Do you need Xaas?

Is Xaas is a dangerous delusion?  I had intended to label this little piece of commentary, ‘Why the details matter far more than you realise’, but I digress.

In the increasingly technical world in which we live and work, I see a growing tendency for broad brush stroke explanations being used to obfuscate detail involved in the running and maintenance of services we are beginning to consider to be ubiquitously available.

It started with email, website hosting, and more recently I’ve begun to notice the creep into both storage and database deployment [Saas, PaaS, IaaS, etc.].

One possible argument in support of this entails statements such as, ‘this is an indicator of maturing technology’ or ‘ it’s commoditisation of expertise’, wherein the proponent often asserts that implementation, and management are ‘easy’. What you can’t really get away from is the need to have someone sufficiently skilled at understanding how to integrate your operations into the Xaas product in question.

Assisting in driving this trend are the technology companies who seem to have re-invented all manner of things ‘as-a-service’, the Xaas sales people are running exactly these lines today.

In actuality what this little piece of linguistic tomfoolery likely means, is that they finally figured out their pricing models are broken, and that the TCO of their product is hard to manage or fully understand, ergo who better to install, operate, manage, and support their insert-product-of-choice than their own teams, be they architects, administrators or developers.

Of course, there is nothing new to the fact that the best suited people to running a system are the creators and tinkerers who put it together; it’s the selling it as the next ‘best thing since sliced bread’ which is the illusion.




One thought on “Do you need Xaas?

  1. Matthew Skelton (@matthewpskelton)

    A classic example of “PaaS is the answer” can be found over at ZDnet by Tom Mornini of Engine Yard:

    “The appeal of the DevOps model fades even further when you consider the fact that there is a better option! You can achieve the intended benefits of DevOps without any of the turmoil by taking advantage of Platform-as-a-Service offerings, or PaaS.”

    So, PaaS avoid all complications of release cycles, team collaboration, complex diagnostics sessions, and the rest? I think not; building non-trivial, reliable computer systems is *hard*, and no XaaS is going to act as a magic potion and make it easy.


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