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SaaS offloads hosting, maintenance and daily technical operations of IT onto an external provider. SOA allows loosely-coupled networked data services to inter-communicate and act as building blocks for consumption by composite applications.
Both of these emerging technologies provide new models for delivering IT and push the world of IT further towards utility computing.
When combined, SaaS and SOA technologies have a powerful synergy. One example is what is being done at Rearden Commerce which is billed as the first “All-SOA company”. Rearden built their platform entirely on SOA components and published everything as a service. It is a J2EE stack built primarily on top of open source components. They’re providing services to handle operations like setting up meetings and travel bookings and then make those services available via a SaaS model for consumption by applications built by their customers. Sabre and DHL are clients that have signed up with Rearden.
The power of mixing and matching published SOA services and then adding on-demand SaaS availability is the fuel behind the success of providers like Salesforce.com and NetSuite.com. SOA + SaaS allows customers to quickly create feature-rich composite applications.
Mixing and matching SOA services provided as SaaS across various providers opens the door to a lot of challenges. Each service added to an application built on a set of composite services creates a potential point of failure, and the more potential points of failure, the greater the risk that the application will become unstable. That’s where ‘ecosystems’ like Salesforce and WebEx Connect will have an advantage, since all their own and partner services will be hosted under the roof of a single infrastructure.