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Is SaaS Dead? | @CloudExpo #BigData #IoT #IaaS #SaaS #AI #DevOps #FinTech
The rapid growth of hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS is changing the SaaS playing field
By: Gaurav Pal
May. 19, 2017 10:00 PM
Is SaaS Dead? Are We Headed to a World of ASP 2.0 or Dedicated SaaS?
The emergence of hyper-scale Infrastructure as-a-Service (IaaS) platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) is challenging the traditional Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) value proposition. SaaS CEOs, investors and SaaS buyers must carefully evaluate the implications of "all-in" migration to hyperscale IaaS platforms that offer value-added platform services that go beyond simple infrastructure services. This article provides a point of view and insights into changes in the SaaS market, which has three principal drivers 1) technical, 2) business, and 3) security and compliance.
History of SaaS
The early success of SaaS helped change customer behavior. Customers became comfortable with data and software running outside of their firewalls. The concept of management by SLAs was in many ways driven by the initial success of SaaS. In the past few years the trend towards SaaS creation and adoption has exploded with the adoption of hyperscale IaaS platforms by SaaS vendors.
This is the great paradox.
The emergence of public cloud IaaS platforms on the one hand is fueling the explosive growth of SaaS, but at the same time it will kill (or dramatically disrupt) SaaS as it destroys the fundamental value proposition.
Will SaaS Work in the Public Cloud Era?
Your Cloud or My Cloud?
As both SaaS providers and enterprise SaaS consumers start to operate on the same platform, the SaaS "value-stack" is significantly diminished. Artificial data silos are created for the enterprise when their "SaaS" data is resident right next to their enterprise data separated just by a contractual boundary. SaaS buyers in many ways "pay" twice for their data. Once for storing it in the SaaS platform and a second time for backing it up into their "cloud environment" for security or analytical purposes. Many enterprises often overlook the hidden costs associated with SaaS. These include hard network and storage costs associated with copying data back and forth for backup/retention or analytics purposes.
Is Upgrading and Updating Software Really That Hard Now?
If both the SaaS provider and the consumer have access to the same set of tools on the same cloud platform, what is the real value-add from the SaaS service? Just the software, right?
Upended Revenue Model
The customer now wants true pay-as-you-go or consumption-based pricing. This means paying for actual transactions when actual costs are actually incurred. This is especially true now that SaaS providers migrate to IaaS platforms that offer transaction-based pricing. The SaaS providers' underlying cost basis for infrastructure and related components is truly hourly and consumption driven. This has huge implications. Let's see this through a sample scenario.
Assume those 100 users consume 100 GB of space and five cloud servers. The customer adds another 50 users but because of limited usage, the storage and compute requirements did not really change much. Why should the customer pay an additional $5,000 for those additional 50 users, if the underlying incremental costs did not change that much?
SaaS buyers are starting to think real hard when deciding between a "per-user" SaaS annual subscription model versus a "cloud-hosted" managed "shrink-wrapped" solution. Given that in both scenarios the "raw material" is the same cloud platform.
Security and Compliance
Further, as enterprises get better with cloud services, they are increasingly seeking access to their data stored on SaaS platforms. Data residency, access control and enterprise risk management are difficult questions that must be addressed. Now that the enterprise and the SaaS service are operating on the same cloud platform, the argument for "dedicated" SaaS is increasingly coming up.
Fast Forward to the Past?
Will we see Application Server Providers (ASP2) that focus on delivering great software hosted within "dedicated" cloud environments or within the clients' cloud environment? Will the SaaS revenue model change from a per user annual subscription to a pay-per-call model as serverless computing takes shape?
Making the right strategic decisions is critical for both cloud services buyers and providers to ensure their ability to sustain and thrive in the cloud computing age. The emergence of serverless computing, cloud marketplaces and pay-per-call transaction pricing offer entrepreneurs a rich canvas to build the next generation of cloud-native services.
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