Illustration of glossary of 13 SaaS acronyms you need to know

13 SaaS Acronyms You Need to Know

As software as a service (SaaS) grows in popularity and increasingly replaces packaged software, there is often confusion over SaaS-related terminology.  We’ve put together this handy guide of 13 SaaS acronyms you need to know.

1. Software as a Service (SaaS)

A method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription rather than bought and installed on individual computers.

2. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. IaaS is one of the three main categories of cloud computing services, alongside software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).

In the IaaS model, the cloud provider manages IT infrastructures such as storage, server and networking resources, and delivers them to subscriber organizations via virtual machines that are accessible via the internet.

3. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS specifically provides a platform for customers to develop, run, and manage applications without building and maintaining the cloud infrastructure required to develop and launch an app.

PaaS can be delivered in three different formats:

  • As a cloud service from the provider. In this configuration, the customer controls software deployment with minimal configuration options. The Platform as a Service provider supplies the networking, servers, storage, operating system (OS), middleware (e.g. – Java runtime, .NET runtime, integration, etc.), database and other services to host the consumer’s application.
  • As a private service (software or appliance) behind a firewall.
  • As software deployed on public infrastructure as a service such as AWS.

4. Storage as a Service (STaaS)

Have you ever used Dropbox or Google Drive? Those are two of the most popular examples of storage as a service (STaaS). In a sense, storage as a service is best seen as a subset of infrastructure. Instead of buying and installing your own hard drives and data centers, you buy digital storage capacity as required.

5. Public Cloud

A public cloud is a multi-tenant computing service offered over the public internet. Public cloud is for users that want to access compute infrastructure on-demand with increased scalability, elasticity, and on a pay-per-use basis for CPU cycles, storage and bandwidth consumed over a given time period such as per minute, per hour or per month.

Public cloud allows customers to right-size infrastructure to suit their IT workloads, application and data requirements. If implemented correctly with the right security methods such as intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), public cloud can be as secure as private cloud.

6. Private Cloud

A private cloud is a single-tenant computing service offered over the public internet, dedicated internet connection or internal network. With private cloud, the underlying infrastructure is accessible only to select users instead of the general public.

Private clouds provide many of the same benefits of public cloud such as self-service, scalability, and elasticity plus additional control and customization features. Private clouds also offer additional layers of security and privacy ensuring that mission-critical applications and sensitive data are not accessible by third parties.

7. Hybrid Cloud Services

Cloud providers often offer a mix of services, including IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. These hybrid cloud providers are excellent for businesses with a wide variety of needs. Amazon Web Services is the best example of this, offering over 70 different cloud services in different zones across the world. If you’re a startup or small business, utilizing a provider like AWS allows you to grow at an exponential rate and access resources as you need them. Leveraging cloud services such as IaaS or PaaS is the best move you can make to get your business off the ground without breaking the bank.

8. Managed Cloud Services

A managed cloud (also referred to as cloud-managed services or cloud management), allows customers to deploy cloud-based services such as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS without having the internal staff, resources and technical expertise to install, monitor, and manage it on an ongoing basis.

Cloud-managed services are available from either a third-party managed service provider (MSP) or a cloud service provider (CSP) that provides the underlying infrastructure solution.

Managed cloud services include, at the infrastructure level:

  • Architecture guidance
  • System administration and operations (Ops)
  • System monitoring, alerting, and reporting
  • Performance testing and tuning
  • Proactive communications and 24×7 support
  • A single point of contact for support
  • DNS management
  • Security and compliance management
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Database administration
  • Developer support and training

At the application and tools level, managed cloud services include:

  • DevOps automation tools: Chef, Puppet, Salt, Ansible, LogStash, etc.
  • Application deployment, scaling and lifecycle management
  • Specialized database management: MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, Hadoop, etc.
  • Managed virtualization on VMware vCloud.
  • Management of Microsoft apps: SharePoint, Exchange email, Lync, etc.
  • OpenStack Private Cloud deployment and management.
  • Ecommerce and digital experience platform management: Sitecore, Oracle ATG, Hybris, Adobe Experience Manager, Drupal, WordPress, etc.

9. Multi-Cloud

Multi-cloud is a cloud computing deployment approach that is made up of one or more cloud service providers (CSPs). This can include the use of a public cloud provider, a private cloud provider or a cloud provider offering both public and private cloud.

Multi-cloud architecture is used when customers want to leverage a certain cloud provider for certain services such as a public cloud server and another cloud provider cloud-based object storage. The reason for deploying a multi-cloud approach includes improving security and performance while potentially lowering costs within an expanded portfolio environment.

10. Virtual CPU (vCPU) 

A Central Processing Unit (CPU), also referred to as the main processor, is an electronic chip comprised of circuitry within a computer that executes instructions from programs that run or perform tasks. In cloud computing, the CPU is commonly referred to as the virtual CPU (vCPU), which is a portion of a physical CPU that is assigned to a virtual machine (VM). A vCPU is also known as a virtual processor.

11. Cores

In cloud computing, hypervisors control the physical CPU within the cloud server. CPUs are divided into what are known as CPU cores. The maximum number of virtual processor sockets assigned to a VM is 128. If you want to assign more than 128 virtual processors, configure a VM to use multicore processors.

However, the vCPU does not represent a 1:1 allocation. It represents the time on the physical CPU resource pool. A virtual processor is best described as the amount of processing time spent on the CPU. Some people mistakenly think that 1 vCPU is equal to 1 core. However, a one-to-one relationship between vCPU and core does not exist.

12. Embedded iPaaS

An embedded iPaaS solution allows SaaS vendors to create, manage and deploy integrations to their clients from directly within their own platform.

13. Integration Software as a Service (iSaaS)

iSaaS is a cloud-hosted integration tool that can be used to create flows or paths between SaaS or local systems that face the Internet. A good example of this would be Zapier—a  cloud application service where you create automated actions to connect unrelated business and productivity apps or databases.



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