Posts Tagged ‘development as a service’

Research Report: Microsoft Partners – Before Adopting Azure, Understand the 12 Benefits And Risks

It’s All About The Cloud At WPC10

Attendees at this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 in Washington, D.C. already expect Windows Azure development to be a key theme throughout this annual pilgrimage.  Microsoft has made significant investments into the cloud.   Many executives from the Redmond, WA, software giant have publicly stated that 90% of its development will be focused on the Cloud by 2012.  Delivery of the Cloud begins with the Azure platform which includes three main offerings:

  1. Microsoft Windows Azure
  2. Microsoft SQL Azure (formerly SQL Services)
  3. Microsoft Windows Azure Platform: AppFabric (formerly .NET Services).

Therefore, Microsoft partners must determine their strategy based on what part of the cloud they plan to compete in and which Azure services to leverage.  As with any cloud platform, the four layers include infrastructure, orchestration, creation, and consumption (see Figure 1):

  • Infrastructure. At a minimum, Windows Azure provides the infrastructure as a service.  Data center investments and the related capital expense (capex) is replace with oeprational expenses (opex).  Most partners will take advantage of Azure at the infrastructure level or consider alternatives such as Amazon EC2 or even self provision hosting on partner servers and hardware.
  • Orchestration. Microsoft Windows Azure Platform: AppFabric delivers the key “middleware” layers.  AppFabric includes an enterprise service bus to connect across network and organizational boundaries.  AppFabric also delivers access control security for federated authorization.  Most partners will leverage these PaaS tools.  However, non-Microsoft tools could include advanced SaaS integration, complex event processing, business process management, and richer BI tools.  The Windows AppFabric July release now supports Adobe Flash and Microsoft SilverLight.
  • Creation. Most partners will build solutions via VisualStudio and Microsoft SQL Azure (formerly SQL Services).  Other creation tools could include Windows Phone7 and even Java.  Most partners expect to use the majority of tools from Microsoft and augment with third party solutions as needed.
  • Consumption. Here’s where partners will create value added solutions for sale to customers.  Partners must build applications that create market driven differentiators.  For most partners, the value added solutions in the consumption layer will provide the highest margin and return on investment (ROI).

.NET:.NET (tongue and cheek here) – Microsoft partners and developers can transfer existing skill sets and move to the cloud with ease, once Microsoft irons out the business model for partners on Azure.

Figure 1. Partners Must Determine Which Layer To Place Strategic Bets

screen-shot-2010-03-22-at-105927-pm

More…

Tuesday’s Tip: Understanding The Many Flavors of Cloud Computing and SaaS

Confusion Continues With Cloud Computing And SaaS Definitions

Coincidence or just brilliance must be in the air as three esteemed industry colleagues, Phil Wainewright, Michael Cote, and James Governor, have both decided to clarify definitions on SaaS and Cloud within a few days of each other.  In fact, this couldn’t be more timely as SaaS and Cloud enter into mainstream discussion with next gen CIO’s evaluating their apps strategies.  A few common misconceptions often include:

  • “That hosting thing is like SaaS”
  • “Cloud, SaaS, all the same, we don’t own anything”
  • “OnDemand is Cloud Computing”
  • “ASP, Hosting, SaaS seems all the same”
  • “It all costs the same so what does it matter to me?”
  • “Why should I care if its multi-tenant or not?
  • “What’s this private cloud versus public cloud?”

Cloud Computing Represents The New Delivery Model For Internet Based IT services

Traditional and Cloud based delivery models share 4 key parts (see Figure 1):

  1. Consumption – how users consume the apps and business processes
  2. Creation – what’s required to build apps and business processes
  3. Orchestration – how parts are integrated or pulled from an app server
  4. Infrastructure – where the core guts such as servers, storage, and networks reside

As the über category, Cloud Computing comprises of

  • Business Services and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – The traditional apps layer in the cloud includes software as a service apps, business services, and business processes on the server side.
  • Development-as-a-Service (DaaS) – Development tools take shape in the cloud as shared community tools, web based dev tools, and mashup based services.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – Middleware manifests in the cloud with app platforms, database, integration, and process orchestration.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – The physical world goes virtual with servers, networks, storage, and systems management in the cloud.

