Why Are There So Many "as a Service" Providers?

Although NIST listed three service models1, there is no requirement to adhere to their definitions. For example, David Linthicum2 refers to the various "_____ as a Service" as Components of Coud Computing. His model is more detailed:
  1. Storage as a Service
  2. Database as a Service
  3. Information as a Service
  4. Process as a Service
  5. Application as a Service
  6. Platform as a Service
  7. Integration as a Service
  8. Security as a Service
  9. Management/Governance as a Service
  10. Testing as a Service
  11. Infrastructure as a Service

In Linthicum's model, Application as a Service is the same as NIST's Software as a Service. Both Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service are the same as defined by NIST. David describes these components well and provides a model of how they interact.

Some other exmaples that I have seen:

  • Data as a Service
  • Operations as a Service
  • Network as a Service (various definitions)
  • IT as a Service
  • Everything as a Service
  • API as a Service
  • ESB as a Service
  • Email as a Service
  • Disaster Recovery as a Service
  • Telepresence as a Service
  • Authentication as a Service
  • Identity as a Service
  • Backend as a Service
  • Commerce as a Service

... and there are more. There is nothing to stop any person or organization from creating their own "_____ as a Service" definition. Such definitions could be an evolution in the conceptualization of Cloud Computing or they could be simply marketing terms. It is is important to look beyond the "_____ as a Service" term and understand exactly what is offered.


  1. Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). See NIST Definition of Cloud Computing.
  2. Linthicum, David S., Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide, Addison-Wesley Professional.

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The Savvy Manager's Guide

Douglas K Barry is also the author of a book that explains Web Services, service-oriented architecture, and Cloud Computing in an easy-to-understand, non-technical manner.

Web Services, Service-Oriented Architectures, and Cloud Computing: The Savvy Manager's Guide

Web Services, Service-Oriented Architectures, and Cloud Computing: The Savvy Manager's Guide (Second Edition)

by with David Dick

This is a guide for the savvy manager who wants to capitalize on the wave of change that is occurring with Web Services, service-oriented architecture, and—more recently—Cloud Computing. The changes wrought by these technologies will require both a basic grasp of the technologies and an effective way to deal with how these changes will affect the people who build and use the systems in our organizations. This book covers both issues. Managers at all levels of all organizations must be aware of both the changes that we are now seeing and ways to deal with issues created by those changes.