Software as a service (SaaS) offers a subscription of cloud-based software applications to the user over the internet. SaaS users do not have to indulge in the diligence of purchasing the software along with the infrastructure on which the application will be installed and that is required to run the application’s logic.
SaaS has gained popularity as technologies supporting web services are worldwide accepted. Here, in this content, we will describe SaaS definition along with its key characteristics. Further, we will discuss its implementation and we will wind up the content discussing SaaS’s advantages and disadvantages.
Content: Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Software as a Service Definition
- Feature of Software as a Service
- SaaS Implementation
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Software as a Service
- Key Takeaways
Software as a Service Definition
Software as a service (SaaS) is one of the three main services provided by cloud computing along with PaaS and IaaS. SaaS is a software delivery model which you can subscribe to access cloud-based apps over the internet. In SaaS, the entities that you require to run the software such as runtime environment, middleware, operating system, networking, virtualization, server storage and data are also managed and maintained by the SaaS service provider.
Conventionally the user used to purchase the software and install it on their systems which emerges as ‘software as a product’. But in software as a service the SaaS vendor host the software along with the infrastructure which means the customer does not have to worry about anything. The SaaS customer only has to login to the web application over the internet to access the application. SaaS offers software for business as well as personal computing that can interact with the other data and applications in a wide variety of environment and platforms.
The difference between the traditional application hosted over the internet and the SaaS solution is that the SaaS services are ‘specifically developed to work within the web browser’.Though deploying software in a subscription-based model is quite complex if compared traditional installation of software on the device. To overcome this complexity, software in service-oriented architecture is associate to the price depending upon how many users will be using it. The SaaS vendor often imposes extra charges for providing extra bandwidth, more storage, premium features etc.
Examples of SaaS Services are Google Workspace, Dropbox, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, Concur and Slack. Let us further discuss the key features of the software as a service.
Feature of Software as a Service SaaS
The key features of the software as a service are discussed below:
1. Multitenant Architecture
Multitenancy is a feature that let multiple users access a single instance of the software application concurrently. The infrastructure and code associated with the software application are managed centrally by the SaaS vendor.
The SaaS services offer customization and personalization according to the requirement of the user. The customized SaaS services can be enhanced and upgraded easily without the support of any technical assistance.
For example, you all are aware of amazon.com you can customize the service with the help of clicks such as you can customize the service to view winter jackets only for kids by selecting appropriate category which is pretty much faster as compared to a traditional business software update that takes weeks or months.
The SaaS services can be accessed over the internet from any geographical location in the world. SaaS vendor monitors the privileges while users access the SaaS services, data usage. The SaaS vendor manages to ensure that every user of the software views the same information at the same time.
5. Subscription-Based Service
SaaS is a software delivery model where the user subscribe to SaaS vendor on a pay as you go basis to access the software solution offered by the SaaS vendor. This saves the cost and time of the customer.
To convert conventional on-premises software into a SaaS solution, Microsoft has identified four maturity levels that design SaaS architecture using one of the key attributes scalability, multi-tenant efficiency and ease of configuration.
1. Maturity Level 1-Ad-Hoc/ Custom: At this maturity level the SaaS architecture provides a unique and customized version of the hosted software whose instance is running on the host’s server. This maturity level does not require more development, in fact, it reduces the operating cost as now the software instance has been running on the host server.
2. Maturity Level 2-Configurability: The second level of maturity offers easy configuration through configuration metadata. Configuration metadata eases the SaaS vendor to configure the separate instance of the same application thereby satisfying varying needs of each customer. Using configuration metadata also ease maintenance as the vendor has to update a common code base.
3. Maturity Level 3-Multitenant Efficiency: The third level of maturity defines multitenancy to SaaS architecture. This allows multiple users to access a single instance of the application concurrently. This maturity level provides efficient use of resources without exhibiting any changes to end-user. Multitenancy limits the scalability in the SaaS architecture.
4. Maturity Level 4-Scalable: This maturity level adds scalability by using multitier architecture. The capacity of the system can be increased or decreased by adding or removing servers. There is no need to alter any modification in the architecture of the software application.
Advantages and Disadvantages of SaaS
Advantages of SaaS
- SaaS allow access to sophisticated enterprise applications even to the enterprise that does not have the budget to purchase and install their own setup to access these applications such as ERP, CRM.
- The SaaS is a subscription-based delivery model, the SaaS users only have to pay for the services they are using this saves the customer’s money.
- Multitenant architecture lets multiple users share the single instance of a SaaS application.
- The SaaS customer does not have to worry about the latest update in the hardware or software as it is the complete responsibility of the SaaS vendor update the entire SaaS architecture.
- The SaaS vendor can access the SaaS application from any geographical location and from any device with the internet connection.
- It is always easy to scale the SaaS services as it supports service on demand.
- The SaaS customer can customize their SaaS services to meet their need and requirement.
Disadvantage of SaaS
- Security of your information or data is always a point of concern in cloud computing.
- The on-premises software applications provide a higher degree of control when compared to the hosted software application.
- SaaS customers are totally dependent on the internet to access their licenced applications.
- SaaS is a cloud service that offers software as a solution to its customer.
- SaaS offers access to sophisticated software such as business applications, calendar, email and file sharing, etc.
- In SaaS, software instance is running on the SaaS vendor’s server.
- SaaS customer can access the software offered by SaaS vendor over the internet from multiple any location.
- SaaS has a multitenant architecture which let multiple users access a single instance of an application concurrently.
- SaaS vendor manages to maintain and upgrade the SaaS architecture.
- Similar to all cloud services SaaS is also scalable, cost and time-saving.
SaaS services offer a lot to their customer which let customer focus on their objective instead of worrying about the installation of infrastructure and software, its maintenance and updations.
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