Thursday, May 29, 2008

SaaS Soup: Navigating the "as a Service" Acronyms: CaaS, DaaS, DBaaS, PaaS, SaaS, XaaS

Ever wonder what all the "aaS" acronyms mean? Do you want to understand how they relate to each other? This blog entry will help. I have created a map of many of the "as a Service" terms you will see in IT and have grouped them according to category. I have also provided an explanation and links for further reading for each so you can quickly come up to speed on all. 
I put this together because I am working on the second edition of a visual map of the SaaS, PaaS, and Cloud Computing industries that I released last month. In order to make progress on that map, I found I needed to have a better understanding of all of the common categories in the "as a Service" market. The map in this blog entry has a different focus - instead of mapping out industry players I am mapping out industry terminology. Both maps complement each other.

Map of the "as a Service" Terms

This graphic shows the groupings of the "as a Service" terms that you may encounter in the IT industry. Click the map for a larger view.


Top Level IT Service Categories

This section lists the primary categories around computing as a service. These categories serve as the larger buckets into which we will place the finer grained "as a Service" terms.


Hardware as a Service
Humans as a Service
  • What: service offerings that primarily require humans beings to deliver (aka professional services)
  • Not an industry term, but necessary to properly categorize some of the "as a Service" offerings
  • OK, I don't mean prostitution wise guy


Platform as a Service
  • What: hosted software that serves as a platform for building SaaS offerings
  • There are different types of PaaS products, and sometimes HaaS products are mistakenly called PaaS
  • Some PaaS products may be optionally deployed on HaaS products such as Amazon's EC2
  • Examples of PaaS:, Bungee Connect, Google App Engine, Etelos, QuickBase, LongJump, Apprenda SaaSGrid


Software as a Service
  • What: in its most generic form, any software offered remotely as a service. Since this definition includes the entire world wide web, there are generally agreed on criteria for SaaS products to narrow the scope:
    • Primarily business software
    • Usage based pricing (pay as you go) with no long term contracts
    • Delivered over the internet, primarily via a browser
    • Managed by the ISV that developed the application (as opposed to the former ASP model)
  • Wikipedia: SaaS
  • Alternate form: Microsoft has pushed the term "S+S", which is a SaaS solution paired with on-premise software

List of "as a Service" Terms

This section lists many terms you will find referring to a "as a Service" offering in the IT industry. They are organized by acronym - sometimes the same acronym may refer to multiple terms. For each term, a few links are provided for further reading.


Backup as a Service


Communications as a Service
Compliance as a Service
Content as a Service (aka Content On Demand)
  • Category: SaaS  (note it may directly employ Storage as a Service for the actual storage of the docs)
  • What: offering a hosted content repository, including workflow, versioning, checkin/checkout
Crimeware as a Service
Computing as a Service
CRM as a Service


Data as a Service
Data Warehousing as a Service (or DWaaS)
Data Mining as a Service
Database as a Service (or DBaaS)
Development as a Service
Desktop as a Service
Document Management as a Service


Ethernet as a Service
  • Category: HaaS
  • What: a solution provided by network carriers to provide virtual ethernet capacity from a much larger line
  • Ethernet as a service (EaaS)
ERP as a Service (or ERPaaS)
Email as a Service


Human Resources as a Service (HRaaS), Human Capital Management as a Service (HCMaaS)
  • These terms are not used yet, but probably coming soon to a Workday blog near you


Information as a Service
Infrastructure as a Service
Integration as a Service
Identity as a Service


Malware as a Service
Manufacturing as a Service
Mashups as a Service
Media as a Service (as in: video, audio)
  • Category: SaaS, a subtype of Data as a Service
  • What: providing hosted access to audio/visual services
  • Chris Saad: MaaS - Media as a Service 



Queue as a Service


Security as a Service
  • Category: SaaS
  • What: the delivery of security capabilities using a SaaS model
  • Wikipedia: Security as a Service
Storage as a Service


Testing as a Service
  • Category: Humans as a Service
  • What: outsourcing the testing of software
  • TAAS Services 


UI as a Service


Voice as a Service

Everything Else

Confused? Think all of these acronyms and terms are ridiculous? You aren't the first.
In recognition of the proliferation of "aaS" terms, umbrella terms have also appeared:

Previous Acronym Round Ups:

This isn't the first attempt at rounding up all the XaaS variants. You can find previous attempts here:

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Migration Complete: This is My New Blog

Due to the Oracle acquisition of BEA, the BEA blogging site at will be merged into OTN sometime in the future. This necessitated a switch to a new blogging platform, and I chose Blogspot. This blog entry explains the process.


