Tuesday, April 01, 2008

PaaS The SaaS Please

Unlike most bloggers, I'm not going to write some kind of crazy story and then at the end say "April Fool's!"

No, being the serious blogger that I am, I'm going instead to talk a little about the emerging PaaS (Platform as a Service) movement especially in the SaaS (Software as a Service) world.

Sounds fun, huh? Bear with me for a minute...

PaaS is a relatively new term coined by Salesforce.com and their "force.com" platform offering. Although Amazon has been offering it for a lot longer with their elastic cloud (EC3) and virtual storage (S3) services - it's a term that's becoming equated with the concept of push-button infrastructure.

It's an appealing concept - you specify a configuration, push a button, and somewhere in the goey gob of the Internet a server is configured for you - and you're all set to go. You're charged by the type of machine you configure and your actual useage (usually by the hour + a small bandwith fee). You can (on most services) also scale up your hardware instantly by just adding more similarly configured servers - all via a browser interface.

If you're an ISV - this is an especially appealing prospect over the "traditional" hosting options that either tie you into a shared server or require that you buy and configure your own box to be "parked" at a host's connection.

In theory, if you're providing a SaaS solution (rented over the Internet rather than having it installed on-premises) - scalability is a good thing. Instant added bandwidth is a good thing. Predictable cost structure is a good thing.

Is there a downside? Ummmm... not that I can see.

You still have the flexibility of backing your database up locally - or even better - to another cloud-based server - so you (and your customers') data is protected. Probably better protected than if you set up your own server and have to manage it.

In a world of "give it to me NOW" and in the face of the ever-increasing speed of business - PaaS is going to be a bigger and bigger part of the SaaS landscape.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Love the headline! Thanks for the insightful post...there is a lot of confusion out there...keep on bloggin'!

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