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Do you have a SaaS strategy? Most IT organizations don’t. In our InformationWeek Analytics survey of 131 SaaS customers, 59% say it’s a point solution, not a long-term strategy. Yet SaaS and the broader concept of cloud computing are the hottest topics in IT since the Internet itself, so it’s not surprising there’s much interest among your company’s leadership. Your CEO and CFO are reading about the trend; they hear it talked about at conferences. And your business unit leaders have been pitched by SaaS vendors, and they may have bought some. So any blanket “not for us” won’t cut it. Our survey finds that 47% of companies use some SaaS, and that number is certain to rise rapidly.We talked with CIOs about how they discuss SaaS with the most senior leaders of their companies. Based on that, we offer five guidelines.
Potential Organizations for Cloud AdoptionEssentially all types of organization will benefit by adopting Cloud computing, however, the following type will benefit the most: * R&D firms who need to remain focused on their core business / area * Fast growing businesses with major fluctuation of capacity * Start-up firms that need to cut out on capital expenses and plan on per-project basis * Businesses requiring stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs) * Business automating new areas of operation which need initial validation
Cloud applications can expand your company’s horizons — and they’re not bad for the balance sheet, writes Cynthia Karena.The ability to access his company information from anywhere is what sells web-based business software to Simon Goodrich, the managing director of the digital technology company Portable Content (portablecontent.com).Web-based software is what you use on the internet with a web browser. There is no need to install or download anything and data is backed-up automatically off-site. The applications are a click away.// Many businesses use Google applications such as Gmail or Google Calendar but here are some lesser-known useful web applications suited to small businesses.Goodrich looks to web applications to save money, effort and time. “They are constantly being upgraded,” he says. “You don’t have to wait two years.”
So, what was the problem? The CIO was increasingly alarmed about three issues: * The lack of elasticity. If the company suddenly had a bad quarter and wanted to reduce the number of licenses supported, they would be out of luck. One of the key promises of cloud computing and SaaS just went out the window. * High costs of the services model. It occurred to the CIO that the company was paying a lot more to support the SaaS application than it would have cost to buy an on premise CRM application. While there were many benefits to the reduced hardware and support requirements, the CIO was starting to wonder if the costs were justified. Did the company really do the analysis to determine the long-term cost/benefit of cloud? How would he be able to explain the long- term ramifications of budget increases that he expects will come to the CFO? It is not a conversation that he is looking forward to having. * No exit strategy. Given the amount of customization that the company has invested in, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no easy answer – and no free lunch. One of the reasons that the company had decided to implement SaaS was the assumption that it would be possible to migrate from one SaaS application to another. However, while it might be possible to migrate basic data from a SaaS application, it is almost impossible to migrate the process information. Shouldn’t there be a different approach to integration in clouds than for on premise?
Image via Wikipedia
So what does this mean?
In the first place, computing is about achieving a piece of work, what the work consists of is irrelevant for the definition.
Grid computing is about achieving or completing a humongous piece of work which if given to a single computer would take an inordinately large amount of time and would also in all probability lock up the CPU cycles of the machine, leading to that notorious reaction ‘My computer froze”.
For people who are maybe not technically minded but are aware of SETI@home (The Search For Extra Terrestrial Intelligence – this is a volunteer computing project that utilizes the unused CPU cycles of volunteer home and work PCs to analyze radio signals emanating from space for signs of some sort of intelligent life out there. This seeks to answer that philosophical question “Are we the only ones out here on Planet Earth? It cannot be – there must be someone out there in the vast reaches of the universe”.
What this implies that each volunteer machine downloads a set of radio signal data, analyses it and sends the results back to the SETI project server. The SETI@home application is a screen-saver to be loaded onto the client machine.
This is what in technical terms is known as CPU scavenging and volunteer computing.
Image via Wikipedia
A series on cloud computing would not be complete without a post on virtualization.
Now, what is virtualization?
A definition of the term virtualization would go as follows:
Virtualization is technology that
allows application workloads to be
managed independent of host hardware.
Multiple applications can
share a single, physical server.
Workloads can be moved from one
host to another without downtime.
IT infrastructure can be managed
as a pool of resources, rather than
a collection of physical devices.
The ability of a single hardware system to support multiple virtual machines thus optimizing the use of the hardware and thus providing more bang for the buck is the cornerstone of virtualization technology.
Virtualization is about multi-tenancy i.e. the ability to have multiple applications residing on the same infrastructure.
Virtualization is most often implemented on x86 servers as either operating system
(OS) virtualization or hypervisor-based virtual machines. OS virtualization uses
a single instance of an operating system (such as Microsoft® Windows® or
Linux®) with the help of virtualization software, to host a large number of individual
The hypervisor approach is completely different. A hypervisor is code shared
among the guest operating systems and the hardware. The guest operating systems
can be various versions of Windows and Linux, and can be mixed and
matched on the same system. (For example, Windows 2000, Windows Vista,
SLES 9 with Xen, and RHEL 5 without Xen can all operate simultaneously,
including standard and enterprise varieties of each, as well as both 32-bit and
The hypervisor ensures that each operating system instance gets its proper share
of hardware resources and also that activity in one virtual machine (VM), or partition,
does not impact any other partition or the overall system.
Virtualization is about intelligent sharing of computing, resources and storage. Virtualization is about being dynamic with your allocation of resources, computing and storage. It is juggling multiple balls or applications transparently without the complexities becoming evident to the user of the applications.
Virtualization allows you to be flexible with your allocation of resources.It allows for failover, load-balancing, disaster recovery and real-time server maintenance.
The complexity of virtualization needs a single interface from where this infrastructure can be managed.
Virtualization lends itself to reduction in cost i.e. in the spending on hardware and at the same time an increase in productivity of the hardware installed. However, it is not a silver bullet and brings with it complexities that would have been avoided in a non-virtual infrastructure. The need to balance performance needs with maximizing workload is what virtualizing organizations grapple with.
Virtualization can help you maximize the value of your IT dollars:
● Business agility in changing markets
● Computing resources to meet both current and future needs within the existing
● An IT infrastructure that is flexible and can scale with business growth
● Performance that can handle the most demanding applications
● An industry-standard platform architecture
● Intelligent management tools
● Servers with enterprise attributes—regardless of their size or form factor
Virtualization can help you improve IT services:
● Rapidly provision new application workloads—cut setup time from days or
weeks to minutes
● Improve IT responsiveness to business needs
● Eliminate planned downtime by moving workloads before hardware
● Greatly reduce—even eliminate—unplanned downtime
Virtualization strategy is the backbone of cloud computing solutions. Without virtualization, cloud computing would have a mountain to climb, with virtualization, its the case of going up a hill but appearing to come down a mountain!
Have a great day!
Source: IBM White Paper
Virtualization strategy for mid-sized businesses
IBM and VMware virtualization benefits for mid-sized businesses
Quote of the day:
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. – George Orwell