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Cloud Computing Takes Off With SaaS

IT departments have been using IaaS and PaaS as a set of training wheels for the real deal in cloud computing: SaaS.

In 2013, enterprise organizations spent a great deal of time offloading servers into infrastructure-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service models. Software-as-a-service was just as popular, but you can look for the software-centric cloud to thrive as companies hand over more of the IT management reins.

IaaS and PaaS gained popularity primarily because they allowed organizations to test cloud providers without giving up complete control over managing applications. IT decision makers often pushed brand-new applications and services into a SaaS model, but they were hesitant to offload the full management of highly customized and mission-critical software in production. As a compromise, they experimented with IaaS and PaaS to offload infrastructure to a third party while allowing application-level management by in-house IT staff.

For many of us, 2013 proved that cloud computing was not only cost effective, but also reliable and flexible. Enterprise cloud adoption rates are staggering. Because of continued growth and customer confidence, cloud providers are hoping to transfer additional infrastructure services to the cloud while converting IaaS and PaaS customers into SaaS customers. And for enterprises that may cut IT budgets for the year, investigating cloud services is a logical place to start -- though there are a couple caveats.

When discussing the possibility of moving to a full SaaS model, IT managers must consider the level of expertise a particular cloud provider has with a specific piece of software. You can forget about cloud providers supporting homegrown or highly customized applications. SaaS models are far less flexible and tend to support generic configurations. Also, keep in mind that software updates and new feature releases will be performed when the provider is ready, not when you want them.

Another drawback to SaaS is that you must relinquish control of application security to your cloud partner. As IT security becomes increasingly important, some enterprises are figuring out that cloud providers aren't providing the level of security control and visibility that they would like. Instead, only the most basic level of security features are enforced -- on application front ends as well as backend databases.

When looking for a SaaS provider, make sure you choose one that offers flexible contracts that allow for specialized treatment of application-level security to keep data safe. It may cost more, but it could be well worth it in the long run.

In a sense, I've always viewed IaaS and PaaS as a set of training wheels for IT departments. These services give organizations the opportunity to migrate applications from in-house infrastructure and into the cloud. And now that many companies have grown comfortable with the idea of cloud computing, they will look to leverage cloud services even more. Despite concerns over software flexibility and security, the benefits -- and cost savings -- will likely outweigh most negative concerns. Say goodbye to PaaS and IaaS; we're moving on to SaaS.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio
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ILove2Blog
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ILove2Blog,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/13/2014 | 8:00:42 AM
Re: Just the opposite.
SAAS though, getting popular and is being noticed by large IT setups but security is the core issue yet to be addressed. Assurances by SAAS and other cloud service providers is one aspect but large enterprises are taking time to jump  into SAAS. If all security related issues are addressed properly, accessing and ADP software from a secured device would certainly be a blessing for organizations. Still, I strongly believe that getting SAASified brings many benefits including, report building, and reduce errors from trying to rush before trying to leave work! Now, payroll admins can process on their schedule. dinCloud DAAS providing company addresses advantages of SAAS this way "with a saasified ADP, organizations can increase productivity by making the software accessible from any secure device. This reduces overtime, report building, and reduce errors from trying to rush before trying to leave work! Now, payroll admins can process on their schedule".  http://www.dincloud.com/blog/ADP-software-as-a-service-vs-hosted-virtual-desktop/
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/10/2014 | 7:07:49 PM
Re: Just the opposite.
Jonathan makes some very valid points about moving directly to PaaS. I think that many companies this year will take it one additional step and move to a SaaS architecture.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/10/2014 | 1:11:17 PM
Re: Just the opposite.
What about the notion of business people using PaaS to avoid IT bureaucracy -- Jonathan Feldman made a persuasive case for this recently: See http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/platform-as-a-service/why-iaas-wont-happen-at-most-enterprises/d/d-id/1113684
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/10/2014 | 10:22:49 AM
Re: Just the opposite.
This ultimately will boil down to is issue of application flexibility and cost. As service providers continue to get better at offering cloud services, the gap between paying for PaaS or IaaS along with in-house staff vs. SaaS alone is going to widen.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/10/2014 | 9:45:05 AM
Re: Just the opposite.
I gotta agree with Drew on this one. It all started with SaaS: Salesforce.com, a handful of SaaS-based expense apps, Gmail, etc. Once companies started to get comfortable with SaaS, they started taking a look at IaaS and Paas.
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Strategist
2/10/2014 | 9:35:29 AM
Just the opposite.
I think it's just the opposite: SaaS is what got many companies more comfortable with the cloud, which made them willing to give IaaS and PaaS a try. SaaS made it dead-simple to get users up and running, and IT folks saw that the world didn't end because data was out of their control, so then IaaS and PaaS start to seem more viable.
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