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Infinitely Virtual 2018 Predictions: The Year XaaS Ran Out of Gas

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Adam Stern, founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual

2018: The Year XaaS Ran Out of Gas

Why the 'As-A-Service' Model Works So Well For Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has a way of changing not just technology, but the entire way we do business. Such is the case with the lightning-quick development of the As-a-Service (aaS) model. It seems like overnight, XaaS has changed how numerous industries are running - from sales to transportation, and everything in between. In the aaS rabbit hole, we've moved far beyond software and data delivery. It seems as if aaS is becoming a preferred method of moving through life... As one executive noted, XaaS is becoming a mind-set as much as it is a strategy. For as society that moves fast and likes to keep its options open for the next big thing, XaaS is the perfect solution.  - Forbes (6-2-17) 

Whew.  I'm certainly out of breath.

But Forbes isn't stuck on any kind of a limb.  Here's what Accenture says of XaaS:  "There's a new era of service delivery and you don't want to be left behind.  Now's the time to transition to as-a-Service'... to innovate faster, drive revenue and reduce costs." 

TechTarget likes what it sees, too: "What is XaaS (anything as a service)? 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."

Call me a curmudgeon but I'm considerably less smitten with XaaS, which, as an organizing model for IT and cloud computing, doesn't merely suffer from diminishing returns.  It epitomizes no returns.  Since this is a post about 2018 predictions, here's mine: a year from now, XaaS will be on fumes.  Life support.  Kaput.

How do I know?  A few weeks ago, I stumbled on to "TaaS."  Yes, "Technology as a Service."  Boggles the mind; it could just as well be Parody as a Service.  It isn't a matter of being snarky to diss this pointless acronym stew.  These initials hamstring the creativity of the people who are devising needed services.  As an industry, we're trying to solve business problems, and that should be far more important than figuring out which bucket anyone fits into.  2018 will be the year when we realize that it's ridiculous to silo off these industries and sub-industries - and when we finally stop feeding a new cottage industry comprised of initials that classify everything.  Meanwhile, actual solutions are becoming so varied and so interconnected that no snappy, four-letter template will be capable of describing, differentiating and housing actual deliverables.

The drive to reduce and simplify (and, dare we say, "dumb down"?) is being driven by a combination of marketing gurus who are unfamiliar with the technology and industry analysts who believe  everything can be plotted on a two-dimensional graph. Service providers are trying to deliver products that don't necessarily fit the mold, so it's ultimately pointless to squeeze technologies into two or three dimensions. These emerging solutions are just much more nuanced than that.

We make an assumption that one infrastructure service company is the same as another, and that because they're IaaS, they all must do the exact same thing, their feature sets are interchangeable, and the underlying architecture is immaterial.  The message is, it doesn't matter what equipment they're using; it doesn't matter what choice you make.

But in fact it does. Never mind the analysts; cloud computing is not a commodity business.  And never mind the Street; investors and Certain Others fervently want it to be a commodity, but because those Certain Others go by the name of Microsoft and Amazon, fuzzing the story won't fly.  They want to grab business on price and make scads of money on volume (which they are).  They win with one-size-fits all (read: XaaS).

The devil really is in the details.  There are literally hundreds of decisions to make when architecting a solution, and those choices mean that every solution is not a commodity.  Decisions about storage and compute horsepower and hybrid vs. private (or not), VMware or open source, fibre channel or snapshot backup versus copying data somewhere else.  One is not an identical replacement for another, and while solution providers check off many of the same boxes, that doesn't make solutions (or solution providers) equivalent.

The sooner we finish off the alphabet soup, the sooner we can get to the meat of the matter.  Digital transformation, if it's to happen, won't emerge from some marketing contrivance, but from technologies that make cloud computing more secure, more accessible and more cost-effective.

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About the Author

Adam Stern 

Adam Stern is founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual (www.infinitelyvirtual.com -- @IV_CloudHosting) in Los Angeles.  Stern is an entrepreneur who saw the value of virtualization and cloud computing nearly a decade ago. His company helps businesses move from obsolete hardware investments to an IaaS [Infrastructure as a Service] cloud platform, providing them the flexibility and scalability to transition select data operations from in-house to the cloud.

Published Friday, December 15, 2017 8:10 AM by David Marshall
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Infinity Virtual Blogs » Infinitely Virtual 2018 Predictions: The Year XaaS Ran Out of Gas - (Author's Link) - July 12, 2018 6:50 PM
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