Next Tuesday, October 6, I will be presenting a session on SaaS (Software as a Service) Enablement at TechFuse Minneapolis. In this session, I will be talking about RBA’s experiences with helping customers design and deploy scalable software services that provide direct value to customers and/or partners.
One question I get asked quite frequently on this topic is why SaaS is any different from regular web applications, implying that the same approach, patterns, and technologies can be used interchangeably. The key distinction between SaaS and a Web application is SaaS requires some type of provisioning to onboard a user and a web application might require a user to register but doesn’t require provisioning. This might appear to be an inconsequential difference, but that would be a mistaken assumption because provisioning is a very complex process. While a registration process requires the creation of a user’s account, a provisioning process requires the creation of an account in conjunction with some type of environment or workspace with solid boundaries for the work and data that the user generates or stores. This is called multi-tenancy and why existing approaches to designing web applications don’t work very well for SaaS enablement scenarios. It also means that if you have to do something manually behind the scenes to facilitate the provisioning process, you have some scale and growth limitations that will negatively impact your business.
While there is always more than one way to implement solutions like SaaS using a platform as robust as Azure, there are certainly ways that can lead to an undesirable outcome and some established patterns and practices that can help ensure a highly successful outcome. I will present some of these options and outline some real world scenarios of how they are being used today. I also enjoy hearing about what others are doing with the cloud so if you are attending, please come by to share your stories or ask questions about your scenarios.
My TechFuse session titled, “SaaS Enablement – Using the Cloud to Extend Your Reach” is on Tuesday, October 6 at 12:30pm. The level 3 advanced session is designed ideally for architects, product engineers and senior developers. Hope to see you there!