How Software as a Service is Like Eating Pizza at a Restaurant

Read time: 3 mins
Everything Pizza

What does pizza have in common with software? It comes in four different delivery models, as outlined in this brilliant infographic designed by Albert Barron, a software client architect at IBM.

As Barron explained in a recent LinkedIn post, he coined the "Pizza as a Service" analogy to help explain the modern software business landscape to a non-techie friend. 

As Barron notes in his post, techies rival texting teens for figuring out ways to communicate with as few characters as possible. That was the case during a bike ride where Barron and friend were talking technology when his friend got lost--not literally, but by all the technical jargon and TLAs (three letter acronyms) Barron was tossing around. Somewhere in the conversation he mentioned SaaS, IaaS and PaaS, and his friend demanded an explanation and Barron served up his pizza analogy.

Realizing that despite all the hype around cloud computing, there could still be some remaining unenlightened individuals like his friend, he later put together this illustration: 

pizza as a service

As Barron explains in his article, you can make a pizza "on prem" at your home, where you’re responsible for buying and assembling all of the ingredients, cooking the pizza, serving it and maintaining the dining area.

You can outsource all the pizza infrastructure, getting the pizza elsewhere but using your existing kitchen and dining resources to bake and serve the pizza. Barron calls this the "take and bake" model. Others might call it "frozen pizza."

You can also have hot, ready-made pizza delivered to your home, where all you have to do is serve it. Or, you can simply load up the family and head out for pizza at your local dining establishment.

In each case you get to eat pizza, but you have choices.  You can do all of the work to make and serve the pizza yourself, or choose from the menu of acronyms and have other people do part or all of the work for you.

We think that is a pretty apt analogy that offers a simple explanation for all the ways software can be dished up today. But, we still have one question: Did the bike ride end at a pizza restaurant?