Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Todd Matters, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Stackify Blog, Chris Schwarz

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo

Microservices Expo: Article

The Overlapping Worlds of SaaS and SOA

How SaaS and SOA will enable "IT as a Service"

Software as a Service (SaaS) is getting a lot of attention these days. The concept of SaaS is not new and has existed for a while. It has been referred to by other names such as Application Service Provider (ASP), Managed service provider (MSP), on-demand services, cloud computing, utility computing etc. SaaS involves exposing applications over the network on a subscription basis with the pay-as-you-go model. This model was earlier popular with only small businesses who didn't want to invest heavily in their own IT departments, but slowly, this model is making its way into medium and large enterprises. SaaS offerings from companies such as SalesForce.com and Cisco WebEx have made this move up the chain possible. SaaS value proposition is now pretty clear to companies of all sizes and SaaS has become a crucial component of IT strategy for all companies.

Similarly, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is getting a lot of attention these days. Again, the basic concept behind SOA is not new and has existed for a long time. SOA basically involves exposing functionality from distributed systems in the form of stateless functions; this is similar to other distributed system architectures such as CORBA and DCOM. What is making SOA much more popular and prevalent than CORBA or DCOM ever did is the web services standards such as SOAP, WSDL, UDDI etc. Similar standards existed with CORBA and DCOM as well but were not open enough and led to vendor or technology lock-in. With web services, all the major vendors are behind the same set of standards, so there is a higher chance of interoperability between various systems and hence a higher potential ROI for SOA.

SaaS deployments are revenue generating businesses targeted directly at end users, whereas SOA deployments are usually created within IT environments and the services are exposed to other applications as opposed to end users. What I intend to communicate through this article is the close relationship between SaaS and SOA. SaaS and SOA are very complementary in nature. In fact, they can't exist without each other.

What are the key elements of a SaaS platform? Every SaaS platform has to have a few core things in place, these are: multi-tenancy, ordering and provisioning, user authentication and authorization, service catalog and pricing, service monitoring, <st1:place w:st="on">SLA</st1:place> management, usage metering, billing, invoicing and payments. Besides these core components, a SaaS platform also needs to support the usual business functions such as marketing, lead tracking, sales, customer support, revenue and financial management, partner settlement, business intelligence etc.

Now, let's take a look at the key elements of a SOA platform. A typical SOA platform deployment consists of service producers and consumers from across the enterprise. Service producers publish services via the SOA platform, which get consumed by multiple service consumers. There has been a lot of focus on the technical aspects of a SOA platform e.g. service bus, communication protocols (e.g. SOAP), service interface definitions (e.g. WSDL), service discovery (e.g. UDDI) etc. The importance of service monitoring, management and governance is also well understood, but this is not enough. In a typical large enterprise, the service producers and consumers could be applications or systems belonging to different departments, organizations or even subsidiaries within the enterprise. In such environments, services cannot be produced and consumed informally without proper service management in place since there is a cost associated to hosting and exposing a service by the service producer. In order to derive this cost, the total cost of operations or ownership (TCO) needs to be taken into account besides the cost to create the service. Also, there are security concerns around publishing the services openly. This leads to the need for service catalog management, provisioning, authentication, authorization, usage metering and cross-department charging. As highlighted before, these are also the core elements of a SaaS platform. So as an enterprise SOA deployment matures, it is suddenly in need of the core functions of a SaaS platform.

Let's take a look at the flip side of this. Every SaaS platform needs to support the ability to add new service offerings and modify existing offerings in the service catalog with minimal changes to the core platform components. These additions or modifications should not lead to creation of a whole new SaaS platform for every service. Instead, all the basic functionalities of the SaaS platform such as ordering and provisioning, authentication and authorization, service catalog and pricing, metering, billing and invoicing, payments etc should be reused for multiple service offerings. Such reuse necessitates the need for a SOA platform. Further, use of a SOA platform enables other advantages such as a more flexible and plug-n-play architecture leading to lower overall cost of ownership.

It is probably quite intuitive that most complex architectures including SaaS architecture will benefit from SOA capabilities, but a SOA platform needing SaaS capabilities is not that intuitive. There has been a lot of hype around SOA for a while but most SOA deployments in large enterprises have either not been successful or have not provided the expected ROI because the SaaS elements are missing in these deployments. In order to realize the full benefits of large-scale SOA deployments, it is essential to have a SaaS like service management functionality in place. This is where SOA and SaaS together can enable the concept of "IT as a service" and help take IT to the next natural step in its evolution.

More Stories By Vinay Singla

Vinay Singla is a senior technology professional with extensive experience in the SaaS and SOA space.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
For most organizations, the move to hybrid cloud is now a question of when, not if. Fully 82% of enterprises plan to have a hybrid cloud strategy this year, according to Infoholic Research. The worldwide hybrid cloud computing market is expected to grow about 34% annually over the next five years, reaching $241.13 billion by 2022. Companies are embracing hybrid cloud because of the many advantages it offers compared to relying on a single provider for all of their cloud needs. Hybrid offers bala...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Microservices are increasingly used in the development world as developers work to create larger, more complex applications that are better developed and managed as a combination of smaller services that work cohesively together for larger, application-wide functionality. Tools such as Service Fabric are rising to meet the need to think about and build apps using a piece-by-piece methodology that is, frankly, less mind-boggling than considering the whole of the application at once. Today, we'll ...
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
Colocation is a central pillar of modern enterprise infrastructure planning because it provides greater control, insight, and performance than managed platforms. In spite of the inexorable rise of the cloud, most businesses with extensive IT hardware requirements choose to host their infrastructure in colocation data centers. According to a recent IDC survey, more than half of the businesses questioned use colocation services, and the number is even higher among established businesses and busine...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
There's a lot to gain from cloud computing, but success requires a thoughtful and enterprise focused approach. Cloud computing decouples data and information from the infrastructure on which it lies. A process that is a LOT more involved than dragging some folders from your desktop to a shared drive. Cloud computing as a mission transformation activity, not a technological one. As an organization moves from local information hosting to the cloud, one of the most important challenges is addressi...
In the decade following his article, cloud computing further cemented Carr’s perspective. Compute, storage, and network resources have become simple utilities, available at the proverbial turn of the faucet. The value they provide is immense, but the cloud playing field is amazingly level. Carr’s quote above presaged the cloud to a T. Today, however, we’re in the digital era. Mark Andreesen’s ‘software is eating the world’ prognostication is coming to pass, as enterprises realize they must be...
Hybrid IT is today’s reality, and while its implementation may seem daunting at times, more and more organizations are migrating to the cloud. In fact, according to SolarWinds 2017 IT Trends Index: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization 95 percent of organizations have migrated crucial applications to the cloud in the past year. As such, it’s in every IT professional’s best interest to know what to expect.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
A common misconception about the cloud is that one size fits all. Companies expecting to run all of their operations using one cloud solution or service must realize that doing so is akin to forcing the totality of their business functionality into a straightjacket. Unlocking the full potential of the cloud means embracing the multi-cloud future where businesses use their own cloud, and/or clouds from different vendors, to support separate functions or product groups. There is no single cloud so...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
Companies have always been concerned that traditional enterprise software is slow and complex to install, often disrupting critical and time-sensitive operations during roll-out. With the growing need to integrate new digital technologies into the enterprise to transform business processes, this concern has become even more pressing. A 2016 Panorama Consulting Solutions study revealed that enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects took an average of 21 months to install, with 57 percent of th...