Profile of David Linthicum
News & Commentary Posts: 115
David S. Linthicum is senior vice president of Cloud Technology Partners and an expert in complex distributed systems, including cloud computing, data integration, service oriented architecture (SOA), and big data systems. He has written more than 13 books on computing and has more than 3,000 published articles, as well as radio and TV appearances as a computing expert. In addition, David is a frequent keynote presenter at industry conferences, with over 500 presentations given in the last 20 years.
Articles by David Linthicum
IT consultant David Linthicum says ignore claims on performance and just test your application in a target environment.
Think of cloud computing as a big bandwagon that started the parade route with a few core items on it such as SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. However, street vendors keep tossing anything and everything onto the bandwagon as it rolls along, no matter if their products are truly cloud computing or not...
Gartner has released its 2010 Hype Cycle Report, identifying those technologies it thinks have reached the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" as well as those languishing in the "Trough of Disillusionment." Cloud computing hype seems to have peaked, and that's a good thing.
A recent study found that "79 percent of IT organizations consider the mainframe to be an essential component of their cloud computing strategy."... Yet, there are no good paths (meaning approaches and tools) for getting from the mainframe to the cloud...
Amazon is sneaking into larger enterprises, displacing some systems development technology, much like Google displaced Yahoo. The penetration has been so stealthy that many in the press and analyst communities have ignored the rise of the public clouds in the traditional big enterprises.
Standards are a funny thing. We all want them, rarely get them, and always seek more. It's pretty much a checklist item these days when it comes to cloud computing, but we could be in a bit of denial about the true value of standards.
It's an interesting thing. Everyone loves public cloud computing, but the initial adoption seems to be around private clouds, or, better put, clouds you can hug... Many initially stated they would not sell their technology as on-site software, but they are now changing their tune.
We could talk about capital expenses versus operating expenses or the concept of agility, including the elastic nature of cloud computing. So how should you evaluate the value of cloud computing in the context of your enterprise?
In a typical Gartner move, the analyst firm has listed several rights and one responsibility that should lead us to a better cloud-enabled world. Here's the abridged version...
Cloud computing has the attention of government leaders. Does this attention translate into good things, or bad things?
The recent Intuit outage provided the press with a good example of what happens when cloud computing fails. "Intuit's service outage this week affected Quickbase.com, Quicken, Quickbooks and TurboTax, leaving more than 300,000 largely SMB customers in a bind..."
We have several types of cloud deployments as defined by NIST. They are public, private, community, and hybrid clouds. We all know what private and public clouds are by now, but what about community and hybrid?
Is cloud computing so interesting and innovative that business sense is beside the point? No way! The advantage to the business is why we do cloud computing. The core issue is how you calculate ROI. Follow me here...
Oh, yes, I said it. The cloud can be killed. I'm here to warn you that bad things can happen to cloud computing... There is a dark side to any shift in technology, and I think there are three things that could kill the cloud.
As I do the cloud computing conference rounds, both big and small, I see a steady trend developing. I call it "Third-Layer" cloud computing technology, and I think the trend will continue.
I received a bunch of calls from the press last week around the release of the Apple iPad. "It's a cloud computing device," according to them. Thus, what kind of impact will the iPad have on cloud computing?
Most enterprises are not buying public-cloud computing systems as their primary platform for business-critical applications... For now, perhaps they should not go in this direction. That is, not until business continuity, or disaster recovery, becomes the next killer app for cloud computing.
Many organizations like the idea of cloud computing, but they don't like the idea of handing over their processes and data to a third party. Thus, the private cloud was born. It's providing a nice evolution for cloud computing, and is becoming a very effective architectural pattern.
Microsoft Azure finally went into production amidst much fanfare. The long-awaited Azure platform is Microsoft's big bet in the cloud computing space, but can they catch up to AWS, Salesforce.com, Google, and other existing cloud players?
You would have to be living under a rock not to hear the news that China attempted to hack into several Gmail accounts of human rights activists... The next fear is that bad guys will begin to focus on the SaaS and other cloud computing players...
The role of software as a service (SaaS) offerings will change in the next 12 to 16 months, and how it works itself into your IT operation will be significant. First, the rise of SaaS as an office automation solution will be very apparent in 2010. Second, third and fourth...
With much fanfare, the Google Chrome OS launched last week. Chrome OS is a Web operating system that boots quickly, right into a browser...
