What is so special about SaaS and Cloud computing? It seems that every tech blog on the net is talking about this new thing called â€œSoftware-as-a-Serviceâ€Â or â€œCloud Computingâ€.
Of course, the concept of paying for access to resources on a remote system via network connection is nothing new. Companies have been doing this ever since the days of renting mainframe time. And consumers have been using Software-as-a-Service applications since the early days of Hotmail.
If this technology has been around for so long, why are we just now treating â€œthe cloudâ€Â as a bold new concept? Well, a number of changes have occurred in the way SaaS is delivered, and the way society uses technology.
SaaS and Cloud Computing
Listed below are a few of the most important trends pushing the SaaS and Cloud Computing revolutions:
- There is a new generations of workers entering the market who are very computer literate, and capable of working through the web. In fact, theyâ€™ve never known a time when the Internet did not exist.
- International outsourcing is easier and more accessible than ever. This presents enormous economic opportunities for the developing world and great cost-savings for companies that need cheap administrative workers. Online outsourcing collaboration services make this easier than ever.
- New software products can be launched more quickly, with less start-up capital. This means that many new specialized applications are being introduced for every niche market.
- Standardization and public APIs are making it easier for companies to customize their software or combine multiple applications together into a single custom-built unit. In this sense, access to data is becoming more important than the software itself.
- Thanks to new advances in mobile computing, employees are doing more work from home or on the road. This requires synchronization across many multiple devices. For example, you could start a word document using your iPhone on the subway and finish it on your laptop when you get in the office. This type of synchronization can only happen if work is done through a shared third-party service. (Either internal or external)
- Offices are becoming more fragmented. Today, itâ€™s more common to see organizations split up across many remote locations. This means that a centralized approach to IT management is no longer as practical as it used to be. The Internet will become the primary network infrastructure for companies.
- IT budgets are shrinking, while storage and processing requirements are rising. Cloud computing allows rapid scalability with the click of a mouse. Now, servers can be provisioned in minutes instead of weeks. And desktop repairs are no longer a problem since defective machines can simply be swapped out without needing to reinstall new software.
- Cloud service providers invest more in security and high availability than the average company would be able to do in-house. That means that the chances of a virus or crash are significantly lower than if you had hosted these applications yourself. Why manage security for your web server when a hosting service can do it for you at $10 per month?
- An â€œinternet of thingsâ€ is allowing us to communicate with objects and appliances like never before. Weâ€™ve already seen this in the way that electronic readers (with social networking and social bookmarking capabilities) are putting old-fashioned paper book companies out of business.
- People trust the web. Today, nearly everyone trusts SSL encryption enough to make purchases online. And Internet connections are more reliable than ever. Banking and paying bills online is now much more popular than driving across town and waiting in line.
- Operating systems donâ€™t matter. Because SaaS applications all work through a client, emulator or web browser, you can use the same software on a Mac, PC or Linux machine.
SaaS has been waiting a long time for its chance to shine. And that time is now.
Within the next 5 years, you will see a major change in the way we use computers. Technical features such as speed, ram and storage will become unimportant as all of our everyday software is hosted in the cloud.
Guest author Patrick Jobin is a researcher and technical writer for Storagepipe.com. Storagepipe has been an innovator in the SaaS storage space since 2001.