Software as a Service (SaaS), commonly referred to as the Application Service Provider (ASP) model, is heralded by many as the new wave in application software distribution. Following the maxim that “the Internet changes everything,” many believe that traditional packaged desktop and enterprise applications will soon be swept away by the tide of Web-based, outsourced products and services that remove the responsibility for installation, maintenance and upgrades from over-burdened MIS staff. Some analysts and industry members believe that packaged software, as a separate entity will cease to exist. While such drastic predictions have not yet happened, due to technical and business issues, the spirit of this change – the delivery, management and payment of software as a service rather than a product – is affecting all participants in the software industry. SIIA has developed this backgrounder to analyze the current state of the SaaS market and its near term prospects, and to provide insight for our members who may be profoundly impacted by changes implied in the SaaS model.
As an association representing traditional software publishers, ASPs, service and infrastructure providers, SIIA is uniquely positioned to examine the competing forces promoting and resisting the model. SIIA believes that the software as a service model is capable of causing a sea change in the software industry. However, Software as a Service still must overcome several significant obstacles to widespread adoption.
The market is hindered by disagreement over the intrinsic characteristics of services and even the terminology used to describe application services. The definitions are constantly shifting, buffeted by the creation of new business models and technologies that companies employ to deliver their vision of software as a service. The marketplace is inundated with acronyms each representing a slightly different approach - application service provider (ASP), application infrastructure providers (AIPs) Internet business service (IBS), business service provider (BSP), solutions service provider (SSP) and more. Therefore, to avoid confusion SIIA refers to the model generally as software as a service.
Platform as a service (PaaS) is a category of cloud computing services that provides a computing platform and a solution stack as a service. Along with software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), it is a service model of cloud computing. In this model, the consumer creates the software using tools and/or libraries from the provider. The consumer also controls software deployment and configuration settings. The provider provides the networks, servers, storage, and other services.
PaaS offerings facilitate the deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software and provisioning hosting capabilities.
There are various types of PaaS vendors; however, all offer application hosting and a deployment environment, along with various integrated services. Services offer varying levels of scalability and maintenance.
PaaS offerings may also include facilities for application design, application development, testing, and deployment as well as services such as team collaboration, web service integration, and marshalling, database integration, security, scalability, storage, persistence, state management, application versioning, application instrumentation, and developer community facilitation.
SAAS AND PAAS technology