I haven’t got a lifetime’s experience in IT. Rather than an impediment in my career however, I’ve found that having come from a varied background has given me a degree of perspective that perhaps some of my lifers don’t enjoy. Case in point – this Cloudology diagram that Simon Wardley pointed out to me recently . Essentially the diagram, in a well meaning sort of a way, attempts to compartmentalize every aspect of technology provision and delivery into different as-a-Service monikers – from Strategy s a Service to Management as a Service – this diagram has it all.


Perhaps as a reaction to comments earlier in the year by Werner Vogels that the “stack is dead” in which he contended that the stack model is outdated and should be left behind, the creators of this diagram have attempted to shove everything into an –aaS description. Whereas Vogels contends that the current model sees “service-based architecture with containerized services and applications that are interconnected’, this diagram sees the stack continue to exist, only with far more complexity.

Even Wardley admits to having a go at this (although in his defense it was four years ago when thinking was much less mature around the cloud subject). In a post back then Wardley broke the stack, as it existed then, into the following categories;

  • BaaS – Business as a Service
  • OaaS – Organisation as a Service
  • PaaS – Process as a Service
  • DaaS – Data as a Service
  • SaaS – Software as a Service
  • FaaS – Framework as a Service
  • HaaS – Hardware as a Service
  • IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service.
  • NaaS – Nothing as a Service.

In his wisdom, Wardley atoned for his sins and later on disowned his extra acronyms by saying;

[Amendment, June 2008: P.S. I have completely disowned all my earlier use in 2006 of the terms FaaS, HaaS etc. There are far too many aaS terms these days.]


We’re geeks, and geeks have he habit of making things over-complex and communicating in acronyms that at best are self-serving, at worst are a barrier to the real world getting on board. Unless we change our approach, we risk putting people off before they an really see the value that our industry can bring – in doing so we everyone a disservice.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • The unfortunate truth with component diagrams like this is that it is often the only way to communicate these ideas in a PowerPoint to executives or other non-technical audiences.

    The advantage of cloud technologies such as Cloud Foundry, REST integrations, AWS and the like is that now you can just as easily build a demonstration of these concepts to the same audience in nearly the same time as it takes to lay out the Tetris blocks in your PowerPoint IDE.

  • Mike Riversdale |

    If you’re using PowerPoint to deliver IT diagrams like this in order to “educate” you’re doing it wrong, tell a story

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