MaaS confusion: "As-a-service" gets out of hand

Four words: Marshmallows as a service.

While researching this story on cloud computing and management, I was reintroduced to the term “management-as-a-service,” and I had to laugh.

In a predictable abuse of the latest buzzword, just about everything tech-related is now offered “as-a-service.” You’ve got your original software-as-a-service, which is legit enough to have its own Research Center here at Network World. SaaS is something like Gmail, where you get your software application (in this case email) via Web browser access.

But there is also platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). With PaaS, you get to create apps within a certain environment. An example would be Facebook, which lets you create apps to plug into the Facebook platform. With IaaS, you have control over the software completely, but the supporting hardware and software are taken care of by a provider. An example of IaaS is Amazon Web Services.

That brings me to MaaS. Management-as-a-service is the management of your network and systems, presented to you in Web form. In a sense, it’s a specialized version of SaaS, where the first “S” involved is management software.

But if you google MaaS, you can get lost pretty quickly. Actually, you can’t just google “MaaS,” because that brings up this MAAS, though it is nice to finally find a shine that lasts.

So, I google “maas as a service,” which yields monitoring-as-a-service. This seems to be at least part of the management equation, as it refers to monitoring your software in the cloud. But the search also yields:

  • Mashups as a service
  • MailMarshal as a service
  • Marketing as a service
  • Money as a service (I like the sound of that)
  • Method as a service
  • Modeling as a service
  • Migration as a service
  • Malware as a service (for you black hats out there)
  • Mobility as a service
  • Maximo as a service
  • Music as a service
  • Manufacturing as a service
  • Messaging as a service
  • Measurements as a service
  • Marketplace as a service
  • Media as a service

In short, just about every noun that begins with the letter “M” has been made into a service of some kind.

There’s probably something magical about the letter M, something that cries out for selling M things on an as-needed basis. (Wait, “magical”… What about “Magic as a Service”?!)

But it’s more likely that this whole “as-a-service” thing is a little out of hand, and it makes me wonder if management-as-a-service can exist under the “MaaS” label, or if it’s going to have to find another name.

More on all this in the Guide to Cloud Management Software

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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