You may have noticed that the traditional big logo enterprise software companies have positioned themselves as cloud companies overnight. The SaaS marketeers have confused the marketplace by making themselves look like Cloud companies without changing their products, underlying technology, code base, feature sets, pricing or business models. Isn’t that amazing?

It is not amazing at all. They are doing this because it helps them protect their old investment while riding the new wave through clever marketing, that’s all.

Here is one way to measure the SaaS vs Cloud offerings from your enterprise software vendors.

What is a SaaS (Software as a Service) offering?

  • Customer’s App and data is hosted and managed by the App Vendor in a datacenter location of app vendor’s choice.
  • App and the associated data resides on servers that are managed and in full control of the App vendor. Again, this means App vendors staff, contractor, partners may be accessing your App and/or data without your knowledge or permission.
  • Low and high security assurance customers sharing the same app servers or datacenter.
  • Customer has no idea where (physically) the app or data resides. So it is not clear whose laws and jurisdiction apply.
  • Mostly one set of standard App features shared by all customers.
  • Strong branding of the App vendor (instead of the customer).
  • Harder to customize for each specific customers use and use case.

What is a Cloud offering?

  • Cloud is all about Virtualization.
  • Customer can choose to deploy the App in their own Private Cloud or Public Cloud.
  • Customer chooses location (region, country) of the datacenter where the App and associated data is deployed. Reason: compliance with local laws and regulations.
  • Customer has exclusive and full control of the App and data.
  • Customer has the option to self-manage the App and data.
  • Customer has the option to delegate management of the app or app-data or both to one or more vendors of choice.
  • Customer can promote their own branding.
  • Customer can choose to increase capacity of the App based on usage, traffic anytime.
  • Customers can select the scale of App usage anytime based on:
    • number of servers the App should run on.
    • use of load-balancers, firewalls, routers, IDS/IPS, proxy server, gateways.
    • use of specific amount of database storage or file storage based on need.
  • Sample examples of true Cloud offerings: Elastic SSO Team and Elastic SSO Enterprise available via Amazon AWS Marketplace.
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