Designing SAAS Applications

It is fair to say that IT honchos are faced with complex business problems in a very competitive market space today. Hence the solutions being offered need to be very innovative and continuously upgradeable. This is exactly what SAAS (Software As A Service) gives to its’ users. Gmail is a great example of SAAS, where the software is available to the customer in an “on-demand” format. Now let’s have a look at the four key factors to keep in mind while choosing SAAS as an option to fulfill your business requirements.

1. Multi-tenancy

In SAAS, a framework is designed in such a way that every client organization virtually deals with its own customized application instance.The SAAS application should support multi-tenancy; otherwise you have to create separate software instance for each of the clients. To understand this concept better, let’s say there is a company offering Time Tracking Software (TTS) as a service. By definition TTS means electronic format of traditional paper, which is used for tracking number of hours spent by workers. Now the question arises about how many employees of the client will be using the service. Also what features of the application they will be availing depends onthe needs ofeach client.

Now this is similar to a commercial building where each floor is homogeneous in appearance and belongs to a different company. According to the business needs of the company, they will be using the floor and customize the space needed for the reception, pantry etc. So in this analogy, each of the floors of the commercial building is a SAAS application, which is being provided to different clients, and they customize it according to their specific needs.

2. No downtimes

Whenever the system is under scheduled maintenance, does it meanthat the client availing the service should wait for the downtime to get over? The answer for this question surely is a big “NO”. This is because the downtime is already planned for. We keep amirror image of the system and hence are ready to avoid downtime failures. An analogy to explain this is using a spare tire for a car, so that it can be immediately used in case the existing tire malfunctions.

3. Flexibility with reference to switching vendors

There are different cloud vendors available when you want to builda SAAS application. Different vendors provide frameworks such as VMware vCloud Suite and Microsoft’s Windows Azure. Since these vendors support different operating systems, database designs, the developer is able to switch between different coding languages. This flexibility is critical while building SAAS applications.

4. Scaling

Any SAAS applicationhas to have dynamically elastic infrastructure. This means that it has to scale down, when tenants leave or scale up when more tenants are active. That is, it should have shared infrastructure to handle multiple clients.

At the end of the day, SAAS is a very reliable software delivery model since everything is hosted on the cloud. One of the biggest advantages that SAAS brings to the table is the reduction in IT support costs.This is possible since the software maintenance and hardware is outsourced to the SAAS provider.

Jugal Tripathi is a Market Research and Business Development Consultant at Compassites.He kick started his professional career 5 years ago and worked across various profiles such as content developer and academic consultant centre operations.He holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from National Institute Of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal.He is always active in participating in various management fests across the country.

Leave a comment