Guest Post by Brett Waldman, Senior Research Analyst, IDC
As an ISV, you know Software as a Service (SaaS) is a very important part of your business model, if not today, then in the very near future. It can also be an overwhelming feeling. Move to a SaaS model is going to be very disruptive to your development model and you have 3 main choices when deciding to offer a SaaS application
- Multi-tenant architecture
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) hosting
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) hosting
A multi-tenant architecture like the one Salesforce.com built is a good way to go if you have millions of dollars and a year or so to make your transition. If you don’t have the time or money or expertise, then this is probably not the path for you.
PaaS is in its relative infancy. PaaS holds a lot of promise, however, many of the vendor offerings are still in beta, switching costs are very high, and no access to middleware or operating system. These issues may all be solved in the future, but they are all issues today that you need to be aware of.
The final option IaaS hosting has two options of its own
- Put your application inside a virtual machine
- Turn your application into a software appliance
Simply putting your application inside a virtual machine is cumbersome, patch and update management is different from a typical workload, and a true cloud architecture is different than a traditional enterprise architecture which could lead to unintended consequences.
That leaves software appliances a valid choice when considering your move to SaaS. By creating a software appliance and using a tool such as SUSE Studio , you can continue to use and modify Linux has you may have in the past, include any middleware you choose, and most importantly offer customers a choice – consume on-premise or in the cloud – and for you it’s the same the software appliance. You could also go a step further and offer a hybrid cloud approach where certain instances are on-premise and then others in the cloud. This is why software appliances make for a good start with your customer’s journey to cloud.