Tag Archives: Software as a service (SaaS)

Facts about Suitable Cloud Strategies

There is confusion on the murmur and blare surrounding cloud computing these days. CIOs and cloud strategists in an organization may find it very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, at the same time, adopt the right cloud strategy for their organization. For that reason, this article is dedicated to providing you with few guidelines which can be beneficial while defining the required and suitable cloud strategies for your organization.

It is a must for cloud strategists to describe cloud service value in their environment, and explain the needs for their business into viable strategies. This means, strategists need to do thorough analysis of the prevailing IT environment, build road map, and create desirable service level chart for incremental progress to the cloud. The strategists must also create recommendations about key performance indicators (KPIs) as well as layer data lifecycle management around these services using with regard to privacy, compliance, and security.

Obviously, it is advised to avoid designing cloud strategy focusing only on technology. The needs of the business and the business it self should be the focus while designing the cloud strategy. To be encouraged to build cloud strategy with business needs in focus, strategists need to ask the following questions:

– In which way will moving to the cloud benefit the business?
– Does a positive trade-off ever exist between cloud computing options and local storage options?

Honestly, the answers they will get from the two questions above will serve as a succor in maintaining an approach that is level headed to the strategy at the same time building a strong foundation for evolution that will last for long period of time both toward the cloud options and cloud like options that they plan to mature within a given year. For the cloud strategists planning suitable strategy for an organization, there must be a good understanding of the kind of strategy available in the cloud, and making use of that knowledge to find out and utilize the appropriate kind of cloud technology for the benefit of the enterprise. The three main categories of cloud services, which you need to know, include:

– Platform as a service (PaaS) which is responsible for provision of platforms for programming as well as building blocks or tools for APIs that help in creating application and services that are based in the cloud.
– Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the ability for managing, owing or even controlling the essential infrastructure. In order to scale up available IT hardware resources within an organization, infrastructure may be rented.
– Software as a service (SaaS) exposes applications as a service that is running in the cloud infrastructure.

In order to create a cloud strategy that is personalized to the business needs of organization, there may be a need for cloud-strategists to combine one or more of the options available services.

It is important for cloud strategists to go beyond mere theoretical definitions of the the cloud, and focus their attention on making use of convincing analysis so as to deduce a clearer fit between economic and risk profiles, which exist in variety of business situations and make cloud offerings — including cloud storage and cloud backup — to stand out as among the technology strategies of the organization.

Are You SaaS Ready?

Experts state glibly: “SaaS is ready for you, even if you are not yet ready for SaaS!” But, what does “being ready for SaaS” imply? More important “What is SaaS?” Let us answer the second question first.

SaaS is the abbreviation for “Software as a Service”. SaaS service providers deploy industry specific or generic web browser based applications on a subscription basis, over the Internet, to multiple enterprises or employees within an enterprise using shared public/private/hybrid cloud architectures.

SaaS readiness enforces due diligence for functional fit and data strategy. It highlights support requirements and draws attention to economics of the cloud. It is evident that SaaS readiness has a potential to transform thinking on information technology and to create a service centric approach to computing within the organisation.

Functional fit due diligence begins with an understanding that SaaS applications are built on generic business concepts and the process of getting the business SaaS ready presupposes that the business processes will be subsumed to generic pre-defined processes albeit compromises. However, the SaaS typicality can be cost effective and process standardisation may bring in reshape the experience curve for the enterprise. The opportunity cost of using enterprise expertise elsewhere may far outweigh the cost of employing them in designing on premise, differentiated applications.

Due diligence for data fit ensures that the criticality of data conversions and system interfaces are not underestimated. Getting ready for SaaS may involve getting the enterprise familiar with unfamiliar challenges. SaaS tools are typically Wizards that guide the user through a task and are generic constructs. Extraction, transformation and load options may be limited and overnight conversions may present difficulties that are associated with bandwidth availabilities. However, if the enterprise is looking for integrative processes, SaaS tools are most suitable. They blend with diverse systems such as Oracle and SAP or heavy duty enterprise resource planning software.

