to become a solid mechanism for logical workload delivery. Now, developers can utilize PaaS offerings to create intelligent software layers which then help optimize the rest of their organization. Platforms like Azure come built with dynamic scale capabilities – adjusting to your application and platform needs on the fly.

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – This services offering probably deserves an article of its own. The software model has truly evolved since the inception of SaaS a few years ago. Mobility, IT consumerization, and cloud computing have all had direct effects on the SaaS model. Now, federated services, HTML5, and other technologies make the SaaS delivery process even more powerful. There is a software revolution taking place where the application is creating direct hardware agnosticism. This service model will likely continue to evolve further.

With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at some newer service platforms, what they’re doing and how they can help!

Logging as a Service (LaaS) – Compliance, security, governance and regulations are still very real aspects in today’s business world. Companies looking to expand their systems into the cloud have to abide by rules governing their specific industry. This is why LaaS is becoming more popular. Numerous managed services providers are actively creating log, source, and even data point aggregation services. The idea is to centrally store logs and create powerful cloud-ready audit trails for those organizations that need it. In a real-world scenario, your major data center location would become the central hub for all log file processing. You could even have a distributed data center platform which still point to a central log aggregation model. This type of service is becoming popular for organizations with a lot of information, unstructured data, or big data and business intelligence solutions.

Recovery as a Service (RaaS or DRaaS) – First of all, this is NOT cloud-based backup. The big difference is that RaaS protects data and provides standby computing capacity on-demand to facilitate a more rapid recovery process. The idea behind RaaS or DRaaS is that the cloud is used for dynamic recovery purposes of applications, data points, or an entire infrastructure. The great thing about this model is that organizations only pay for the recovery capacity that they need. This makes it much more efficient than traditional DR solutions where a hot site is being run continuously. As cloud becomes more prevalent in the modern business model, more organizations will look to make their platform more resilient. Gartner agrees, predicting that by 2014, 30 percent of midsize companies will have adopted recovery-in-the-cloud, also known as disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS), to support IT operations recovery. There are existing service models already helping out large organizations. For example, Bluelock Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions enable organizations to recover their IT resources efficiently and effectively when an adverse situation strikes, protecting you from loss of revenue, data, or reputation. This model directly integrates with VMware vCloud to create a powerful, multi-tenant, recovery solution. Couple in automation, failover testing, intelligent replication, and next-gen cloud security, and you’ve got a powerful RaaS solution.

Storage as a Service (STaaS) – Keep an eye on this one. We’ve hit a bit of storage sprawl as more organizations are actively trying to wrap their heads around physical storage management. Storage as a service has become interesting since organizations can span their workloads into the cloud and leverage dynamic storage solutions. EMC Atmos, for example, offers object-based cloud storage platforms to store, archive and access unstructured content at scale. Atmos provides the essential building blocks for enterprises and service providers to transform to private, hybrid, and public cloud storage. The idea is to create a unified storage management plane. Still one of the biggest concerns revolves around resources and bandwidth. Before diving into this category, make sure you have the right infrastructure to support big data transfers.

Backend as a Service (BaaS) – Only two years ago, the global BaaS market had an estimated value of $216.5 million. Imagine that your organization develops web and mobile applications dedicated to live in the cloud. These applications require backend features like user management, push notifications, and even integration with social networking services. Well, by using BaaS, you’re able to provide developers a way to link applications to backend cloud services and storage. This service area is growing too – mobile data utilization is continuing to increase. Consider this: The latest Cisco Visual Networking Report indicates that over half a billion (526 million) mobile devices and connections were added in 2013. Furthermore, global mobile devices and connections in 2013 grew to 7 billion, up from 6.5 billion in 2012. Smartphones accounted for 77 percent of that growth, with 406 million net additions in 2013.

Network as a Service (NaaS) – With so much living in the cloud, direct network services for specific types of workloads are becoming a requirement. Depending on what you’re developing in the cloud, utilizing a VPN, Bandwidth on Demand (BoD) or even mobile network virtualization can all be options with a NaaS model. Imagine being able to dynamically control traffic demands of nodes connected to links all over the world – that's NaaS. These types of services are already being offered too. Aryaka, for example, offers NaaS which combines enterprise-grade global connectivity with proprietary TCP optimization and QoS. Utilizing a dedicated reliable core network based on globally distributed POPs and centralized WAN visibility, this service delivers predictable, high-performing network connections without the high cost and long deployment time required by MPLS.

API as a Service (APIaaS) – There is a lot of application and service interoperability demands when it comes to cloud computing. Applications and services need a way to communicate with each other. So, instead of having to write your own APIs, why not use a service? APIaaS is a service platform designed to host APIs which allow interconnectivity between various cloud workloads. The idea is to create a powerful platform capable of creating and hosting specific types of APIs. These will then create entry points for API calls which may range be REST, XML, or even TCP/IP calls.

Security as a Service (SECaaS) – These days entire organizations are being born in the cloud. When developing a new cloud service or product, security is always one of the first questions. So, delivering SECaaS may be a great option. Seen as a business and cloud service model, organizations are able to integrate existing security services into a subscription-based model. These services can include cloud ant-virus, intrusion prevention/detection (IPS/IDS), and even security even correlation. The idea is to create a proactive cloud-ready model for security services. Already, vendors are creating powerful models for supporting greater security capabilities. For example, Cisco’s Cloud Web Security (CWS) provides industry-leading security and control for the distributed enterprise. Users are protected everywhere, all the time when using CWS through Cisco worldwide threat intelligence, advanced threat defense capabilities, and roaming user protection. This type of security-as-a-service model supports everything from zero-day protection to helping your organization scale for even greater availability.

Data as a Service (DaaS) – Often seen as a relative to software as service, the DaaS model delivers data on demand. Just like software, the concept can be applied to data demands as well. Most organizations have a controlled data repository. Now, data and software can be joined in a cloud model to deliver a powerful solution that lives in the cloud. The great part here is that it allows organizations to logically separate software from their data. For some compliance-driven shops, this is a must. Here’s the other truth: DaaS is beginning to play an even greater part in the big data and business intelligence world. According to a recent Gartner report, worldwide business intelligence (BI) software revenue will reach $13.8 billion in 2013, a 7 percent increase from 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. The market is forecast to reach $17.1 billion by 2016. This is all an area where DaaS can help.

We’ve entered into the software-defined, service-aware era of the data center timeline. There is a lot more abstraction happening, more optimization being deployed and more organizations joining the cloud movement. As data workloads and users become more distributed, there will have to be ways to manage applications, delivery models, and the user experience. This is where SDx and service models can really help optimize existing systems to become next-generation components.

About the Author(s)

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise technology. He also enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues about tech. His published and referenced work can be found on Data Center Knowledge, AFCOM, ITPro Today, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and more.

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