Posts Tagged ‘orchestration’

News Analysis: Sitecore Acquires Commerce Server In Quest Towards Customer Experience Management

Commerce Server Finds Its Logical Home

On Wednesday November 20th, 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark based Sitecore acquired Ottawa, Canada based commerceserver.net for an undisclosed price.  Originally known as the Microsoft Siteserver and Commerce Server 2000, the product was orphaned by Microsoft,  then Ascentium, the key development partner were given the rights to further develop and market the product.  Adding to the lore, Ascentium changed their name to SMITH in the Fall of 2012 and the product group was rebranded to commerceserver.net.

Sitecore’s acquisition continues a consolidation trend in the Matrix Commerce market where vendors are aggregating technologies to support a buyer centric approach to customer experience.  Constellation believes customers should pay attention because Sitecore:

  • Signals seriousness to deliver on end to end customer experience. Sitecore’s portfolio includes its core web content management offerings and an emerging set of digital marketing assets.  Commerce Server adds key B2C functionality for hard goods, digital goods, and web based services; B2B capabilities in trading communities and e-procurement; complex B2X scenarios; and personalized portals.

    Point of View (POV):
    Addition of commerceserver.net fills one key hole in Sitecore’s customer experience management portfolio.  Customers and prospects can expect additional acquisitions from the new management team.   In fact, the company has brought in heavy hitters such as a new CRO and CMO over the past 12 months.  Constellation believes that Sitecore is serious in completing key holes in the end to end customer experience story and moving up the stack to support a range of small to large enterprise customers.  In fact, Commerce Sever 10 scales up to support 220,000o orders/day on a 12 hour peak, 60 million user profiles, 10 million item catalogs, 100,000 catalogs and virtual catalogs, and hosting support for 100 active, 1000 provisioned.  Constellation believes the acquistion places Sitecore in the direct battle with Adobe, IBM, Oracle, and SAP for customer experience and commerce.
  • Ensures Commerce Server a friendly and natural home. Commerce Server brings its core Microsoft heritage.  Dependencies include Microsoft SQL Server, .NET,  Commerce Server Staging (CSS), and Component Object Model.  Commerce Server also plays well with other Microsoft server stack components including Biz Talk Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server.  Sitecore’s software is built on a Microsoft.NET platform.  Deployable in Microsoft Azure, the core CMS can use Oracle or Microsoft for the database and content can be stored in either .NET or XML objects.

    (POV):
    Customers should find relief that the Commerce Server assets return back to a product centric company.  While SMITH (formerly known as Ascentium), a digital experience agency, served as a reasonable owner and even delivered the latest version 10 release, software cultures and services business models often clash.  Why? The research and development investment required to take products to market work against the resource utilization and project focus required for successful services.  Constellation will measure integration success by how well the team builds and accelerates the original major release plans (see Figure 1).
  • Gains critical ecosystem assets. Commerce Server brings 3000 customers and 25 partners around the world.  Partners range from 17 enterprise providers, hosting providers, training, ISV, and consultants. Key industries for Commerce Server include retail, manufacturing, and e-government.  Sitecore brings over 3000 customers, 1000 certified business partners in 50 countries, 8,000 certified developers, and 17,000 active members in the developer ecosystem.

    (POV):
    Prior to the acquisition, Commerce Server product holes included content management, search, analytics, campaign management, and other key customer experience management capabilities.  Sitecore fills many of these product gaps and adds a larger ecosystem.  Customers can expect significant cross-training among the partners as they integrate the Commerce Server assets into their portfolios.

Figure 1. The Pre SiteCore Acquisition Commerce Server Road Map 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

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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”

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