data management as a service (DMaaS)

What is data management as a service (DMaaS)?

Data management as a service is a type of cloud service that provides enterprises with centralized storage for disparate data sources. The label "as a service" references a pay-per-use business model that does not require the customer to purchase or manage infrastructure for data management.

In this business model, the customer backs up data to the DMaaS service provider. This is typically done by installing agents on the data sources being backed up, although in the case of cloud data sources, a simple authentication process may be the first step.

DMaaS is typically an operating expense that goes up and down based on how much service the customer is consuming. It is technically possible to provide DMaaS using on-premises infrastructure, or a private cloud offered by the DMaaS vendor, but all infrastructure must be provided and managed by the DMaaS vendor to be considered a service. Although it may be possible to do data management as a service this way, it is prohibitive to do so for logistical and cost reasons.

How DMaaS works

As the name implies, DMaaS must be done as a service -- it is not data management as a service if a company must purchase, install and maintain significant amounts of infrastructure to perform data management. The "as a service" moniker should be in keeping with the traditions of services that have created and defined the concept, such as SalesforceMicrosoft Office 365 and Google Workspace.

For example, none of these companies require customers to install or manage infrastructure -- virtual or physical -- to provide or consume the service. Companies using such services simply tell the vendor (usually via their interface) their specific needs, such as how many users should be registered and what amount of storage each user will need. The infrastructure required to provide that service will be automatically provisioned and managed by the vendor. 

Data management as a service uses cloud services to provide scalability, insights and accessibility to a company's various sources of data. This central collection of data is then used to provide data protection and additional services.

Data sources include file servers, application servers and database servers, including virtual machine (VM) databases as well. Most companies also have data in one or more cloud providers, and on many desktops, laptops and mobile devices. A comprehensive data management solution protects and manages data from all sources in a single cloud-based system; however, some data management options only protect and manage a subset of these data sources.

The additional services mentioned above include proactive compliance, data analytics, legal hold and centralized search. A centralized view across all data sources provides the best viewpoint for many of these services. For example, if an electronic discovery request asks a company to find and hold all instances of a given employee's work, being able to perform a single search across servers, laptops and cloud instances makes fulfilling that request much easier.


Three advantages to DMaaS hosts over other data management solutions include:

  • A complete DMaaS system can protect all of a company's data assets while drawing additional value from it and reducing cost at the same time.
  • The centralized storage of data that DMaaS requires eliminates waste and facilitates other parts of the business.
  • Using a data management service (versus purchasing and maintaining the infrastructure to do it yourself) reduces capital expenditures and makes data management costs much more predictable.
This was last updated in November 2021

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