Blog Migration Process (MovableType to ???)

For other BEA bloggers about to go through the transition, here is the process you need to follow:

  1. Decide where you are going to go: in a few weeks you can setup an OTN blog and that is not a bad option at all. I decided to go external for certain reasons, but it was a tough decision.
  2. Install Microsoft LiveWriter if you run a Windows machine. Its a great blogging tool, and has migration features.
  3. Point LiveWriter at your old blog if you haven't already. (Weblog->Add Weblog Account)
  4. Point LiveWriter at your new blog. (Weblog->Add Weblog Account)
  5. Click on the More icon on the Recently Posted box in the right nav.
  6. Click on your old blog on the left side
  7. Find a blog posting you want to move, click on it. It will open in the editor pane.
  8. Click on the Weblog dropdown menu and select your new blog. It will reformat your entry to the new style.
  9. Make whatever updates you want. I did
    1. I put a blurb at the top of each entry to explain that the content was migrated from dev2dev
    2. Copied over the comments into the bottom of the page (as static text)
    3. Updated the internal links that pointed to other blog entries of mine on dev2dev
  10. Update the "Set publish date" box in the lower right corner to match the original publishing date
  11. Click the Publish item
  12. Repeat for each entry you want to move.
  13. Register your blog in the Oracle Blog Roll:

Moving to

I chose to go external, and it was a horse race between Wordpress and Blogger. Wordpress has automated migration, but Blogger has the key feature that I want: fine grained visitor stats. With Blogger, you can hook up Google Analytics, which is an awesome tool for understanding who visits your pages and how.

To do your own comparison, look at:

If you go with Blogger, this is what I did to get my blog setup as I like it:

  • Chose a template - I picked a plain one with a white background since that was what dev2dev had
  • Customized the template - I write big posts, so I expanded the main area by editing the HTML template
  • Edited my profile
  • Customized the layout - I added the widget for my Twitter feed on the right
  • Customized Settings - clicked through each of the settings tabs and made some non-default choices
  • Added Google Analytics - added a HTML widget at page bottom, and injected the GoogA Javascript block

Work Remaining

  • I need to finish the comment copying process.
  • I need to search and replace remaining dev2dev blog links
  • I want to ping some of my dev2dev inbound links to see if they will update to point to my new pages

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Twitter Microfeed Covering the SaaS/PaaS/Cloud Markets for those without a Cognitive Surplus

Most of you have probably seen Clay Shirky's material on the great Cognitive Surplus - the free time that everyone wastes by watching TV. Awesome stuff, but if you are trying to keep up with all the activity in the SaaS, PaaS and Cloud industries by definition you have no Cognitive Surplus. We are in information overload. Subscribing to specific feeds or Google Alerts can help isolate the signal from the noise, but sometimes even that can be challenging. Let me propose a solution: I have created a microfeed for this space on Twitter. This blog discusses how you can subscribe to this feed and stay in touch with the news in a very lightweight way.

 NOTE: this blog entry was originally posted May 8th, 2008 on my previous blogging system (

Twitter and the 140 Character Budget

We had email, then we added instant messaging, and now we have Twitter. What is the trend here? Brevity. Stop with the 3 page emails and get to the point. Its all about time, and we don't have enough.

For those who haven't already taken the plunge into Twitter, let me explain its single most rewarding feature. It limits each message (tweet) to 140 characters. It forces brevity on the author, and this is a very good thing. Like telegrams of the past, authors need to choose their words (actually, characters) very carefully to get their point across in those precious 140.

For Twitter subscribers, this means you get messages that are short and to the point. What's not to love.


Twitter Microfeeds

Twitter began as a personal messaging platform. The message publishing box asks "What are you doing?" The intent is to keep your buddies apprised as to what you are doing throughout your day.

But the Twitter community being who they are have found creative uses for this messaging platform. Microfeeds (a term I prefer to Twitter Feeds), are one such use. The idea being that there is utility in getting short alerts on news throughout your day without being disruptive. This doesn't replace the full RSS scan you do when you have the time, but helps to keep you informed when you cannot spare time to do even that. Coupled with the option to receive your Twitter messages via SMS on your phone, it is also a way to stay informed even while you are out and about.

