Back in July this year, Armando Hernandez, a solutions architect from Remend contacted us after reading our SaaS blogs. We chatted over a conference call about what they were doing and the architecture challenges that they were going through while implementing the future version of their SaaS product. I immediately thought that they are one of the few ISVs who have really thought through some of the hard multi-tenancy issues. I jumped on a plane pretty soon and visited their corporate campus in the Bay area, really pumped up about doing a deeper drill into their application architecture. Since then, I’ve gotten my globe-trotting colleague, Ron Jacobs to do a series of SaaS architecture video case studies with them. Here are the first couple of episodes in this great series:
1st Architecture Episode: http://files.skyscrapr.net/users/arcast/ARCast20061117-RemendPart2Arch.wmv
Business Case Episode: http://files.skyscrapr.net/users/arcast/ARCast20061116-RemendPart1Overview.wmv
Their architecture approach is real world validation of what we have been writing about:
· Meta data driven is core to everything in SaaS application architecture. Remend has a meta-data service that drives all aspects of the application behavior.
· I love this term that Armando used in the video interview – Polymorphic data. Their customers are able to extend and configure the default sets of business entities to include custom fields. They have also done some clever things with data sets and XML capabilities built into the .NET framework to help them retrieve and reconstruct the polymorphic data from the underlying SQL data store.
· Decoupling business workflow and rules from application code. Remend has learned from past experience where most of their business processes and rules are tightly coupled with the application code and it was hard for their customers to change them without custom code development. In their new SaaS offering, they are relying on the Windows Workflow Foundation (which I think is the most compelling technology Microsoft has to offer for SaaS application enablement) to help make workflow and business rules easily configurable by end-users.
Ron promised that there will more of the Remend architecture episodes, so stay tuned!