We've been here before... And I would rather not bind Chrome to cloud computing because I don't think the OS will be around long.
The Los Angeles City Council voted 12 to 0 last week to outsource its e-mail system to Google. The city will make the cloud a home for its enterprise e-mail with a $7.2-million contract that will move all 30,000 city employees to Google. This might be the most significant win to date for SaaS, a win that could drive others to cloud computing.
Hopefully you don't have a T-Mobile Sidekick. If you do, you'll be disheartened to learn that your contact data could be gone after a SANS upgrade that went sideways... So, let's see, data was lost. It was remote data. So, cloud computing failed again, correct?... We need to get smarter here.
My fellow cloud guy and twitter buddy, James Urquhart of Cisco, and I were kicking around the notion that few cloud horror stories have yet to emerge. I've seen a few, but most of those who have issues with cloud computing are reluctant to go on record with their problems. Here's an exception...
Every time Twitter goes out, or, in a recent case, a major free email system like Gmail goes down, people use the outage as an opportunity to cast shadows on cloud computing. I'm not sure why. In many cases its apples versus oranges, such as Twitter versus Amazon EC2...
A recent survey reveals that cloud computing fears regarding security, data management, total cost of ownership, regulatory and compliance issues, and vendor lock-in have actually increased...
It's clear that hype-driven cloud computing translates into dollars given to consultants who promise to lead enterprises to the Promised Land of 'As-a-service.' The coordinates being set by some consultants could lead enterprises to the wrong clouds with the wrong applications, and cost enterprises millions more than expected...
I'm consistently hearing that cloud computing is the "data center killer." That sentiment typically comes from cloud computing providers, but now it's coming from some in the press and analyst community as well. I figured I would set the record straight here, and reflect upon some of the key issues.
In the world of SaaS and cloud computing there is one single word that will send chills up the spines in IT: Multitenancy... It's the sharing part that gets many concerned... But the chances that data and processes will somehow intermingle... is right up there with lighting strikes and lottery wins.
I think the rise of cloud computing will leave many openings for criminals to take advantage of this paradigm shift. While many are concerned about malware and other types of attacks, the real money is to be made by fronting somebody else's intellectual property as your own, selling it "as a service."
If you push back on cloud computing, even for good reasons, then you're considered a backward thinker. If you go along with the trends and the hype, and your systems hit a cloud computing-enabled wall, then you're considered incompetent. I'm not sure which path is better.
The issue here is that cloud computing is really about, well, cloud computing. Existing hardware and software vendors, including Microsoft, Cisco, HP, and, of course, IBM seem to find that thought a bit scary and continue to toss traditional hardware and software at the problem...
Google Labs recently announced Google Fusion Tables, an "experimental system" for fusing data management and collaboration... The use cases here are numerous, but the core idea is that users will upload data, and then analyze and visualize the data on Google Maps or mashed up with other APIs, such as the Google Visualization API...
Rumor has it that Amazon is going to open source its Web services APIs -- APIs used by thousands of customers... What rank-and-file cloud and SaaS users would gain is a de facto standard that gets us out of the API-to-API development shuffle...
It's an accepted fact that computers and networks go down from time to time, either through hardware or software failures, or in the case of the Google outage, human error. We might as well get over that, and any expectations that cloud computing will make things worse, or better, should be tossed aside...
"Cloud computing providers require strong audits," according to SC Magazine's Angela Moscaritolo, who focuses on security in the world of SaaS and cloud computing. In reading through this article I kept returning to the fact that the cost of security, together with audits, could make cloud computing, including SaaS, cost prohibitive.
It's clear that IBM is banking on cloud computing, but not the public cloud computing that we've been talking so much about lately. IBM is focusing on the private cloud as a jumping off point to public clouds.
The world of cloud computing was shocked last week with the release of the McKinsey report on cloud computing, entitled "Clearing the Air on Cloud Computing." As with any of the thought-leadership pieces pushed out around cloud computing, it was quickly picked apart by the pundits.
Those who push back on SaaS and cloud computing typically site security, privacy, and legal issues, but they almost never talk about connectivity... In the recent shenanigans surrounding cut fiber lines in Silicon Valley, those affected quickly understood that Internet access can be gone in an instant...
The "Open Cloud Manifesto" proposes rules for cloud computing, including the use of open standards. I found it to be more about "motherhood, apple pie, and open standards," with no concrete detail in the document that would lead to anything of value. Here are the three problems with this document...
