Sunday, February 7, 2010

Software as a service

Software as a service (SaaS, typically pronounced 'sass') is a model of software deployment whereby a provider licenses an application to customers for use as a service on demand. SaaS software vendors may host the application on their own web servers or upload the application to the consumer device, disabling it after use or after the on-demand contract expires. The on-demand function may be handled internally to share licenses within a firm or by a third-party application service provider (ASP) sharing licenses between firms


The concept of "software as a service" started to circulate before 1999.[1] In December 2000, Bennett et al. noted the term as "beginning to gain acceptance in the marketplace".[2]

While the phrase "software as a service" passed into common usage, the CamelCase acronym "SaaS" term was coined by Bennett et al as the “beginning for gaining acceptance in the marketplace” in December 2000. An article called "Strategic Backgrounder: Software as a Service", published in February 2001 by the Software & Information Industry's (SIIA) eBusiness Division, discusses this. The claim that it was actually written in the fall of 2000 angers Bennett (according to internal Association records).[3]

One of the first SaaS applications was SiteEasy, a web-site-in-a-box for small businesses, that launched in 1998 at Developed by Atlanta-based firm WebTransit (co-founded by Gary Troutman and Drew Wilkins), SiteEasy was sold on a subscription-basis for a monthly fee to its first customer in the Fall of 1998.


As a term, SaaS is generally associated by software professionals and business associates with business software and is typically thought of as a low-cost way for businesses to obtain rights to use software as needed versus licensing all devices with all applications. On-demand licensing enables the benefits of commercially licensed use without the associated complexity and potential high initial cost of equipping every device with the applications that are only used when needed.

Virtually all software fits the SaaS model well.[citation needed] Many Unix applications already have this functionality whereas EULA applications never had this flexibility before SaaS.[clarification needed] A licensed copy of a word processor, for example, had to reside on the machine to create a document. The equipped program has no intrinsic value loaded on a computer that is turned off for the night. Worse yet, the same employee may need another fully paid license to write or edit a report at home on their own computer, while the work license is inoperative. Remote administration software attempts to resolve this issue through sharing CPU controls instead of licensing on demand. While promising, it requires leaving the licensed host computer on and it creates security issues from the remote accessing to run an application. SaaS achieves efficiencies by enabling the on demand licensing and management of the information and output, independent of the hardware location.

SaaS applications differ from earlier applications delivered over the Internet in that SaaS solutions were developed specifically to leverage web technologies such as the browser, thereby making them web-native.[citation needed] The data design and architecture of SaaS applications are specifically built with a 'multi-tenant' backend, thus enabling multiple customers or users to access a shared data model. This further differentiates SaaS from client/server or 'ASP' (Application Service Provider) solutions in that SaaS providers leverage enormous economies of scale in deployment, management, and support throughout the Software Development Lifecycle.

Key characteristics

Characteristics of SaaS include:[5][dead link]

* network-based access to, and management of, commercially available software
* activities managed from central locations rather than at each customer's site, enabling customers to access applications remotely via the Web
* application delivery typically closer to a one-to-many model (single instance, multi-tenant architecture) than to a one-to-one model, including architecture, pricing, partnering, and management characteristics
* centralized feature updating, which obviates the need for end-users to download patches and upgrades.
* frequent integration into a larger network of communicating software - either as part of a mashup or as a plugin to a platform as a service. (Service oriented architecture is naturally more complex than traditional models of software deployment.) Related Resources:
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