SaaS 101

SaaS and Your Software Company: What You Should Know

For most application developers, adopting the model of software-as-a-service (SaaS) is not a question of if, but when. In order to survive beyond the cloud-computing revolution, you have to understand the issues and make a plan.
We’ll start here with the basics.Then do a quick check to see if SaaS is right for your application. And finally, we’ll share some veteran advice on how to create a successful SaaS product.
You also may consider our Cloud Navigate executive workshop where we explore the SaaS possibilities in your specific situation.
SaaS costs to your SaaS revenue
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SaaS 101: The Very Basics

SaaS 101: The Very Basics

Referencing ‘the cloud” has become nearly ubiquitous in the last few years, as more people are using it for everyday activities.
But to the average person, it’s still not exactly clear what the cloud actually is. It’s, you know…the internet….out there…in the sky? Maybe?

What is The Cloud anyway?

It’s basically a trendy way of describing all network activity that happens outside your firewall. If it’s not occuring, “on-premise,” it’s happening, “in the cloud.” This is true when talking about data store, applications or computing power in general.
Cloud computing (aka “the cloud”) is a general term describing anything that involves delivering scalable, hosted services over the internet. These services can be organized into three categories: infrastructure, platform and software.
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The Three Kinds of Cloud Computing Services:

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Provider offers physical computing resources on top of which the user can deploy arbitrary software.

IaaS is the foundation layer of cloud computing. It delivers a shared, massively scalable infrastructure on-demand like a utility (e.g. electricity). This includes storage, CPU power, backup, bandwidth and network services, databases and security. Examples include Amazon Web Services and Rackspace Cloud Servers

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Provider offers managed infrastructure and interfaces for developing and managing applications.

PaaS is an integrated, online platform used to build, test and deploy applications. It is delivered on-demand typically on a subscription basis.

A PaaS may include online Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), development tools, databases, ready-made components (e.g. simple log-in widgets), and project management tools.

PaaS can be used to deliver custom applications (client-server style but where the enterprise does not actually invest in the IT staff or infrastructure to run the servers) or as multi-tenant SaaS. Examples include Google App Engine or Microsoft Azure.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Provider offers fully-developed applications to many end users, that run on and are delivered by cloud architecture.

SaaS is the delivery of end-user applications through a web browser, rich internet app (RIA) or mobile app in a “pay-as-you-go” model. Typically, these are vertically-integrated, self-contained applications that follow a one-to-many model based on a multi-tenant architecture. It falls under the cloud computing umbrella of massively-scalable resources that are available online and all the time.

SaaS is a viable and increasingly preferred delivery and acquisition model for enterprise software. It offers quantifiable cost savings while increasing agility and scalability.

Examples of familiar SaaS applications include Gmail, Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365. Also included are enterprise applications in various areas such as Customer Relationship Managment (CRM), Enterprise Resources (ERP), or Electronic Medical Records (EMR).

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the SaaS model benefits

Public vs. Private Clouds

It’s now common — especially in large organizations — for a private cloud to exist within their firewall for internal operations.
Private clouds such as these simplify security issues and multi-tenancy requirements, and have also offered preparation and a quicker path towards cloud computing using public clouds.
At Wizmo, all of our hosting environments include their own private cloud, but we do sometimes use the public cloud for certain functions. Either way, your application and data is always secure when we’re in charge.
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We know, we know — you're eager to learn more.

Riveting stuff, isn’t it? Now we get to the good parts.

We explain why you should care about SaaS in the first place. And

we’ll help you determine if SaaS and your software are a good fit.