Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What terms mean ...

Wow, it's amazing how something as publicly spirited as wikipedia can be used as a sales tool. I was looking up some stuff and noticed term wars, blatant marketing by groups and some really snide attacks.

Anyway, as I still dabble in the XaaS world I checked out a couple of terms and thought I'd better get involved.

First, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is defined exactly the same as Hardware as a Service (HaaS) except it was invented afterwards. I was late to the party having borrowed the HaaS term from other people, most likely Nick Carr. Looks like some were even later, I've made some corrections.

[Added: I know I shouldn't but I cannot help myself. The thing about IaaS is that not only is it identical in concept to HaaS, it was invented significantly later and differed by only one letter. It's a bit like me running around saying I've just invented:-

  • The Vheel - a circular device that is capable of rotating on its axis, facilitating movement or transportation or performing labour in machines
  • The Selephone - a telecommunications device which is used to transmit and receive sound.

You get the picture ... it's just plain silly.]

SaaS Platform - missed this one, it is what I call FaaS or Framework as a Service. I prefer FaaS only because I've probably pinched it from someone else and it fits nicely into the XaaS terminology (see the video below) by Scott Maxwell from April'06.

SaaSu is not a term worth repeating - it's far better to use the phrase "utility computing" and let the term SaaSu be forgotten ... quickly.

[Added : Whilst I dislike the term SaaSu and prefer the term "utility computing", I am speaking of the term rather than the company - I also note that they have made a call recently for simplification back to the SaaS term. Thank you Peter for pointing that out.]

Now, as for who invented the term Software as a Service (SaaS). Well Tim O'Reilly used the term in "The Open Source Paradigm Shift" in 2004 but it had been used before by many others. It's worth noting that "SaaS" was used by Amy Mizoras Konary in a 2004 IDC report.

However it was a common term well before then.

Hmmm, XaaS must be a hot topic otherwise you wouldn't need so many rewrites of history.


Peter J Cooper said...

I posted on this exact topic in our work blog at just a week ago so interesting you picked up on the thread so soon afterwards.

Must say I don't really agreed with your IaaS = HaaS proposition though, H=Hardware, I=Infrastructure which is much much wider as most of the good guys in large multinationals delivering infrastructure will tell you (and they are the guys the vendors target first for commercial and design reasons).

I can probably put you in touch with a few if you are passionate about this topic.

Nice blog btw.

Cheers, Peter.

swardley said...

Hi Peter,

Thank you for the comment.

First (I've made it clear on the blog) that whilst I have a preference for the term "utility computing" over the term SaaSu, this is in reference to the use of this term.

I totally missed your blog post, however I am in agreement with you that we need to keep the terms simple.

I happen to prefer Scott Maxwell's term XaaS as an overall description whilst I appreciate that there are some distinct layers of the stack such as SaaS and HaaS for example - the entire stack can be described as "X as a Service".

As for the HaaS / IaaS question - the term was originally coined by Nick Carr back in Mar'06. I can appreciate from a marketing point of view that some people may wish to change the discussion to IaaS ... I happen to disagree with the reinvention of the term. Overall though I would be happy if there could be consensus - the problem is we have the same concepts floating around with different terms.

Thank you for your comment on my blog, I'm sorry if I seemed a little bit terse in my original post.

BTW. Good blog, interesting questions - particular the SaaS security challenge.