SaaS readiness acknowledges that the benefits of SaaS are important for the organisation growth strategy. IT infrastructure abstraction is not the only reason. The enterprise can now shift the risk of software acquisition and convert IT from a reactive cost centre to a value generating catalyst of growth. They can take advantage of SaaS Continuum in exchange for a small fee that can be budgeted for as operating expenses rather than as capital investments with long run implications. It is a decision point where political, technological, financial and legal considerations come together for the betterment of the organisation.

What is Behind the Real Innovations in the Clouds?

If you are one of those who nod sagely and declare that the cloud is evolution and not revolution–you are right, but not completely right! While cloud computing features are evolving and gaining definition on stage, the real revolution is in the pricing structures that are emerging backstage, unnoticed and uncelebrated.

The driver behind the revolution is “larger volumes at lower costs”. The catalyst is the increasing reliability, scalability, reach-ability and high availability of Internet applications. The focus is on delivering Software as a Service (SaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) to the budget strapped user—the individual or the small and medium enterprise or the large enterprise seeking to lower costs for profitability.

How does the cloud achieve larger volumes at lower costs? Most costs associated with backup and storage is directly attributable to costs of hardware and software. Storage needs burgeon with every passing minute and existing infrastructure is quickly gobbled up by increasing data volumes. Tiered storage does not resolve the problem as infrastructure scale-up-demands become incessant within the enterprise. Capital investment restrictions throttle scale-up and compromises on data availability become inevitable.

Cloud backup and storage breaks the vicious cycle. Enterprises now sign up for ‘storage’ as a utility. They share hardware and software with countless other similarly placed enterprises creating economies of scale. The resultant cost savings get passed back to them reducing the overall costs of computing. It is for this reason that the cloud storage has been described as a process of micro outsourcing. The cloud runs multi-million dollar data centres using a fine grained, incremental approach. Thousands of companies across the globe can quickly tap into common resources and obtain expertise/support for complicated operations.

The process of abstracting hardware and software to the cloud-vendor-data-centre is infinite scalability on demand, higher reliability and availability of information, automatic deployment disaster recovery protocols, utility based computing with pay as you go pricing and reduction in data maintenance costs with no fresh financial outlays! It is win-win all the way! Enterprises do not have to compromise on the quality, security or availability of data and can connect their diverse locations “loosely” using the central data repository as the connecting link at no additional cost.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the pricing models that emerges with the new computing paradigm are revolutionary, completely affordable and attractive to everyone. It is a subtle revolution that cannot be ignored.

Creating High Capacity Networks with Almost No Investment

It is an undeniable fact that organisations that are growing will experience degradation of network response times. More and more people logging in from more locations, will jam the works and create intolerable wait times for everyone. The most urgent need will be to increase capacity, bandwidth and invest in capital goods that the organisation can ill afford. Managements may baulk at the thought but will have to give “capacity increase” a serious consideration as it will have a direct or indirect effect on the bottom line. The existence of the business may depend on it. They may be forced to divert funds from other mission critical activities to augment their network.

What if, bandwidth and capacity can be increased with little or no investment? The question will be impossible to ignore? If you had been asked this question a decade or two ago, you would have deemed the questioner a lunatic or an ill-informed idiot. You would not have believed that it is possible to create high capacity networks with little or no investment. You would have been incredulous. Today, the statement will invoke very little surprise. Well, the cloud offers a pay as you go model that allows you to increase or decrease the amount of bandwidth and capacity you use in synchronisation with the peaks and troughs of your business. Cloud computing has made “high capacity network” a reality for even small and medium enterprises that are strapped for funds.

Cloud services offer a number of different options to end users. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) subscribers can requisition for and obtain additional infrastructure from third parties who make infrastructure provisioning their business. Platform as a Service (PaaS), aims to provide customers with the platforms and space they require for developing their custom applications. Software as a service (SaaS) allows organisations save on costs of deploying and licensing on standard applications that may be used regularly by their employees within the organisation. Backup and recovery is made simple with backup, recovery and disaster management being offered as part of the subscription package.

The use of any or all of the above services is charged on usage basis and can be treated as operational expenses by accounting buffs. All that the organisation needs to invest in is—a high speed Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to meet their current needs! High capacity networks can slide into place with a mere subscription to a cloud service.

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