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Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet.
SaaS is becoming an increasingly prevalent delivery model as underlying technologies that support Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) mature and new developmental approaches, such as Ajax, become popular. Meanwhile, broadband service has become increasingly available to support user access from more areas around the world.
SaaS is closely related to the ASP (application service provider) and on demand computing software delivery models. IDC identifies two slightly different delivery models for SaaS. The hosted application management (hosted AM) model is similar to ASP: a provider hosts commercially available software for customers and delivers it over the Web. In the software on demand model, the provider gives customers network-based access to a single copy of an application created specifically for SaaS distribution.
The traditional model of software distribution, in which software is purchased for and installed on personal computers, is sometimes referred to as software as a product.
Infrastructure as a Service is a provision model in which an organization outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it. The client typically pays on a per-use basis.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a way to rent hardware, operating systems, storage and network capacity over the Internet. The service delivery model allows the customer to rent virtualized servers and associated services for running existing applications or developing and testing new ones.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is an outgrowth of Software as a Service (SaaS), a software distribution model in which hosted software applications are made available to customers over the Internet. PaaS has several advantages for developers. With PaaS, operating system features can be changed and upgraded frequently. Geographically distributed development teams can work together on software development projects. Services can be obtained from diverse sources that cross international boundaries. Initial and ongoing costs can be reduced by the use of infrastructure services from a single vendor rather than maintaining multiple hardware facilities that often perform duplicate functions or suffer from incompatibility problems. Overall expenses can also be minimized by unification of programming development efforts.
On the downside, PaaS involves some risk of "lock-in" if offerings require proprietary service interfaces or development languages. Another potential pitfall is that the flexibility of offerings may not meet the needs of some users whose requirements rapidly evolve.
XaaS is a collective term said to stand for a number of things including "X as a service," "anything as a service" or "everything as a service." The acronym refers to an increasing number of services that are delivered over the Internet rather than provided locally or on-site. XaaS is the essence of cloud computing.
The most common examples of XaaS are Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The combined use of these three is sometimes referred to as the SPI model (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS). Other examples of XaaS include storage as a service (SaaS), communications as a service (CaaS), network as a service (NaaS) and monitoring as a service (MaaS).
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