We love acronyms in IT, see, we even define ourselves by one.
Sometimes we try to be cute with them and make words out of them: RADIUS – Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service.
Sometimes we create acronyms that enter the popular lexicon as words without people realising that they are acronyms:
- LAN – Local area network
- RAM – Random Access Memory
Sometimes we get all wrapped up using the same acronym for multiple meanings.
In recent weeks I’ve found myself involved in multiple conversations about DaaS, which is pronounced “DAS”, generally with a hard-“A” (like the detergent), but sometimes with a kind of confused stutter as people try to pronounce both “A”s.
(This is one of those acronyms where saying the letters – D-a-a-S – is nearly as long as saying the meanings, and neither is very comfortable to say.)
Anyway, getting back to the point, DaaS, what does it mean? Well, it depends. It has a different meaning in different contexts, which, personally I find infuriating, especially as a couple of the contexts are quite similar.
DaaS #1 – Desktop-as-a-Service
I think that this one can claim to have been around the longest. It refers to the provision of virtual desktops as a pay-per-use service.
Lots of organisations use virtual desktop service, what makes this as-a-Service is that it’s delivered by a cloud infrastructure. AWS, Microsoft and VMware all have Desktop-as-a-Service offerings which you can purchase and use without the need for any internal capabilities.
DaaS #2 – Device-as-a-Service
Really, yes, “Device-as-a-Service” is different to “Desktop-as-a-Service”.
Device-as-a-Service has absolutely nothing to do with virtual desktops, it’s all about physical devices. If you’ve had a mobile phone contract which included the phone hardware then you’ve used something similar to Device-as-a-Service, you paid a monthly fee for the device in the expectation of certain services. Managing a large estate of devices is a complicated thing to do and adds little value to most organisations. Creating an arrangement with a third party to lease devices and let them manage the inventory gives them the problem, but also, potentially, allows your organisation more flexibility.
DaaS #3 – Data-as-a-Service
Once upon a time Microsoft produced an interactive encyclopedia application called Encarta, it shipped on a set of CDs and later DVDs. To get access to the data you needed to buy and use the application, the two were bundled together. The internet changed all of that and Encarta became obsolete in 2009.
The internet as a data source also made obsolete the need for applications to own the embedded data. Lots of applications now use data that comes from other sources, sometimes that data is given away, sometimes it’s provided on an as-a-Service basis where people pay to use it. In some industries bureau have been set up to provide this data to the people willing to pay for it, one example of this is the credit check agencies who take the various sources of data about our financial situation, analyse it, and provide the results back to the financial institutions.
So there you have it, the same four letters, three different meanings.
I suppose that I ought to go now and use my DaaS provided equipment to access a DaaS so that I can use my application that gets its data from a DaaS source.