There are at least two ways to publish a Twitter microfeed:

  • Using an automated service like TwitterFeed to watch an RSS/ATOM feed and pump the first 140 characters of each entry to Twitter
  • Hand crafting the feed to fine tune each message

The former is the most timely and easiest, but can be very noisy if you are aggregating many feeds, and may not convey a lot of information in the message since it just grabs the title and maybe a few more characters from the entry. A handcrafted approach assures the readers that they are getting quality messages.


Introducing the SaaS/PaaS/Cloud Microfeed

That was all very abstract. What is important to know is that I have created a handcrafted microfeed for S/P/C and encourage you to try it. I plan to be very selective in posting the following types of information in the space:

  • Major deals, acquisitions
  • Product launches
  • Call for Papers for upcoming conferences
  • Notice of upcoming events, like webinars
  • Insightful blog posts

For an SLA, I will attempt to stay under 20 messages per week, with a target load of 2-3 per day. But as we go along, please give me feedback as to content and quantity.

As a sample, here is the feed as it currently stands right now:

Boothby: Joyent video collage of interviews at Web2.0Expo "what is cloud computing" . Tim O'Reilly, others. about 3 hours ago from web 

Wainewright: Taleo acquires Vurv, joins SaaS revenue all stars SFDC, Omniture, Concur 08:38 PM May 06, 2008 from web

IBM: Call for Papers for IBM's "Info On Demand" conference (Oct. 26-31), 08:49 AM May 06, 2008 from web

MySQL: offering webinar May 15, "Multi-Tenant Architectures with MySQL Enterprise for SaaS Providers". Register: 08:34 AM May 06, 2008 from web

Craig Balding: NPR (radio) featured him and Cloud Computing for 3.5 minute segment. To listen, see: 02:14 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Mosso: (Rackspace's cloud division) launches Storage-aaService CloudFS private beta, $0.15 per gigabyte 02:06 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Bungee: revise 4/30 tweet - Pg/MySQL anncment is not a hosting offering, support is for connectivity only. See: 01:41 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Kaplan: THINKStrategies supporting SaaS industry study, call for SaaS providers with rev $10M-250M 01:36 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Willis: provides a listing of cloud solutions predating the Laird SaaSMap. "Cloud Vendors A to Z" 01:33 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Druker: financial SaaS provider Intacct raises another $15M to help battle Netsuite. Total funding so far $29M 10:08 AM May 03, 2008 from web

Laird,Dickson: created a visual SaaS/Cloud/PaaS industry map, showing the major focus areas and players. 09:49 AM May 03, 2008 from web

Wainewright: MSFT to try MSOffice stream ondemand (not in cloud) with license change. See also EndeavoursTech. 09:42 AM May 03, 2008 from web

Wainewright: SAP disaster - delays SaaS 12-18 months after validating market. Gift to Netsuite, Twinfield, CODA. 09:34 AM May 03, 2008 from web



Subscribing to the ondemand Microfeed

The Twitter account being used for this microfeed is:

For those already on Twitter, just follow that account and be sure to enable device updates for it. For new users, follow these instructions:

  1. Create a Twitter account, using whatever name you like
  2. Skip the email search wizard
  3. Search for the "ondemand" user using the search box
  4. Click the Follow button

To subscribe your phone to get an SMS message whenever a new post appears, do the following:

  1. Click Settings in the upper right
  2. Click Devices
  3. Enter your phone number, and be sure to check the box to approve SMS
  4. Click the Home link at the top of the page.
  5. Click on the Following link on the right hand side of the page
  6. Click the on button for device updates for ondemand


Twitter Clients

There are many ways to stay on top of this Twitter microfeed. I am optimizing for readability on SMS but really any client will do.

  • The traditional Twitter website user interface
  • Enable device updates for the ondemand account, and you will receive SMS messages
  • Thwirl - a powerful desktop client
  • Facebook integration


Friday, May 2, 2008

Understanding the Cloud Computing/SaaS/PaaS markets: a Map of the Players in the Industry

The Cloud Computing/SaaS/PaaS space is loaded with interesting vendors, and the space is booming. If you are trying to navigate this world and need a guide, this blog entry will help. We have assembled a visual map of the industry, showing how the major players fit into the overall space. It will give you an overview of who's who, and what types of solutions are being offered.

NOTE: a newer version of this map is now available. Click here to navigate to the most recent research.

I was greatly assisted by Kent Dickson, VP of Product Management for SaaS at BEA, in building this map. Steve Bobrowski, Director of SaaS Evangelism, also contributed comments. Thanks to both!

