|By Vinay Singla||
|July 27, 2009 08:45 PM EDT||
Software as a Service (SaaS) is getting a lot of attention these days. The concept of SaaS is not new and has existed for a while. It has been referred to by other names such as Application Service Provider (ASP), Managed service provider (MSP), on-demand services, cloud computing, utility computing etc. SaaS involves exposing applications over the network on a subscription basis with the pay-as-you-go model. This model was earlier popular with only small businesses who didn't want to invest heavily in their own IT departments, but slowly, this model is making its way into medium and large enterprises. SaaS offerings from companies such as SalesForce.com and Cisco WebEx have made this move up the chain possible. SaaS value proposition is now pretty clear to companies of all sizes and SaaS has become a crucial component of IT strategy for all companies.
Similarly, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is getting a lot of attention these days. Again, the basic concept behind SOA is not new and has existed for a long time. SOA basically involves exposing functionality from distributed systems in the form of stateless functions; this is similar to other distributed system architectures such as CORBA and DCOM. What is making SOA much more popular and prevalent than CORBA or DCOM ever did is the web services standards such as SOAP, WSDL, UDDI etc. Similar standards existed with CORBA and DCOM as well but were not open enough and led to vendor or technology lock-in. With web services, all the major vendors are behind the same set of standards, so there is a higher chance of interoperability between various systems and hence a higher potential ROI for SOA.
SaaS deployments are revenue generating businesses targeted directly at end users, whereas SOA deployments are usually created within IT environments and the services are exposed to other applications as opposed to end users. What I intend to communicate through this article is the close relationship between SaaS and SOA. SaaS and SOA are very complementary in nature. In fact, they can't exist without each other.
What are the key elements of a SaaS platform? Every SaaS platform has to have a few core things in place, these are: multi-tenancy, ordering and provisioning, user authentication and authorization, service catalog and pricing, service monitoring, <st1:place w:st="on">SLA</st1:place> management, usage metering, billing, invoicing and payments. Besides these core components, a SaaS platform also needs to support the usual business functions such as marketing, lead tracking, sales, customer support, revenue and financial management, partner settlement, business intelligence etc.
Now, let's take a look at the key elements of a SOA platform. A typical SOA platform deployment consists of service producers and consumers from across the enterprise. Service producers publish services via the SOA platform, which get consumed by multiple service consumers. There has been a lot of focus on the technical aspects of a SOA platform e.g. service bus, communication protocols (e.g. SOAP), service interface definitions (e.g. WSDL), service discovery (e.g. UDDI) etc. The importance of service monitoring, management and governance is also well understood, but this is not enough. In a typical large enterprise, the service producers and consumers could be applications or systems belonging to different departments, organizations or even subsidiaries within the enterprise. In such environments, services cannot be produced and consumed informally without proper service management in place since there is a cost associated to hosting and exposing a service by the service producer. In order to derive this cost, the total cost of operations or ownership (TCO) needs to be taken into account besides the cost to create the service. Also, there are security concerns around publishing the services openly. This leads to the need for service catalog management, provisioning, authentication, authorization, usage metering and cross-department charging. As highlighted before, these are also the core elements of a SaaS platform. So as an enterprise SOA deployment matures, it is suddenly in need of the core functions of a SaaS platform.
Let's take a look at the flip side of this. Every SaaS platform needs to support the ability to add new service offerings and modify existing offerings in the service catalog with minimal changes to the core platform components. These additions or modifications should not lead to creation of a whole new SaaS platform for every service. Instead, all the basic functionalities of the SaaS platform such as ordering and provisioning, authentication and authorization, service catalog and pricing, metering, billing and invoicing, payments etc should be reused for multiple service offerings. Such reuse necessitates the need for a SOA platform. Further, use of a SOA platform enables other advantages such as a more flexible and plug-n-play architecture leading to lower overall cost of ownership.
It is probably quite intuitive that most complex architectures including SaaS architecture will benefit from SOA capabilities, but a SOA platform needing SaaS capabilities is not that intuitive. There has been a lot of hype around SOA for a while but most SOA deployments in large enterprises have either not been successful or have not provided the expected ROI because the SaaS elements are missing in these deployments. In order to realize the full benefits of large-scale SOA deployments, it is essential to have a SaaS like service management functionality in place. This is where SOA and SaaS together can enable the concept of "IT as a service" and help take IT to the next natural step in its evolution.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Oct. 9, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 115
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 9, 2015 11:15 AM EDT
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
Oct. 9, 2015 11:15 AM EDT
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Oct. 9, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 126
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Oct. 9, 2015 10:31 AM EDT
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
Oct. 9, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 170
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
Oct. 9, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 288
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Oct. 9, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 222
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Oct. 9, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 291
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Oct. 9, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 287
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 9, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,881
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Oct. 9, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,415
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
Oct. 9, 2015 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 521
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
Oct. 9, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 503
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
Oct. 9, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 570
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Oct. 9, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 730
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
Oct. 9, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 296
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
Oct. 9, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,223
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 9, 2015 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 7,032
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Oct. 9, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,136