I spoke about general cloud themes before and will drill into the SaaS pillar a bit more in this post. I want to approach this from the perspective that all services offerings has a provider and a consumer angles to them, technology services or otherwise. So, you may be reading this blog post in a browser or via email if you subscribed to that. In either way, you are now consuming this content, as we speak. You are not thinking so much about the infrastructure or the provider of this content as you should not, and all for good reasons.
Now, let’s move to a more concrete example: If you are working for a company that has more than 50 employees, the chance is that you have a non-public email (i.e. not Hotmail or yahoo). So, you may have Outlook as an email client – you launch the rich client, you do “your things” and go about business as usual, and as you should, focus on your job function. This is the consumer side of this email services. You are consuming it as it was meant to be consumed.
Looking at the same thing from the provider side, the chance is that you Messaging (i.e. Exchange) administrator is the one who works really hard to make the service available to you 100% of the time, where if it was not, you may not be a happy camper. His/her job involves hardware procurement and maintenance, OS installs, patch and service pack updates, management, monitoring, continuous troubleshooting here and there, upgrading the OS and the messaging server application, performing backup and restore, among other things – this is the On-Premise model. You see, it is a lot of work. Taking the messaging workload to a SaaS model means that your admin does NOT have to worry about anything of the above. His/job will only be focused on managing the users by adding new or removing departing users’ account – all from a unified console. Best of all, your company will only have to pay for what you use and this means tremendous saving in terms of money, resources, time to market, continues improvements in terms of getting server sides updates incrementally by the provider. All that can happen without the consumers of the messaging services (as in this example) know or even care to know about the backend infrastructure – which is yet a huge advantage.
So, while the SaaS model is still maturing in our Gulf region, it has already gained great momentum in the US and European markets. Microsoft is championing the Cloud services offerings across the SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS categories. In my next blog post, I will talk about Platform as a Service (PaaS). Stay tuned …