Figure 1.  Traditional Delivery Compared To Cloud Based Delivery

screen-shot-2010-03-22-at-105927-pm

The Apps Layer In The Cloud Represents Many Flavors From Hosted To True SaaS

SaaS purists often challenge vendors on delivery models in the cloud at the apps layer (see Figure 2).  Often classified as OnDemand, there are 3 common approaches:

  1. Single Instance – (a.k.a. “On Demand”). Think traditional apps deployed one cusotmer per app or per server. Many vendors provide hosting capabilities. Customers don’t worry about the IT infrastructure and retain the flexibility to modify, customize, and in most cases choose when they want to change the code. All customers can use different versions of the software
  2. Multi Instance – (a.k.a. “Server Virtualized”). Think “VMware” like. Apps deployed into a shared-web hosting environment. A single instance copy of the app is configured and deployed into a web directory for each customer. Vendor benefit from easier to manage multi-instance environments. Customers don’t worry about the IT infrastructure and retain the flexibility to modify, customize, and in most cases choose when they want to change the code. All customers can use different versions of the software.
  3. Multi-tenant – (a.k.a. “True SaaS”). Apps in a multi-tenant deployments provide a single operating environment shared by multiple customers. Config files are created and deployed each time a customer request services. Customers don’t worry about the IT infrastructure and retain the flexibility to modify, configure but NOT customize the code. Customers usually receive upgrades at the same time. Everyone shares the same code.

Figure 2.  Different Strokes Of OnDemand For Different Folks

screen-shot-2010-03-22-at-112728-pm

The Bottom Line – Different Models Bring Varying Degrees Of Trade Offs In Cost Versus Flexibility

Keep in mind there are cases where one deployment option is more favorable than another. Just because you are multi-tenant SaaS doesn’t mean you are better. On the other hand, when vendors tout OnDemand as a SaaS offering, then the SaaS bigotry begins. Be on the look out as more vendor provide mix-mode offerings to support disconnected modes, SaaS and On-premise, Public and Private clouds, as well as other improvements in integration with stronger client side ESB’s. Expect many vendors to put their offerings into the Cloud as Cloud/SaaS moves beyond the mainstream for apps strategy.  Let’s take a look at a two decision criteria:

Scenario 1: From least expensive to most expensive to run for a vendor:

  1. True SaaS
  2. Server Virtualized
  3. Hosting

Why is this important? Let’s see, you choose a Hosted solution and the vendor’s costs to run the app goes up with each new customer as it has to manage the different environments. No matter how hard the vendor will try to “fit” everyone to standard configurations and deployments, that’s not always possible. Flexibility has a cost. In a “True Saas” solution, the cost to add an additional customer is minimal and each customer reduces the overall cost for everyone. Ultimately, a True SaaS deployment will have the lowest cost/user/month fee. What will you do 5 years into an Hosting scenario when you are locked in?

Scenario 2: From most customizable to least customizable for a customer:

  1. Hosting
  2. Server Virtualized
  3. True SaaS

Why is this important? Your may have specific needs in an area where the SaaS vendor has not provided the deepest level of configurations. You can’t just go in and modify the code unless everyone else wants it or the vendor’s has it on the roadmap. The cost of comformity is the lack of flexibility. What will you do 5 years into a True SaaS scenario when you are locked in and the vendor won’t add the feature or functionality you need?

Your POV

What’s your view on SaaS vs Cloud?  Does this help clarify the definitions?  Are you looking at private, public, or hybrid cloud options?  Add your comments to the discussion or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity.

Please let us know if you need help with your SaaS/Cloud strategies.  Here’s how we can help:

  • Crafting your next gen apps strategy
  • Short listing and vendor selection
  • Contract negotiations support
  • Market evaluation

Related resources and links

Take the new and improved survey on 3rd party maintenance

20100322 Monkchips – James Governor “Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger”

20100319 ZD Net: Software as Services – Phil Wainewright “Is SaaS the Same as Cloud”

Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.