Reinventing The Meaning Of IaaS

My path to rewriting what IaaS should stand for began rather innocuously on LinkedIn.

I was perusing LinkedIn Today (you know, the day’s top news, tailored for me), and I ran across an interesting blog post about online search that cited a piece of Forrester Research. So, I made my way over to the Forrester site to take a gander at the report.

While I was there, I realized I had been ignoring a research task on my to-do list, and since I had taken the time to surf to Forrester, I recognized that I could knock that task out pretty quickly if I focused on it instead.

In my search for some cloud material, I stumbled upon another report that, on the face of it, doesn’t sound incredibly earth-shattering (my apologies to the creative teams who entitle research reports): Optimize IT Infrastructure Around Key Workloads. As I started reading it, I was amazed how this seemingly run-of-the-mill piece of research recalled so many of the frustrations I hear from IT folks and line of business users.

Long story short, the analyst says that we’ve siloed IT by function – network teams who don’t talk to server teams who don’t talk to storage teams. These teams identify and purchase technology based on technical specifications in their area of expertise, as opposed to building solutions based on what the business is trying to accomplish. The upshot of this is that business users have unintegrated and complex choices when they need to build infrastructure to support a business need – and if the solution doesn’t work, the siloed technology teams engage in rounds of finger-pointing before the problems are solved. That’s a bad model, right?

That’s part of the reason the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is getting so much attention from business buyers. It presents server, storage, and (sometimes) networking solutions that already work together.  And, even better, it abstracts technology away from end-users so they don’t even have to know what the servers are or how the storage works. So, business buyers are excited about IaaS.

Since the IT world is already rife with acronyms and technical jargon that most people don’t really understand anyway, I think we should take the opportunity to change the definition of IaaS. Let’s instead start saying it means “IT as a Solution.” Then, when people come to IT with any problem, you can propose IaaS. It also offers you the chance to abstract technology away from end users – IT can transform from an organization that buys servers or creates specs for applications to an organization that builds solutions based on the needs of the business.

I realize that it won’t be easy to change the definition of IaaS.. But isn’t it worth a try? How would you define Iaas?
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