Although the basic definition of cloud computing could also be used in Software as a Service, there are basic differences SaaS have when compared to other forms of cloud computing.
• Network or Online Access – SaaS is an online application or at least, a network based application. Users will never need any installation in their local gadgets which is connected to the local network or the internet. Usually, the application is launched through a browser which could provide access not only to the application but additional services from the vendor.
• Centralized Management – control, monitoring and update could be done in a single location. The businesses that maintain the application will never need to manually make some changes in the local gadget but would provide improvement instead on the online application.
• Powerful Communication Features – Software as a Service is not only based on the fact that it provides functions for online processing, it also has powerful communication features. The mere fact that SaaS is often used online provides a strong backbone for Instant Messaging (Chat) or even voice calls (VOIP).
ADVANTAGES/DISADVANTAGES OF SAAS
Software as a Service is geared towards specific type of business. Although they can easily work in most enterprise settings, there are certain requirements SaaS would have that make it undesirable for some businesses.
• Powerful Internet Connection required – although connection online is available almost everywhere, the rate of connection is never the same. Some areas can’t provide strong internet connection and SaaS (as an online application) will have to load everything in the browser. The expected function might not even move forward without strong internet connectivity.
• Increased Security Risk – attacks are highly likely if everything is launched online. This is probably the most challenging part in SaaS and in Cloud Computing industry. SaaS has increase security concerns compared to other platforms because of its consistent interaction with different users.
• Load Balancing Feature – one of the challenges the business would face in cloud computing and all SaaS applications is load balancing. Although industry giants offer load balancing, it will still require consistent monitoring from businesses.
API AND MASH-UPS IN SAAS
SaaS is getting better and better as new trends in the industry are slowly being implemented. Among the trends in cloud computing is the powerful integration of API or Application Programming Interface. Although SaaS could provide the functionality the business needs, upgrades are important to keep up with the demands. Instead of changing the application, businesses will just add an API in their application. The integration is easy and maximum efficiency of the additional function is expected. Mash-up is another trend seen in SaaS which is a technique in combining two powerful applications.
Enterprises would do well to consider the flexibility and risk-management implications of adding SaaS to their portfolios of IT services. Integration and composition are critical components in your architecture strategies to incorporate SaaS successfully as a fully participating member of your service-centric IT infrastructure. Today, SaaS applications are expected to take advantage of the benefits of centralization through a single-instance, multi-tenant architecture, and to provide a feature-rich experience competitive with comparable onpremise applications. A typical SaaS application is offered either directly by the vendor or by an intermediary party called an aggregator, which bundles SaaS offerings from different vendors and offers them as part of a unified application platform.