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SaaS: Still Not Simple-As-A-Service
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LawrenceGarvin
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LawrenceGarvin,
User Rank: Author
8/5/2014 | 12:01:30 PM
Re: good point
For my thoughts on what is, or is not, Software-as-a-Service, I invite you to read an earlier article here in Information Week.

http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/stop-the-cloud-i-want-to-get-off/d/d-id/1113948?

But truly, whether Dropbox is or is not SaaS is the least relevant point of this conversation. The point of the article is access to the *data* sitting behind the application. Since a Dropbox user has *direct* access to the individual files contained in that service, I'd say Dropbox is really out-of-scope for the concerns brought forth in the article.

As for "not being offline for a few hours".... personally I know of organizations that would be catastrophically affected if NetSuite or Saleforce were offline "for a few hours".

And, as for that naive "it's never happened before" mentality.... most catastrophically crashed servers in an organizations on-premise datacenter "have never crashed before"...

The point here is to be able to immediately and effectively recover from the "it's never happened before" possibility...

AND... as for that same mentality, I have but one word: Nirvanix.

http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/infrastructure-as-a-service/nirvanix-shutdown-some-customers-face-mission-impossible/d/d-id/1111601?

(At least Nirvanix provided a few weeks notice, which didn't do those people who needed six weeks worth of bandwidth to transfer their data much help anyway.)

The premise here is what happens when there's NO NOTICE!??

 
tom_t
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tom_t,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2014 | 11:52:38 AM
Re: good point
What's your examples of software as a service? When was DropBox or Netsuite ever offline for more than a few hours? Just wondering...
LawrenceGarvin
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LawrenceGarvin,
User Rank: Author
8/5/2014 | 11:22:48 AM
Re: good point
Comparing NetSuite (or Salesforce) and Dropbox is a bit of a stretch.

Dropbox is a single purpose utility where the data is always under direct control of the user. Dropbox is not, however, a Software-as-a-Service offering. It's just a file storage service.

NetSuite and Salesforce, however, have complex database structures behind them that assimilate and correlate the data from various different purposes. They are, simply stated, CRM-in-the-Cloud. Now consider the database environment that would sit underneath an on-premise CRM system. How would you protect that? How would you back it up? How would you write a Disaster Recovery plan for that on-premise CRM system? How would you write a Business Continuity plan for tha on-premise CRM system?

If your CRM server crashes, how do you rebuild it. Ahh... no problem, you have backups at an offsite safehouse, you just go get the media, rebuild the server, and restore.

Now.... explain that same procedure if NetSuite or Salesforce is inaccessible to your organization for a day? a week? longer? What if the company disappears completely (along with all of your CRM data)?
  • What is that procedure for backing up your NetSuite data to a *portable* state?
  • What is that procedure for backing up your Salesforce data to a *portable* state?
  • What vendors have you identified to replace Salesforce or NetSuite if they should "go away".
  • Have you *tested* the importing/restoring of those NetSuite and Salesforce backups you have?
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
8/5/2014 | 10:31:07 AM
Re: Still Not Simple-As-A-Service
I think your mentality is not taken often enough in the IT blogosphere, Lawrence. Talk is cheap; what's important is what happens when real IT organizations try to use this technology in a real-world setting. Many IT depts, even at large companies, don't really exist on that cutting edge. The expression is 'keeping the lights on' and while that may sound mundane, it's often the reality. for example, for them, constant connectivity might very well be a top concern... even if it already sounds old-fashioned to some of us. So, you're right - the 'cost savings' of SaaS might still be a trap to those of us who are ill-prepared... or just underequipped. One size certainly does not fit all.

As for privacy, compliance, and data ownership concerns, I think those are universal. We still have some people poo-poo'ing the idea that SaaS invites risk, and I get their point - you could say e-mail invites risk over snail mail, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't use e-mail. Nevertheless, people were skeptical of e-mail once upon a time, and we'd do well to keep that skepticism alive with SaaS. What data you're willing to let sit under someone else's control  (or risk non-compliance on, etc.) may vary depending on your company... so don't let someone else tell you whether or not it's the right decision. Decide for yourself.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
8/2/2014 | 6:30:51 AM
Re: good point
I agree with you, Laurianne. As I have mentioned in several other comments for SaaS topic, in cloud world the new silos and walls start to erect. The enterprise is being seized and confined to specific cloud vendors. It's not easy to achieve seamless portability across different vendors.
tom_t
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tom_t,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/2/2014 | 5:55:19 AM
Re: good point
I disagree. Certainly any organization expecting to replace an HR system or a financial one (workday, net suite) can expect to deal with complexity. But many SAAS offerings are aimed at ease if use, flexibility, and excellent end user experience. Look at DropBox - fulfills a niche, a need, with minimal hassle. Cost, even on-going, is reasonable. And there's plenty of other business apps that solve "one problem" well -- another aspect of SAAS we frequently forget. Of course one needs an "always on" Internet connection. But which smart phone like the iPhone connected via multiple wifi or the telecoms network, I'd argue even the SMB organization has levels of connectivity with up times unheard of only a few years ago. For not much money, and, frankly, almost everywhere.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/1/2014 | 1:06:23 PM
good point
"It's an entirely different consideration to have an offline/offsite backup of the dataset that your company can port easily into a competing SaaS product if the current one becomes unusable, unacceptable, or just goes away unexpectedly." This is such a big issue -- and certainly not easy at the moment.


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