Defining the Markets

Before we look at the map, we need to define the major areas that we are covering. Note that in many ways these markets overlap so trying to differentiate which solution is in which is not a meaningful exercise. Needless to say, drawing out the map is a subjective effort, and not all solutions fit neatly into their assigned bucket. The purpose of the visual map is not to address subtleties, but to draw the industry in general terms.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing refers to the virtualization of the data center, such that server machines are not thought of individually but as just a commodity in a greater collection of server machines. Cloud computing solutions in general strive to eliminate the need for an application deployer to be aware of the actual physical machines that are used to host the application. Some have called this idea “hardware as a service”.

Solutions that are most closely associated with the Cloud Computing market are indicated with the image icon on the map.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

An application that is delivered through the SaaS model typically is done so:

  • Over the internet,
  • Remotely by a third party, with little/no opportunity to bring that application in-house
  • With a usage-based pricing model

Solutions that are most closely associated with the SaaS market are indicated with the image icon on the map.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

When a vendor offers a Platform as a Service, they are offering an integrated platform to build, test, and deploy custom applications. The PaaS is offered to you in a SaaS model (remote, usage-based). Dion Hinchliffe recently published a comprehensive whitepaper on this topic.

The PaaS market is indicated with the image icon in the map view.

Core Cloud Services

After defining the 3 markets, there remains a set of solutions that contribute to all as fundamental building blocks. In other words, these solutions address cross cutting concerns.

In the map they are marked with a distinct icon image to set them apart.

The Visual Map

Below is the visual map as promised. You will find a larger version hosted here. An explanation of each category and a full clickable URL list of the solutions is offered below the map.

If you wish to make changes, the original mind map drawing file assets are located here. Please post comments with your thoughts, or use this map as a basis for your own vision of the industry. Please give credit back to the original source (see Creative Commons) if you do.


Defining the Solution Groupings

In the map, we grouped solutions according to the problems they aim to solve. This section details the intent of each category.

Please note that for every category, there are more vendors that could be included. We are not attempting to provide a comprehensive list of every player in the industry. THINKStrategies created the SaaS Showplace if that is what you are looking for.

This map only shows solutions that are both 1) available in some form today, and 2) have significant mindshare in the industry. Feedback is appreciated if you disagree with any solution that was included or excluded.

Left Side

Cloud Providers - vendors who provide server hardware in commodity form, as a virtualized cloud

Cloud Deployment - solutions surrounding the deployment of applications to a virtualized cloud

Virtual Appliances - packaging and virtualization format solutions for provisioning applications into a cloud

Topology Management - solutions focused on the coordination of many virtual appliances (app, DB, network) in the cloud to form a full deployment

Billing, Contract Management - solutions that provide metering, billing, pricing, and contract management to help charge for use of a system

Security - solutions focused on solving security requirements in these markets

Data - services that deliver/retain data for applications

Hosters 2.0 - Hosting Service Providers with SaaS focus. Perhaps a controversial grouping and impossible to define, these hosters tend to appear over and over in these markets

Nerd Stuff - geeky topics fall into this category. MapReduce is mechanism for solving large computing tasks, like Google Search indexing

Right Side

On Demand Apps - the heart of the SaaS market, only a few depicted here but we could add "...and a cast of thousands". These are the end application products offered for consumption in a SaaS model

Integration as a Service - service solutions that help in integrating multiple systems, possibly multiple SaaS systems

Content as a Service - hosted content repositories

BPM and Workflow - service based offerings for managing workflow and process

Platform as a Service - incarnations of the PaaS concept

Reference Solutions List (with clickable links)

Cloud Computing,
SaaS, and PaaS

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Comments from the original blog:
  • Very useful chart. You've misspelled Itensil (not Intensil)in the BPM as a service node -- the website link works though, so don't change that. I'd argue that Itensil is really a PaaS product with pre-built workflow, and invite your readers to have a look and let me know if you agree.

    Posted by: kpatterson on May 16, 2008 at 12:34 PM

  • FYI - I will be working on an updated map shortly. The feedback is still rolling in. thanks for all the email/comments.

    Google - yes, they are listed as a PaaS with their new App Engine offering - thanks for the note, just published an entry on them on my Cloud/PaaS/SaaS microfeed

    And thanks to OpSource for the mention today of the map in their monthly newsletter.

    Posted by: plaird on May 14, 2008 at 1:24 PM

  • Very interesting article. Just two questions -- Did Google recently add an offering to the cloud computing space ? Is a company called involved in the storage-as-a -service category ?

