Jaycee's Networking

April 23, 2009

Everything as a service

Filed under: Information — Tags: — Jaycee @ 12:35 am

1. CaaS (Communication as a service):

delivery of Voice over IP (VaaS), instant messaging, and video conferencing applications using fixed and mobile devices

2. IaaS (Infrastructure as a service)

Delivery of computer infrastructure: platform virtualization environment for running client specified virtual machines, computer hardware, computer network ( including firewalls, load balancing), internet connectivity

3. SaaS (Software as a service):

SaaS software vendors may host the application on their own web servers or download the application to the consumer device, disabling it after use or after the on-demand contract expires. The on-demand function may be handled internally to share licenses within a firm or by a third-party application service provider (ASP) sharing licenses between firms. Examples of SaaS vendors include SAP Business ByDesign and Google Apps which provide common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

Drawbacks:

a. Data transfers take place at Internet, rather than local Ethernet speeds; the provider may go bankrupt and the firewall may not permit integration with back end systems. It may not be easy to judge the importance of such issues when an implementation is first started, however they are largely resolved by the Hybrid SaaS model.

b. Widespread implementation of SaaS requires well defined services. That can achieve an economy of scale and the capacity to balance supply and demand. This requires areas of IT that are ubiquitous and commodity-like. SaaS is therefore not suitable for innovative or highly specialized niche systems, though SaaS may be used to provide one or more components in such systems.

c. As with manufacturing, a lack of substitutability and second sourcing options with any commodity creates a strategic weakness for any customer in terms of security, competition and pricing. Various forms of this weakness, such as “vendor lock-in”, are often cited as a barrier to adoption of SaaS as the current industry lacks portability and interoperability between vendors. This means that to change from one vendor to another will take a considerable amount of effort and time, although no more time then required to convert or migrate from one traditional, installed software package to another. This situation is resolvable by the introduction of open sourced standards and the development of markets based upon such standards.

d. Many vendors counter the concerns over potential security and operational risk with the argument that the professionals operating SaaS applications may have much better security and redundancy tools available to them. One vendor of SaaS document and process automation has for many years offered a “data-return guarantee” that allows clients to receive their documents and data upon cancellation of service.

e. SaaS applications pose some difficulty for businesses that need extensive customization is countered with the claim that many vendors have made progress with both customization and publication of their programming interfaces. Customization will reduce substitutability and given that SaaS applications are sometimes deployed for non-strategic business activities, the strategic benefit of customization is somewhat questionable.

f. The availability of open-source applications, inexpensive hardware and low-cost bandwidth combine to offer compelling economic reasons for businesses to operate their own software applications, particularly as open-source solutions have increased in quality and become easier to install. SaaS providers can offer a higher level of service and support then most open source solutions but the level of that service in any delivery model depends greatly on the orientation of the software vendor. For example, development-centric vendors that are highly technical tend to deliver the lowest level of user support whether in terms of technical support or implementation. Conversely, companies that are services-oriented tend to offer much more developed plans for technical support, user training, even supporting services such as data capture which make the application more usable.

g. Users and purchasers of any SaaS application need to establish a strong confidence in the provider of the service, particularly if the application stores the user’s data. This confidence can be enhanced and enforced by a balanced Service Agreement that gives the provider opportunities to correct issues but within limits that the client can accept. The provider needs to be trusted with both the intention and the ability to safeguard this information. Thus internet security procedures such as SSL or other encryption technologies should be required by all SaaS consumers.

4. PaaS (Platform as a service):

Delivery of a computing platform and solution stack as a service. It facilitates deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers, providing all of the facilities required to support the complete life cycle of building and delivering web applications and services entirely available from the Internet—with no software downloads or installation for developers, IT managers or end-users. It’s also known as cloud computing, in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure “in the cloud” that supports them.

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1 Comment »

  1. the popularity of cloud computing made most companies use saas accounting software nowadays.

    Comment by Jan — April 23, 2009 @ 10:26 pm


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