While they might not be the worst terms in cloud computing, phrases ending with "as-a-service" are certainly becoming more widespread. One of the latest: IT-as-a-service.

For those who fear that adoption of cloud technologies will mean the end of their IT jobs, it's probably not a welcome idea. For others, IT-as-a-service may be seen as just another way of saying "private cloud."

But as Lori MacVittie writes in an article on Dev Central, the idea of IT-as-a-service is too often conflated with a move to the cloud or with what she calls "Infrastructure 2.0." Rather, she argues that the latter two are requirements or building blocks for IT-as-a-service.

"At the top of our technology pyramid," she writes, "we have IT as a Service. IT as a Service, unlike cloud computing, is designed not only to be consumed by other IT-minded folks, but also by (allegedly) business folks. IT as a Service broadens the provisioning and management of resources and begins to include not only operational services but those services that are more, well, businessy, such as identity management and access to resources." MacVittie argues that IT-as-a-service is built on the cloud framework but is a higher level abstraction, so that it isn't simply about provisioning infrastructure resources.

MacVittie says that IT-as-a-service should be a culmination of the layers beneath it and should have as its ultimate goal making self-service possible, even to those that have no technical understanding of what's going on. And while she recognizes that we are probably a long way away from that "push button" service, the end goal is to enable users to easily take advantage of IT services.

What are your thoughts on IT-as-a-service? New buzzword? Or the end-goal of cloud computing?