Most enterprises that use SaaS don't account for integration until the app has already been adopted, and then they attempt to retrofit a strategy and technology into the mix, which is always painful. Here are a few suggestions for a better approach.
When considering SaaS products such as Salesforce.com, NetSuite.com, or any of the 2,000-plus smaller SaaS players, the focus should be on leveraging pre-built business processes and not replacing existing core business systems...
Amazon has introduced "reserved instances," a new Amazon EC2 pricing option that lets businesses claim a part of the Amazon cloud as their own... Good thing? Sure! Companies that are dedicated to using cloud computing resources such as Amazon Web Services will benefit from this kind of pricing.
It's clear that new White House appointee Vivek Kundra is part of a "new generation of CIOs" that consider cloud computing as a viable architectural option. "I'm a big believer in disruptive technology," he told the Wall Street Journal. To him, following the traditional approach of only investing in tried-and-true systems is a sure way to become outdated...
A core value of cloud computing is the ability to shift the risk from your enterprise to the cloud computing provider. Since it's up to the cloud provider to handle the computing processing load and you'll pay by use, it's possible to reduce the risk that you'll run out of capacity. The burden of scaling shifts to the cloud provider.
My greatest fear as we run, not walk, in the direction of the clouds is that we won't consider how cloud computing folds into our IT strategy, but more how our IT strategy needs to fold into cloud computing. That's dangerous thinking, considering how many times we've done that over the years with less than positive results...
Far too many people out there in the emerging space of cloud computing are arguing the semantics of this model, and not what's important -- the architectural improvement opportunities and the reasons why businesses should look at cloud computing... What's important to this movement is the use of the model, the benefit to business, and what we need to do to get there.
The big push right now is around interoperability among cloud providers, or the notion of cloud vendors offering built-in communications -- as well as application and data portability -- among suppliers. Core to this concept is a buzzword I've been hearing the last few months: Intercloud.
If you think that private clouds are just doing public cloud-like things within the data center, you're dead wrong. As the hype builds around private clouds, the approaches to building these yet-to-be-defined virtualized systems are really left up to who's building them. There is no one approach, nor is there a killer technology in this space as of yet.
While many advocate cloud computing, others are weighing the fit within the modern enterprise. Bernard Golden lists five key areas of concern for enterprises considering cloud computing: Current enterprise apps can't be migrated conveniently; Legal, regulatory and business risk; the difficulty of managing cloud applications; the lack of SLAs; and the lack of a cost advantage for cloud computing. All good points, but here's some further analysis...
Computing is a movie you may have seen years ago called "time sharing," which gave us the ability to share computing resources among many different users. In those days, many companies actually shared a single computer sitting in some data center... It's how I started my career, and most people in their 40s or older remember those days well. So, what's new or better this time around?
Cloud computing is on fire with "new technology" and "new approaches" that are really not much different than things we've been doing for the past 30 years... However, in moving to cloud computing, it's also clear that not all information systems are good candidates to run in the clouds. Here are a few things to consider:
Amazon is now in the live data business with its recent launch of Public Data Sets on AWS (Amazon Web Services)... In essence, most data out there in the public domain, including information provided by the government, is now available, for free, from Amazon. This is clearly the company's entrance, with other data sets to appear shortly...
Speaking at a collaborative technologies conference recently, I was the lone mashup guy among consultants and IT execs trying to make sense out of Facebook, Twitter, and the proper place for social networking within the enterprise. Opinions varied, from "No way, it's too risky," to "It's a way of life, you might as well learn to use it for productivity." So, who's right? Let's take a look at the playing field.
I have no issue with IBM driving into the world of cloud computing - I figured it would. But just think about the larger hardware and software players - such as IBM and Microsoft, who are now moving toward the cloud - and the potential conflicts that could occur. In essence, your cable TV provider is offering to show you how to move to Satellite TV.
The best way to look at cloud computing is to learn how to classify the clouds. Right now I see at least five classifications: storage-as-a-service, database-as-a-service, applications-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, integration-as-a-service, and security-as-a-service. Each category has its own path to maturation, with applications-as-a-service (or SaaS), leading the way. The next push will be...
