Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, Jason Bloomberg, Don MacVittie

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo

Microservices Expo: Article

The Overlapping Worlds of SaaS and SOA

How SaaS and SOA will enable "IT as a Service"

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.

More Stories By Vinay Singla

Vinay Singla is a senior technology professional with extensive experience in the SaaS and SOA space.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...