Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Jyoti Bansal

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
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices 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 business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, 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 strategy.
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT depl...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...