So Salesforce.com is moving from SaaS to cloud computing... So, What's the difference? And, where is this all going?... Once again we're playing buzzword bingo, but perhaps for good reasons... What will be interesting is the number of other SaaS companies that will follow Salesforce.com into the clouding computing space.
Microsoft last week unleashed it's Azure Cloud Computing offering into the IT universe, where there is some excitement that Microsoft is finally in the Cloud Computing game. I say nothing new here; I expected better... I'm really not a Microsoft basher; I had hoped that Azure would approach the cloud computing problem a bit differently.
Fellow TechWeb contributor Michael Biddick recently offered some great information on the cloud computing movement by taking a look at the factors that drive people to the clouds... While many IT leaders think the future is all about the clouds, many enterprises are slow to get off the bench.
I'm back. After about six months of not writing for this site, I'm back to hit the issues... In this blog we'll be looking at all aspects of the value of computing delivered as a service. This includes the latest offerings around SaaS, of course, but will also include my usual punditry and vision around the exploding world of cloud computing.
For some time I've been talking about the SaaS-only or SaaS-majority enterprise - a new or existing business that has most or all of its critical business applications-and data-delivered on-demand. This prospect scares the hell out of most IT shops, innovative organizations are finding huge benefits. Consider Shaklee's...
Case in point is this eWeek article about Shaklee's strategic movement into the SaaS space, finding many opportunities to save money and time over traditional approaches.
Back in the day, meaning 1995... cross-platform tools promised that you could write an application once and run it on any number of platforms. Most of them worked equally poorly on all platforms, and not many of those tools are around today... The Web marked the emergence of a new application platform that ran within browsers...
In the next era of SaaS, we have the opportunity to leverage discrete services for use within both SaaS-delivered and enterprise applications. These are typically Web services that provide a specific and narrow set of behaviors and data that are meant to become part of a larger application or composite. For instance, address-validation services, tax-rate-calculation services, stock-transaction services... This is the destination for the new Internet, and the next frontier for existing SaaS playe
I figured we would see a few of these. As SaaS takes off, major software vendors who were slow in the SaaS uptake may find that others do it for them, whether or not they have agreements. Microsoft is first to toss a punch at their partner Fasthosts, whose new product, Office SaaS, is a bit too similar to Office Client, according to Microsoft.
SaaS is not only changing the way we use software but also how vendors sell software... In the traditional sales model, the idea is to dazzle the customer in the beginning, make huge promises, and then collect the big check... In the SaaS model, the power is really with the customer, and the sales people have to take a very different approach to selling.
I guess I could point to all of the press releases and blog posts about Microsoft's $44 billion Yahoo bid, but there are thousands at this point and you already know what's going on... A core issue here is ownership of the SaaS marketplace, a clear direction for all of the major players and thus the driving force behind the current land grab, and this deal.
This week I'm speaking at the Open Group Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference in San Francisco. I did the Keynote presentation at the summer conference in Austin, Texas, and will be providing the Keynote at this conference as well. So, what does enterprise architecture have to do with SaaS? Plenty, and those who plan, work, and build their enterprise architectures today will ignore SaaS at their peril.
As announced last week, Salesforce.com's Force.com Development-as-a-Service presents "a new set of development tools and APIs that enable enterprise developers to easily harness the promise of cloud computing."... This announcement is creating some excitement in the world of SaaS, SOA and application development.
Some "SaaS" players are fly-by-night companies with all of the creditability of a porn site, and perhaps fewer scruples... Case in point, I needed to recover some files from a failing hard drive and I decided to SaaS-based recovery service a whirl... Not only did it not work, it blew up my system...
It seems that everyone is putting up predictions for 2008, so why should I be an exception? Here is what I think will occur in the world of software as a service this New Year...
Datamonitor recently conducted a survey of 300 pharmaceutical and biotech firms across Europe and North America and found that the on-demand CRM delivery provided by SaaS was more popular [than conventional CRM] in the five areas of service analyzed... The more SaaS becomes a part of the enterprise application suite, the more the end users seem to like it. Here's why...
We've talked about the "SaaS-ification" of existing applications before, and it's a prime activity for many software companies as they look to reinvent their conventional applications as SaaS offerings. Unfortunately, the results often leave users wanting more. In the move to the Web, you leave many of the nice, dynamic capabilities behind...
