Sharpen Your SAAS Smarts Before Committing to the Cloud

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Sharpen Your SAAS Smarts Before Committing to the Cloud

by Darryl K. Taft

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Moving to Software as a Service, NetSuite and Workday are grabbing the limelight with their cloud-only SAAS delivery models.

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Building the SAAS Model

Building the SAAS specifics diverts developers from focusing on the core software.In typical SAAS development, the majority of time is spent enabling the software to be delivered and operated over the Internet. The cost of building a SAAS offering is astronomical. You need to automate the development and operation of a profitable SAAS offering at a fraction of that cost. Most development teams do not have expertise in building broad SAAS functionality into applications, extending time to market and creating quality concerns. Required functionality includes metering each instance, data isolation, provisioning and business intelligence. In this chart, the horizontal axis for that graph represents months, and the vertical axis represents costs.

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Opting for Multi-tenant Architecture

Your architecture approach will have massive effects on scalability and efficient delivery. If you dont have a multi-tenant architecture, results are far from optimal. Architectures designed around an instance of the app per customer, or database per customer, in time will result in infrastructure and maintenance headaches. Instead, architect your apps with true multi-tenancy to benefit from cost efficiencies and ease of maintenance.

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Define True Multi-tenant

The best practice for efficiency and ease of maintenance is a single-instance, multi-tenant application. By having a multi-tenant application, enterprises can serve their entire customer base at once, on-demand, within a secure environment. Customers, on the other hand, only see their data.

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What Is Not Multi-Tenant

Using virtualization as a solution to architecture problems where you make a copy of your application each time you have a new customer is not multi-tenant. For example,—with more than 1 million users and 20,000 customers running on 500 servers—the virtualization route would be 20,000 servers. Look for solutions where you dont have huge upfront costs of building out multi-tenant architecture for your application.

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Long-Term Virtualization Is Not Cost-Effective

Infrastructures cannot handle many customers with a services model built on virtualization. Cost savings plummet, as you keep having to add or buy more and more server power; in addition, there is high maintenance and management.

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The Operation Burden Is on You

The operational burden that was once distributed amongst many customers is now centralized to you. Your customers former operational burdens are now yours. Problems are rarely ever isolated to single customers. Aggregate demand is now centralized to you, and failures can put you out of business. The technology is the business. Auxiliary management systems are mission-critical for provisioning and billing.

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Apprenda and the SAASGrid Model

For its part, Apprenda helps to enable efficient software delivery and consumption for ISVs and enterprises. The company attempts to assist organizations with both the technical and business challenges of delivering software as a service. The overall goal is to provide software companies with multi-tenancy and grid scalability in addition to "out of the box" application services like metering and monetization, billing and subscriber management, and more.

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Apprenda and .NET

Apprenda provides a .NET application server for solving the upfront and ongoing technical and business challenges of SAAS delivery. This can cover a number of issues, including development and deployment of applications, technical challenges of scalability, and performance and changes to the business market.

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