Writing for Semiconductor Engineering, Ernest Worthman notes that the Cloud-centric concept of Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) hopes to simplify everything from cutting-edge business to consumer applications.
“On the consumer side, it promises to take everything from your recipe book to your daily programs and the slew of applications and move them to the Cloud,” Worthman explained.
“[However], the implications are much more significant for business, namely where the focus is on ROI. And XaaS doesn’t restrict the business to just intellectual property businesses such as consulting, legal firms, or other businesses where the value is typically blue sky. Every business can benefit from XaaS — or so the pundits say.”
According to Worthman, there are currently two very visible players in the Cloud-based XaaS domain: Microsoft (Office 360) and Intuit (Quicken).
“Like any new venue, it takes time for the platform to mature. Experience will reshape the applications as time passes, to be Cloud agile, and many of the issues that exist with the software will be resolved,” Worthman opined. “But there are issues with simply putting applications made to run on dedicated local machines on Cloud clusters.”
Indeed, the notion of shifting everything to the Cloud has prompted analysts to pose a slew of questions, ranging from bandwidth issues to security concerns.
“QuickBooks seems to be prevailing as a service, in part simply for business model reasons rather than technical ones,” Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist of Rambus’ Cryptography Research Division, told Semiconductor Engineering. “To a [security-minded] individual, that can be frightening.”
As Kocher points out, when one examines the security issues around a service that aggregates everyone’s data, the risks tend to be the sum of all of the participant’s information.
“It may seem these concentrated places, such as in the Cloud, have greater security resources than any typical, individual distributed locations,” he continued. “[However], it turns out that such concentrations actually become very attractive to all sorts of attackers, upping the ante for top-level security profiles.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Worthman points out that security was “never near” the top of the XaaS business model.
“[Yet], that is something that has to change if XaaS is going to work the way the advocates envision it,” he added.
The full text of Ernest Worthan’s “Anything As A Service” is available on SemiEngineering here.