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Cloud computing abbreviations, are they clear?

I like to be sure of the meaning of IT industry terms so when I found EaaS I looked it up to check the meaning.  It appears that it can have two meanings: Everything-as-a-Service or Enterprise-as-a-Service. I think people might confuse the former with XaaS, which is used for  Anything-as-a-Service. Here lies the problem with Cloud service abbreviations; even when you understand the concept or can make an educated guess, they can have more than one meaning.

A quick quiz: what do you understand by these terms?






Multiple meanings

I was surprised to find how many interpretations there are for each term. Adrian Bridgewater’s piece in here speculates on the three possible meanings for DPaaS.

It seems nothing stays the same for long. The meanings of Cloud computing abbreviations change with time as we use the terms to describe different cloud concepts. There is clearly room for confusion if we use the abbreviations in content for a wider audience.

Why not create your own XaaS?

Some providers have created their own Cloud terms. Most people understand that a product or service that’s described as “aaS” is sold as a service, so it’s a neat way to convey an idea. Why not create your own “aaS” abbreviation? S1aaS is one of these. It belongs to storage supplier StorONE who offer their product as a service. Cisco has used some more, for example: CCaaS for contact-centre-as-a-service and even “customer experience as a service”.

Communicating cloud concepts in marketing

SaaS is such a common term for Software-as-a-Service that it’s hardly necessary to write it out in full. However, for other cloud terms people may find an explanation useful. The best practice is therefore to write the term in full, for clarity, at the first mention.

As I researched this article, I found some older research from the early days of the Cloud business model, which described how 49% of IT managers found it challenging to get approval for “SaaS” expenditure. But if they re-named it as “on-demand” computing, they found it easier to get their proposals signed off.

Nowadays the majority of software solutions are delivered through the Cloud. Does this mean Cloud computing is so ubiquitous that SaaS for Software-as-a-service hardly merits a mention? The analysts at Forrester wrote that in 2022, we have gone beyond aaS technologies to “a more complex Cloud ecosystem”. Cloud service configurations are evolving into multiple variations: “private clouds” and “hybrid clouds” and more.

Cloud terms – multiple meanings

Here are the meanings for the terms above:

SaaS Software-as-a-Service, Storage-as-a-Service, Security-as-a-Service

PaaS  Platform-as-a-Service, Payment-as-a-Service

IaaS  Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Information-as-a-Service

BaaS Blockchain-as-a-Service, Banking-as-a-Service

DPaaS  Development-Platform-as-a-Service, Data-Protection-as-a-Service, Data-Platform-as-a-Service