The increased use of SaaS-delivered applications create headaches for IT operations folks. What's core to the problem is the fact that enterprises don't directly control their SaaS infrastructure, and thus, things such as outages and performance issues are largely out of their control. The dilemma is that while IT operations wants to continue to control all applications, including SaaS, there is little they can actually do to resolve issues. Or, is there? Here are a few ways that IT operations c
The growth in the SaaS market has largely been around the bigger SaaS guys getting bigger while the remainder of the SaaS providers are still struggling a bit. The analysts don't like to point this out because it makes the market look a bit monopolistic and less interesting, but that's the way it is... What will change this situation over time is need and acceptance. As SaaS gains acceptance in the enterprise, the smaller players can exploit niche applications...
What's different from SaaS is that a virtual appliance can also be deployed on premises for customers that need local access to the running application. Many like this option, I'm finding, such as large corporations that have security requirements that a third-party hosting model does not meet. The underlying virtualization technology also allows for rapid movement of virtual appliance instances between physical execution environments. That's the core difference you need to consider in any compa
What Salesforce.com has done is extend its reach from applications on-demand to platform-on demand, meaning you can leverage existing applications, processes and services as well as a platform hosted by Salesforce for development, integration, database and user interface design and deployment, all on a subscription-based platform... Clearly, Salesforce.com will have the largest impact of any vendor in the emerging platform-on-demand space.
Well, it had to happen. Somebody who sells enterprise software had to push back on SaaS. In this case it was Oracle's Larry Ellison. Ellison told financial analysts in a quarterly earnings call last week that Oracle hasn't participated in the software-as-a-service trend because there's no money to be made there.
Government and SaaS have not mixed due to three major concerns: First, governments consider their business processes to be very specialized. Thus, neither packaged applications nor SaaS-delivered applications can meet their expectations. Second, they see their security needs as going well beyond what SaaS can offer... Finally, there is a clear control issue... they want to hug their servers.
This article reports on a new Burton Group study warding larger enterprises away from Google's SaaS-delivered office automation solution: "'At just $50 a year per user, Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) hosted office productivity suite could be one of the cheapest mistakes a large business makes.' That's one of the conclusions of a study by the Burton Group, which said GAPE... lacks strong regulatory compliance features and poor administrative tools for user accounts.
As CIO Today reported last week, "The worldwide software-as-a-service (SaaS) market reached $6.3 billion in 2006 and is forecast to grow to $19.3 billion by year-end 2011, according to Gartner." However, all of the news is not good. As I've discussed many times here, the movement toward SaaS is problematic for many conventional enterprise software vendors.
In the world of Enterprise Incentive Management (EIM), SaaS seems to be a good idea. According to Jeffrey Saling, "SaaS suits EIM for three important reasons. EIM systems management is usually outside an organization's core competencies... Other advantages include the fact that EIM does not require on-site deployment because it operates effectively outside a corporation's walls. Also, to the business issues, EIM's purpose is positively impacting the bottom line.
Those who leverage enterprise applications have two major complaints. First, the apps are too complex and too difficult to use. Second, they perform poorly, which is what I'm focusing on here... Most SaaS-vendors rely on the traditional HTTP/HTML pump-and-pull architecture. Thus, we're really using well-designed, well-delivered Web sites when using SaaS applications, not true, dynamic native interfaces. So, what's a SaaS advocate to do? Here are a few tips:
After my post last week on PaaS (Platform as a Service), I've been thinking more about PaaS and its relation to SaaS, and I figured I would back up a bit, and put things into context. I think we are moving in three clear directions. First, there's the movement from visual to service-based interfaces. Second, there's the movement to outsourced or virtualized business processes. Finally, there's the growing acceptance of on-demand platforms for applications, services, and now development and enter
What's the new buzzword? It's Platform as a Service, or PaaS.
Salesforce.com is promoting its Apex platform as a PaaS, something that goes well beyond the notion of a SaaS and that has the potential to change the game in how we consume all IT resources, not just applications... Core to the PaaS notion are a few major components: Development, deployment, integration, design, storage, and operations.
Microsoft is gunning for Salesforce.com and plans to declare a price war with a lower subscription price. Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM is Microsoft's answer to on-demand CRM, and subscription rates will be $44-$59 per user, per month... Microsoft may have an upper hand, long-term, because of its sheer size, but price won't be how it wins the war.
