9 'everything-as-a-service' (XaaS) companies to watch

Everything as a Service (XaaS) describes, well, everything that can be offered as a cloud-based IT service

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Everything as a Service (XaaS) describes, well, everything that can be offered as a cloud-based IT service. It’s a pretty wide swath of service categories with a long list of products in each. To narrow the field a bit, we asked industry analysts and practitioners to list the companies they are watching in the three XaaS categories that are currently bubbling to the top in terms of enterprise interest:  Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), Monitoring/Management as a Service (MaaS) and Network as aService (NaaS).

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9 'everything-as-a-service’ (Xaas) companies to watch

Everything as a Service (XaaS) describes, well, everything that can be offered as a cloud-based IT service. It’s a pretty wide swath of service categories with a long list of products in each. To narrow the field a bit, we asked industry analysts and practitioners to list the companies they are watching in the three XaaS categories that are currently bubbling to the top in terms of enterprise interest: Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), Monitoring/Management as a Service (MaaS) and Network as aService (NaaS).

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M5 Networks (UCaaS)

Why we’re watching: ShoreTel picked up this start-up (which previously had about 2,000 customers) in February to quickly offer UCaaS to customers looking to deploy IP communications through a hosted model. We’re watching to see how quickly ShoreTel customers are going to jump into the cloud.

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Microsoft (UCaaS)

Why we are watching: Not exactly a start-up, we have to admit. But we’re watching to see whether the proliferation of Office365 makes Microsoft’s underlying UCaaS engine, Lync, a no-brainer

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Thinking Phone Networks (UCaaS)

Why we’re watching: Thinking Phone has been named as a visionary twice by Gartner. We’re watching the company because it has placed a strong focus on providing a deep dive analytics engine that helps enterprises understand how their cloud-based unified communications is operating across the company.

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Boundary (MaaS)

Why we’re watching: It’s all about real-time monitoring with the Boundary cloud application monitoring offering by the same name. The company deploys agents on an enterprise’s applications running in the cloud that examine every packet they see cross the application. So, the devil is in the details on this one. We’re watching to see if the company can hit its goal of being able to analyze 17 billion records per day by the end of the year, and then serve up useful information to customers on just what their cloud applications are doing.

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enStratus Networks (MaaS)

Why we’re watching: enStratus is focused on providing a unified management platform for hybrid cloud environments so that enterprise IT departments have a way to orchestrate virtual infrastructure available online with what’s existing within their own data centers. Seeing as hybrid clouds are corporate reality, we’re watching to see how quickly the company can amass IaaS partners to give customers more choice in who they can build hybrid clouds with and still have centralized control.

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RightScale (MaaS)

Why we’re watching: RightScale is sitting on a very interesting perch in the scheme of the cloud: right in between cloud users and their cloud Infrastructure as a Service providers, multiple providers, in fact. RightScale has struck up partnerships with a dozen cloud providers so that subscribers can manage all of their cloud infrastructure from a single, integrated pane.

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BigSwitch (NaaS)

Why we’re watching: Back in January, BigSwitch released an open-source controller based on OpenFlow, a switching and communications protocol that handles packet routing on a software layer, separate from the physical network infrastructure. We’re watching to see if the open source move will attract application development around the controller before the company releases a commercial version later this year.

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Insieme (still in stealth mode - NaaS)

Why we’re watching: This is the software defined network (SDN) company that Cisco invested $100 million into last spring. Started by three Cisco employees, Insieme is still operating in stealth mode. But should Cisco choose to buy the company once its product development is more mature, it will signal that Cisco is serious about embracing SDN, a concept that currently threatens its core networking hardware business.

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Nicira (NaaS)

Why we’re watching: VMware paid 25 times more than what this startup had amassed in venture capital funds for this tiny company, which has built a virtual networking engine out of open source software. We’ll be watching to see what VMware does with its new networking division.

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