    Posted by: hsr0508 on May 14, 2008 at 11:22 AM

  • I'm a bit cautious of messing with the wiki list Peter but may I also point you to as one of the emergent PaaS players particularly incorporating open source technologies to guard against the lock in fear. Incidentally, the platform has opened itself to Java after debuting Rails. Check them out. Best. alain

    Posted by: friarminor on May 13, 2008 at 9:34 AM

  • Peter Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. Looking forward for your comment on my post:)

    Posted by: natishalom on May 6, 2008 at 8:03 PM

  • Nati - thanks for the comment, this is what I am looking for. Responses:

    Rightscale, MySQL, Coherence, GigaSpaces, etc: maybe not all of those, but I also have been getting emails offline, and will need to make a v1.1 of the map to include a handful of corrections/omissions. The feedback is still coming in, so will wait a little while. I don't want the map to turn into a 1000 node monster, so I want to be very selective. Jeff Kaplan's SaaS Showplace is the comprehensive source backing all of this.

    Oracle SaaS Platform: this was a late addition, and upon further reflection not exactly right. I now see the Platform bucket broken into two, with PaaS (minus ORCL). Then with a new bucket perhaps containing on-prem platform software that is "SaaS ready". Still noodling on this though.

    Your blog: thanks for the link, I wasn't following your feed, now I am. I would agree in general about lock-in, not totally on board will all of your conclusions. I am deciding whether to add a comment to your blog, write a response blog entry, or succumb to laziness and just let it be. :)

    Cheers - PJL

    Posted by: plaird on May 6, 2008 at 10:23 AM

  • Interesting review. It captures many of the players in this emerging space.
    I think that your missing some important platforms such as RightScale.
    I also wanted to point out that one of the main problems with Platform as a Service that are mentioned is the fact that offer radically proprietary solution. In your list there are few that i rarely heard of in that context such as Oracle SaaS platform..
    I recently wrote a post describing other platform choice that can help building SaaS applications in a way that could be easily ported to any cloud environment. It support also existing Java/Spring and .Net frameworks. In this way you don't have to switch entirely to completely different proprietary framework to leverage the value of cloud based environment.
    The post is available here:
    Google App Engine - what about existing applications?
    You can also view Dave Rosenberg post that points to other frameworks on that regard Sun's OpenSolaris on EC2--overcast but not completely Cloudy
    On the data services side i think that your missing few important and common services that are used by many of the applications running on cloud today such as MySQL, and other data-caching services such as Oracle-Coherence, GigaSpaces, Terracotta, Memcache etc. Some of which integrates with SimpleDB thus providing in-memory front end for better performance and reliability. (See example here SimpleDB such as the one with SimpleDB)

    Posted by: natishalom on May 6, 2008 at 4:51 AM

  • Hi Jim - good questions.

    A lot of parallels are drawn between the ASPs of the 90's and the SaaS providers of today. One of the key differentiators is that SaaS does not require the tenant to make a large upfront payment like they did in the ASP/outsourced model. SaaS is offered with usage based pricing - e.g. you pay $50 per user per month. There are other differentiators, but that is key.

    As for the zero customization solutions being very limited, I think you are right. Per-tenant customizations are critical for the enterprise, be it UI, data model, business process, etc. I think all SaaS vendors are working on solving this, and some have solutions today.

    I posted a list of SaaS podcasts which offer a much more in-depth response to your questions. I found them very helpful in explaining what is happening in the industry.

    Thanks for the comment! PJL

    Posted by: plaird on May 5, 2008 at 10:30 AM

  • This topic is getting a ton of exposure right now, I just finished the Wired article on Amazon's EC2 I have a number of questions on this topic, I'll start with Isn't this simply Outsourcing 2.0? IBM,AmDocs,etc... host infrastructure for many of our customers, you happen to know the hardware, os, and IP of the machine it is running on, change it to a cloud of resources (virtualize and absract it), and change the pricing model...Voila outsourcing 2.0. SaaS gives you more than outsourcing, but SaaS to me is not going anywhere fast, and is only riding the buzz of cloud computing. Cookie-cutter (no customization) solutions offering no diversity from the competition who are all using the same service. I see value in the space, but I have the feeling this is more hype than real value.

    Posted by: jcalise on May 3, 2008 at 10:14 PM

  • Great article Peter, I now have a much better idea of the space. Did not realize was that many players involved. Thanks for sharing this data! Cheers, --alex

    Posted by: atoussai on May 3, 2008 at 7:59 PM

  • Excellent break down of the space, and a great reference to use going forward.

    Posted by: jcalise on May 2, 2008 at 10:45 AM