Virtualization has been a hot topic as corporate America seeks to do things faster, better and cheaper. Lately, I've been getting a lot of cross links with SaaS, so perhaps it's time to drill down on this topic a bit... We are moving to a world where computing resources and applications all will be virtual, and organizations will be formed around network access rather than data centers.
The notion that an enterprise can run entirely on SaaS sends many traditional software folks running for their Red Book IBM manuals, and rocking back and forth muttering "Say it's not so. Say it's not so." However, there are some small businesses out there that are approaching the state of SaaS-only operation, and many companies are sure to follow.
Indeed, as SMBs first moved into SaaS, they looked at SaaS-delivered applications as something new and interesting, and managed it as a silo. With increased use of SaaS, and as the business matures, there's a need to link SaaS-based apps with the rest of the enterprise. That type of integration is hard, but many SMBs now see the need. So, how do you integrate your SaaS applications with your other enterprise applications?...
In my past life I was CEO of Bridgewerx, a company providing integration both as an appliance and as SaaS. Bridgewerx used a pretty sophisticated model for its time, and it's a good approach since both models sell the notion of convenience and economy. Therein lies the synergy... I suspect we'll see more of the appliance model for SaaS or SaaS-like business applications in the years to come.
Services-oriented architecture, SOA-standard interfaces, SaaS applications and Internet-delivered services are opening up new options to mix, match and mash up internal, off-the-shelf and on-demand offerings into composite applications. The goal is to quickly respond to changing business requirements by taking advantage of ready-made components that fill gaps in applications. But how do you know when to buy and when to build? Here's a six-step approach to making the right choice.
In a recent development, smaller SaaS providers are lining up behind larger telecom players to better penetrate markets that are underserved. Jamcracker is an aggregator of SaaS providers that offers provisioning, billing and all of the essentials that a lot of ISVs need in order to convert their products to SaaS. Jamcracker is taking this platform to existing network players that have better connections with smaller businesses - the likely users of SaaS.
At Google's Developer Day event on May 31st, the company announced Google Gears, an open-source technology for creating off-line Web applications. You may think of "offline Web" as an oxymoron, but this type of technology is sorely needed to get around a key limitation of SaaS - the ability to use your SaaS applications when you're disconnected from the Internet.
A recent Red Herring article By Eydie Cubarrubia… came to the conclusion that: "On-demand software isn't so hot in the government sector."… I'm tracking with this as well. In my recent dealings with the government, there does not seem to be an interest in SaaS. Why? Well, the government agencies feel that SaaS does not relate to them because of security concerns and, most of all, that their long procurement processes don't lead toward SaaS.
I've been blogging about the "platform on-demand" space for a while now, clearly a destination for many SaaS players, with Salesforce.com leading the way. Indeed, Salesforce has been cobbling together an offering for some time now under the "Apex" brand. This week at its Salesforce Developer Conference the company announced it has added enough features to now offer Salesforce SOA, or SOA on-demand… I've always said that SaaS and SOA are linked concepts, now Salesforce.com is proving me rig
Truth be told, there is SaaS everything these days, including pet management on demand, SaaS-delivered engineering systems, and, my all-time favorite, SaaS applications that track other SaaS applications. Indeed, it's difficult to find a software startup that doesn't have a SaaS strategy or that's not an "all in" SaaS player. So, is this a bad thing? Well, it can be.
You can't just subscribe to SaaS and hope for the best. You have to consider it as part of the overall IT strategy, and thus part of the core architecture. Many who miss that fact end up doing "catch-up football," trying to use data that exists within SaaS applications. It's much easier to do it before your SaaS application takes off rathar than after - when it's like changing tires on a moving vehicle.
As I began to discuss in my last post, we're now seeing SaaS companies move into the platform space, selling beyond enterprise applications into databases, application development, integration, and even operating systems, all on demand. Case in point is the Platform Edition release by Salesforce.com last week.
Last week Symantec announced Symantec Protection Network, a software as a service (SaaS) platform designed to deliver easy-to-use security and availability offerings to small and mid-sized businesses... This is one in a long line of what I call "infrastructure on-demand products," and it's one of the most exciting areas of SaaS, if you ask me.
Blogger Ann All recently questioned the commitment to SaaS by the larger consulting firms saying, "software-as-a-service could be a good thing for folks like consultants and systems integrators - unless it ends up putting them out of business." Indeed, SaaS could lead to fewer consulting dollars, so larger consulting firms may be pushing back on SaaS to serve their own interests.