As if the acronym avalanche isn’t bad enough as it is, now acronyms have invaded the cloud. It’s not their fault, though — it’s so overcrowded down here they really had no place else to go but up.
BTW, FYI, we use acronyms all the time. We have abandoned COAX connections and need a fast Wi-Fi connection ASAP. We talk to our BFFs about PDAs (both the technology and personal kind), use SOAP and WSDLs to access data and resources, and read FAQs when we are trying to figure things out. Those of us in the business use HTML, XML, AJAX (the programming controls, not the cleaner) and always need more ROM. We create GIFs and JPEGs, read PDF documents and listen to MP3s, all while streaming HD video.
Enter the cloud. New services, and therefore acronyms, are being born every day in this brave new world. Even the applications running in the cloud are known by their acronyms. Do you speak cloud?
Here are a few cloud acronyms and the services and applications they belong to. Some you may recognize. Others, perhaps not so much.
SaaS: Software as a Service. You are probably most familiar with this one. In an SaaS environment, applications are provided for free or for a fee running on a cloud infrastructure. Examples include email applications, such as Gmail and HotMail, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Other common examples are SalesForce.com and Microsoft Office Online.
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service. With IaaS, resources like CPUs, storage, and networking are provided as a service. Instead of buying an external disk drive to store all your pictures, for example, you either purchase or receive complementary storage space as part of Picasa (an SaaS application) and the storage is IaaS. If you use Google Docs or Amazon Cloud Player, you are taking advantage of both SaaS and IaaS. Another example of an IaaS environment is the Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) offering.
TaaS: Tools as a Service/Testing as a Service. If you are using any development tool or resource, such as a programming IDE or a database that is not installed on your local machine, you are using Tools as a Service. Citrix has been providing this kind of service, along with SaaS applications like GoToMeeting, for some time. If you are working in a QA role, you may be familiar with Testing as a Service. In this model, your test suites, QA tools, and load simulation capabilities, among others, are provided in the cloud.
PaaS: Platform as a Service. In this case, programming platforms and tools (such as java or .NET) and all the resources needed to develop a cloud-based application are provided as a single, integrated service. PaaS is really a combination of SaaS, IaaS, and TaaS, wrapped into a single offering. In this scenario, software and tools needed for development are rarely installed locally. The entire development environment is provided as a service. PaaS provides the capability to develop, test, and deploy cloud-based applications solely in the cloud. Microsoft Azure, Quickbase from Quicken, and Force.com from SalesForce.com are all PaaS environments.