Extra Cheese or Extra SaaS? Explaining Software as a Service

TRG NetworkingNews, Tech Talk

Talk about your Frequently Asked Questions … the concept of Software as a Service (SaaS) is one that eludes many business owners. Maybe it’s the funny-looking acronym, or perhaps it’s the different variations (IaaS, PaaS) that send us into alphabet soup overload. Wikipedia defines the term as “a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.” Which may or may not be a lot of help.

So here’s a simple analogy to bring things into focus:

Suppose you wanted a pizza.  You would have a variety of options ranging from getting busy in the kitchen to having someone bring it to your table, and so it is with SaaS.

Let’s say you decide to be self-sufficient in answering your pizza need.  You’ll use your own dough (maybe even made from scratch), your own sauce and toppings. You’ll bake the pizza in your own oven – adding to your own electric or gas bill – and eat it at your own table.  You’ll have to clean up afterwards, also. The computing equivalent here is traditional on-premises hardware and software ownership … it’s your show, and your responsibility to keep all that IT infrastructure (and your business) up and running. With technology and security threats constantly changing, it’s easy to see why this model is falling out of fashion.

Back to the pizza: Option Two would be a “Take and Bake” pie from a local grocery store. In this case someone else is responsible for the infrastructure that produced and assembled the ingredients, but you’re still providing the oven (and whatever fuels it), the table and the drink you’ll enjoy. Welcome to IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service.

Still too much work? Pick up the phone and order your pizza.  Now you’ve delegated pretty much everything except your drink and the table where you sit down to eat.  In IT terms, you’ve graduated to Platform as a Service (PaaS).

But really, what you wanted was to get out of the house and have someone else do everything … so you head out to your local sit-down eatery where the proprietors cover every responsibility except actually eating the pizza for you: they provide the ingredients, prepare and bake the pie, and bring it to you at the table you won’t have to clean up afterwards.  Even your large diet soda is someone else’s responsibility … you just enjoy. Now you’ve arrived at SaaS.

Here’s where the analogy breaks down: each step up in the pizza chain is naturally more expensive, but SaaS can be a much more economical – and secure – alternative to on-premise ownership and stewardship.  Factor in the risks of malware and downtime that can grind your business to a halt and you might be facing a much larger mess than some tomato sauce on the floor.

Interested in SaaS? Contact TRG Networking for a consultation.

TRG NetworkingExtra Cheese or Extra SaaS? Explaining Software as a Service