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Given the massive shift to cloud computing and SaaS over the last five years, one can only conclude that the SaaS model must be doing something right. Cost and Flexibility are the two benefits of SaaS most commonly cited. But is the SaaS model the best we can do? What is wrong with SaaS?
- The promise of SaaS has been lower costs based on a utility model — pay only for what you use. While SaaS has often lowered costs compared to on-premise computing, real utility-model computing has never materialized. Enterprises still get locked into multi-year licenses that are typically priced based on the number of users rather than the amount of computing actually used.
- Even more so than on-premise computing, SaaS applications lock data into a silo-ed application. Connecting and sharing data between SaaS applications is typically difficult to do. Retrieving data from SaaS to be used for reporting, analytics and security can be costly.
- SaaS security and compliance is often complex and isn’t consistently implemented across SaaS applications. Derek Collison, CEO of Apcera, said that “it becomes challenging to understand the security footprint of the system as a whole as the number of SaaS services consumed increases.”
Further Pal notes that businesses often use multiple SaaS apps, all of which are already running in the same IaaS platform: AWS. He argues that deploying software by containers into a common IaaS instance would be more efficient. Doing that would enable security to be applied consistently across all the applications and make it easier to integrate and share data between applications running within the same infrastructure. Although the suggestion doesn’t necessarily help with the vendor pricing model — in fact, utility-model computing would likely be even more difficult to achieve with Pal’s proposed architecture, but it is an interesting suggestion.