Are cloud labels becoming arbitrary?

The lines between cloud computing terms are being blurred.

As different sections of IT are being on demand by the cloud, the technology has amassed a number of terms that can be applied to it. Businesses will already be aware of phrases like infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS).

Yet as the cloud has matured, the lines have been blurred as to what each of these titles entail and which of these each cloud service comes under.

Now experts in the industry are beginning to feel that these titles are becoming arbitrary and are beginning to replace them with terms like X as a service (XaaS), which broadly means "anything as a service".

Even Gartner has created an umbrella term to cover the cross-functionality between cloud products, which is has titled cloud enabled systems infrastructure (CESI).

A recent whitepaper from Dot Net Solutions stated that mature cloud services should no longer be looked at in terms of where they function within businesses' IT processes, how they can be defined and where they reside.

The study stated: "Interdependence, cross-functionality and compartmentalisation mean that the borders between PaaS, IaaS, CESI and XaaS and are either becoming meaninglessly flimsy or just irrelevant. It's more useful to frame a cloud service as functionality procured and run by a third party. Doing so will ease management complexity and improve transparency."

It goes on to explain that by focusing on where services sit in relation to existing terms, businesses are slowing down processes for IT procurement. They get absorbed by technicalities rather than how they can reap the benefits of the cloud product.

Dan Scarfe of Dot Net Solutions explained in a recent blog that Gartner's new term, CESI, could benefit from the adoption of cloud computing moving forward as "it describes a model of cloud consumption which is truly friction free".

This will help businesses to adopt cloud more easily moving forward as they procure new processes. Dot Net Solution's report explained: "As with any emerging technology, what propels adoption best is compelling use cases backed by demonstrable evidence."