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The Rise of Everything as-a-Service (XaaS)

The transition toward the “as-a-service” model has been underway for years, but it’s accelerated in the last couple of years. 

Disruptions due to shutdowns and the complexity of rapidly enabling a remote workforce have created the need for flexible IT solutions. To keep up in today’s rapidly changing environment, organizations need solutions that enable them to create new business processes, products, and services. As a result, adoption of the everything-as-a-service (XaaS) model is increasing.

Before XaaS, businesses were often constrained by legacy IT systems and traditional business processes. Now 80% of XaaS adopters say that the pandemic has accelerated their shift from traditional IT to XaaS. It’s enabled them to find alternative solutions to survive in uncharted waters. 

So what is XaaS? In this article, we’ll look at what the XaaS model is, why it’s on the rise, its benefits, and some traditional and emerging ways that businesses can benefit from implementing XaaS.

What Is the Everything-as-a-Service Model?

Organizations have always needed newer, better, faster hardware and software to stay relevant and to meet employee and customer needs. In the past, this typically meant having to make major CAPEX investments every few years to update software and purchase new IT infrastructure.

Everything as a service (also known as “anything as a service”) is a general category of cloud-based solutions that are deployed remotely and can be accessed on demand. XaaS can be delivered in several ways, including:

  • Private on-premises offerings (i.e., managed in your own data center)
  • Hosted by a service provider
  • In the public cloud
  • A combination of on-premises and public cloud offerings (hybrid cloud) 

XaaS offerings have been expanding and now deliver a wide variety of products, tools, and technologies. Almost any IT functionality can be offered as a service. Users pay for services in a flexible subscription model rather than as an outright purchase. Former CAPEX costs transition to more flexible OPEX investments. 

With XaaS, businesses can significantly reduce operational costs, access new and advanced technologies more quickly, and gain greater control over their IT infrastructure.

Common XaaS Offerings

The following are some common XaaS solutions, as well as how they work: 

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a service is one of the pioneering “as-a-service” models. In this model, vendors offer cloud-based software that is available by subscription. 

SaaS is one of the most commonly used cloud computing models. It’s become less expensive as adoption has increased. SaaS is highly scalable, easy to use, and easy to manage. Since the software doesn’t have to be downloaded and physically installed on individual machines, it’s a popular option for facilitating distributed teams. Popular examples of SaaS offerings include FreshBooks, Dropbox, and Microsoft Office 365.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a service is a cloud-based platform solution that provides a framework for developers to create, run, and manage software without having to maintain the underlying development platform. It also allows developers to build, test, and deploy applications in the same environment. Core PaaS services usually include development tools, middleware, operating systems, database management, and infrastructure.

The use of platform-as-a-service offerings is rising steadily as businesses look to modernize their legacy applications with cloud-native capabilities. Gartner reports that during 2021, the PaaS market is expected to grow by 26.6% as more organizations adopt cloud platforms to provide high-performing, scalable infrastructure for their remote teams. Common examples of PaaS include Google App Engine and OpenShift.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a cloud service that allows businesses to rent or lease IT infrastructure components, including computing infrastructure, processing power, and storage on an as-needed basis. 

Third-party providers own and operate the data centers where the physical infrastructure is stored. Organizations can benefit from the “as-a-service model” while maintaining greater control over their software and hardware.

Companies today are looking to IaaS to modernize processes, invest in cloud-native development, and refactor apps to achieve cloud optimization. Well-known examples of IaaS include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Storage as a Service (STaaS)

Storage as a service is a managed service that provides application, data, and backup storage systems in the cloud. The use of STaaS is expected to increase from 40% in 2020 to over 70% by 2025 since businesses see it as a cost-effective alternative to traditional physical storage and backup methods. 

STaaS facilitates easier adherence to compliance requirements for storage like GDPR and HIPAA, better scalability and performance, and the elimination of the costs associated with physical storage and traditional backup models

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from STaaS. Some service providers offer compliant data centers, which makes it easier for businesses to adhere to HIPAA and GDPR data protection regulations. Organizations can also benefit from technologies like AI and ML, data management services, and analytical tools that are often included in subscription packages.

StaaS can be delivered on-premises with infrastructure dedicated to a single customer or via the public cloud as a shared service. Typical offerings include storage capacity, network file systems, storage objects, and storage applications that facilitate file sharing and backups. Examples of STaaS include Pure Storage Pure as-a-Service™ and Pure Cloud Block Store™.

Benefits of the XaaS Model

XaaS offers several benefits for organizations that want to deliver new and innovative solutions faster:

  • Reduced, Predictable Expenses. XaaS allows businesses to turn capital expenses into predictable monthly operating expenses, lowering the cost of ownership. In most cases, the service provider buys and maintains the infrastructure. As a result, XaaS helps reduce overhead, staffing, and maintenance costs. Businesses no longer need to spend more on computing power and storage in anticipation of future needs because they can provision and pay for these components as needed. 
  • Greater Agility. The XaaS model gives businesses greater agility to develop innovative solutions that meet changing market conditions or take advantage of new opportunities. Companies can quickly customize technology environments to respond to customer or employee needs. 
  • More Efficient Use of the IT Team’s Time. Because XaaS is partially or fully managed by the service provider, it takes some of the pressure off of in-house IT resources. With admin tasks moved to the service provider, organizations can streamline operations to focus IT resources on higher-value projects. 
  • Better Backup and Disaster Recovery Planning. A comprehensive data backup and recovery plan is critical with cybersecurity threats and ransomware attacks on the rise. XaaS solutions can play an integral part in ensuring that your business can continue operations during a disaster.
  • Use of Data. With access to unlimited storage capacity, businesses can store data for long periods of time. This gives them the ability to analyze historical and current data trends to make better business decisions, enhance customer experience, and capitalize on emerging trends to gain a competitive advantage. 

One final benefit to consider is the limitation of risk XaaS service offerings can provide. With an IaaS offering, for example, the service provider is responsible for managing the servers, networking capabilities, virtualization, and storage used by your infrastructure. You’re still responsible for the operating systems, middleware, applications, and data. If issues arise in any other components, the provider is responsible for handling them. This limits your overall risk exposure, as well as the potential headaches associated with system maintenance and support.

XaaS and Innovation

The move to XaaS may have accelerated recently, but most businesses were already looking to reduce costs, eliminate redundancies, and improve agility and efficiency. 

The digitization trend is opening larger market opportunities for businesses to reach customers. But, it’s also creating greater competition. Organizations must continue to innovate and take advantage of these opportunities. Their ability to innovate rests in part on their ability to scale IT resources up or down without making long-term commitments to capital expenditures.

XaaS can help facilitate this innovation. It’s likely to become a necessity rather than not a nice to have as more services are delivered via the cloud and digital technologies like AI, ML, and IoT are more integrated. XaaS offerings can help CIOs and IT leaders prioritize productivity gains and new growth opportunities while also creating greater cohesion between IT and business units. 

How Pure Storage Delivers STaaS

Replacing a costly CAPEX model with a managed STaaS model can help you reduce costs, simplify finances, and free up IT resources. Pure Storage® offers two options that give you the flexibility and agility you need for an effective storage solution:

  • Pure as-a-Service is a simple, flexible subscription model designed with the flexibility of the public cloud and the resiliency and security of private-cloud infrastructure. Ramp up capacity as needed with a subscription tailored to your organization’s needs.
  • Pure Cloud Block Store offers seamless data mobility, data protection, and a consistent experience in AWS and Microsoft Azure.


Not sure which solution is right for your needs? Reach out today for more information or to get a pricing estimate.

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