Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Caveat emptor ...

In a blatant attempt to add more wickedness into the world of aaS ("as a Service"), I thought I'd create the pointless terms of PaaS? and PaaSee (I hate the acronym wars anyway).

So here are my two new definitions:-

PaaS? (Product as a Service?): A PaaS? vendor, is a vendor who has not yet quite grasped that a utility-like service world is only suitable for those activities which are well defined and ubiquitous. As such, competition should be based on price and quality of service (service differentiation) rather than features (product differentiation). Without an ecosystem of vendors competing around the provision of an open sourced standard (i.e. an operational open sourced reference model of what it to be provided), then consumers will be faced with serious strategic concerns regarding second sourcing, security and competitive pricing which will in turn increase the barriers to adoption of this new technology. Due to this lack of understanding, PaaS? vendors attempt to bring their products into the service world with little or no thought regarding the questions of interoperability, portability and competitive ecosystems. PaaS? vendors tend to focus on:-

  • The innovative benefits of their Product as a Service : the reality is that any componentisation of the IT stack will create such benefits.
  • The competitive advantage that their Product as a Service brings : the reality is that as the activity in question is ubiquitous (i.e. suitable for utility-like service provision) then there will be little or no strategic value in the service as it is more of a cost of doing business.
  • The ability to customise their Product as a Service: the reality is that customisation, new features and any activity which shifts away from a core reference model of the service will decrease interoperability and portability. The strategic gain for a consumer of customisation of a ubiquitous activity is likely to be far less than the strategic loss caused by a lack of second sourcing.

PaaS? vendors are obviously clueless and not to be trusted with your data.

PaaSee (Product as a Service - extremely evil): A PaaSee vendor is one who is well aware of the commoditisation of IT and the shift to services for ubiquitous activities and hence is actively attempting to bring lock-in into a service world in order to protect and maxmimise revenues until such time as they forced to change their behaviour. PaaSee vendors assume that business consumers of IT lack the strategic wit to see the game that is being played and they are quite willing to sell your grandmother to turn an extra buck. PaaSee vendors are definitely not to be trusted with your data.

So what should a budding adventurer in the world of cloud computing do? Simple, unless you have marketplace of service providers with interoperability and portability between them, then make sure you have a plan for a complete loss of service.