Operations-as-a-Service (or IaaS + PaaS + SMEs)

I’d been holding out a bit on writing this as it really is a synthesis of ideas (aren’t they all) with special mention of dialogue with Jeffrey Papen of Peak Hosting (www.peakwebhosting.com)…

I’ve been collaborating and speaking extensively with Jeffrey on the next phase of “hosting” since we are now moving beyond the hype cycle of “Cloud Computing” (see previous post on “The end of the Cloud Era”).  The community at large (and people in general) love the idea of simple, bite sized “solutions” with pithy and “sexy” naming conventions (think <30sec sound bites) and that was the promise/expectation around “the cloud” as it was popularized – a magic all in one solution whereby you just add applications and the “cloud” will do the rest. Yet, the promise never quite met expectations as the “cloud” really ended up being an open standards evolution of “virtualization” – nothing wrong with that, just not the “all in one” solution that people really wanted the cloud to be (ps – all in one refers to the aforementioned of applications just being pushed thru APIs to the “cloud” and the “cloud” manages all underlying resources).

So, as the Cloud Hype dissipates (love the metaphor), we are sorta back to the same basic elements that make up Infrastructure – Datacetners, Compute (IT), Communications (switches/routers), Software that manages it all (virtualization, cloud, etc), all accessible thru the to be built APIs.  Put another way, we are coming full circle and back to centralized, on-demand computing that needs one more element to make it all work – Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

I was inspired to write this today when I saw this post from Hitachi: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9226920/Hitachi_launches_all_in_one_data_center_service – “Japanese conglomerate Hitachi on Monday launched a new data center business that includes everything from planning to construction to IT support.  Hitachi said its new “GNEXT Facility & IT Management Service” will cover consulting on environmental and security issues, procurement and installation of power, cooling and security systems, and ongoing hardware maintenance. It will expand to include outsourcing services for software engineers and support for clearing regulatory hurdles and certifications.”  This is the comprehensive “build to suit” solutions the market has been seeking since the cloud – it includes everything to get your infrastructure building blocks right and is provided as a service – but what do we call this service????

How about “Operations-as-a-Service“!!


OaaS pulls together the elements in IaaS + PaaS + SMEs.  It outsources the “plumbing” to those that can make it far more cost effective thru economies of scale.  Sure, there are a select few companies who will do this all in house: Google, eBay, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple (trying), and of course, Zynga.  Yet, these companies are at such massive scale that it makes sense – and yet, they even have excess (at least they should) capacity which is why AWS was born in the first place and we are now seeing Zynga open up to allow gamers to use their platform (see: http://www.pocketgamer.biz/r/PG.Biz/Zynga+news/news.asp?c=38455).  Yet these are the exceptions and not the rule.

The rest of the world should and is seeking comprehensive, end-to-end Operations as a Service provided by single vendors.  It doesn’t preclude the market place from buying discreet parts of OaaS individually, however, the dominant companies that will begin to emerge in this next decade will seek to add more and more of the OaaS solutions set to their product list thereby catalyzing a lot (I mean a lot) of consolidation.

I will be following up this blog with a more detailed look at how this concept is playing out, yet in the mean time would very much like to hear the feed back on this topic – is the world looking for OaaS?



9 thoughts on “Operations-as-a-Service (or IaaS + PaaS + SMEs)

  1. This should be interesting to watch. The data center developer world is getting very complex (electrical/mechanical innovations are on the increase while overall power consumption is increasing) placing ever more importance on dynamic innovation and collaboration. Larger enterprises haven’t been as collaborative, and most wholesale data center developers use a “one design fits all” approach, much to the chagrin of innovative enterprises AND local communities (like Quincy, WA).

  2. Pingback: Operations-as-a-Service (or IaaS + PaaS + SMEs) | DCIM DataCenter Infrastructure and Critical Facility News

  3. Richard,

    This is something I am researching for my company. Our Shared Services organization is supporting an ever-increasing number of Major Investment initiatives that are stretching our engineering and operations resources thin. Stelligent, a company headed up by Continuous Integration author Paul Duvall, has an Elastic Operations service that is very interesting. They have taken the Continuous Integration and Delivery concepts and implemented them using a collection of open source tools. My goal is to achieve a fully automated Continuous Delivery capability that I can eventually move back in-house for most systems, but still leverage elastic engineering resources during peaks in project demand. Information about the Elastic Operations service can be found at the following link. http://www.stelligent.com/solutions/elastic-operations.

    I am looking forward to hear what you find on this.

    • Hi Rodney:

      Thanks for posting and thanks for the cool link – love to read up on new tech and approaches to OaaS. I am very, very intrigued by their notion of “elastic operations” as it appears that this firm approaches this as an amalgam of “at-home support” ala DirecTV + seasoned engineers + crowd sourcing + proprietary work flow engine (I think that might be their secret sauce). Regardless, will dig into it and see what I come up with – however, my first/gut reaction is that you can automate the heck out of work flow, but you can’t automate “expertise” & “experience” – that is where this model will be challenged. If you think of automating the medical practice, you fall into same trap – this will be the short coming of OaaS until we can make the underlying infrastructure irrelevant (that will take some time).

      • Richard,
        I totally agree with your concerns. The scope of my solution is limited to Technical not Business Operations. I have a need for DevOps based Application Lifecycle Management sourcing. This limits the complexity to a standard set of Continuous Delivery workflows.

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