BaaS: A quick metaphor about *aaS

Something-as-a-Service is a popular concept in the modern cloud stack. So in the interest of Blogging as a Service to you, I thought I would share a quick metaphor I have been using to explain these concepts to clients and other colleagues.

So let’s open up a chain restaurant. We often talk about treating our virtual servers like cattle so we will serve hamburgers here. Word is that our hamburgers are awesome and a line is forming around the block already. Why did you have to go and tell everyone? Oh well, we better get to work then.

We need a building with gas, water, electricity, an alarm system, climate control etc.. This is our infrastructure. But I am not a carpenter, an electrician, or a plumber, I spent all of my life perfecting the perfect hamburger. So I contract all of that work out. This is my infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). I shouldn’t have to be concerned with the foundation of the building I am in if at the end of the day I want to create the world’s best hamburger.

Wow, that line is getting long. But at least we have a building now. These burgers aren’t going to cook themselves. Or are they? We need a kitchen. The kitchen should have all of the tools required to get the job done. But a kitchen isn’t enough, we don’t want to actually flip those burgers ourselves. I’ve installed the Burgerator 3000 and the Tofu Titan for our vegan customers. They do everything but provide the meat and come up with the recipe. As we are testing it, the smell of our delicious fair is wafting over to the gathering crowd and I think we may have started a riot. We also need some other miscellaneous items. We need point-of-sale systems and holding bins. Let’s hurry up here! But our Platform has been installed. This is our PaaS.

Now we have burgers piling up but we have no way of getting them out to the cutomers and paid for. We need a point of sale software, we need a local distribution system. Our distribution system is a minimum wage high school student with a neck tattoo named Steve. Steve is a great guy and at miniumum wage, he is very affordable. This is SaaS (Steve as a service). Your SaaS should be affordable. Our point-of-sale software has also been installed on the point-of-sale platform. With some software-as-a-service(SaaS) in place we are ready to sell some burgers.

I know this representation has some holes but I think it creates a good initial understanding. Feel free to extend or adjust it in comments.

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