Saturday, June 2, 2012

THE CHALLENGES OF SaaS PARADIGM

As with any new technology, SaaS and cloud concepts too suffer a number of limitations. These technologies are being diligently examined for specific situations and scenarios. The prickling and tricky issues in different layers and levels are being looked into. The overall views are listed out below. Loss or lack of the following features deters the massive adoption of clouds

1. Controllability
2. Visibility & flexibility
3. Security and Privacy
4. High Performance and Availability
5. Integration and Composition
6. Standards

A number of approaches are being investigated for resolving the identified issues and flaws. Private cloud, hybrid and the latest community cloud are being prescribed as the solution for most of these inefficiencies and deficiencies. As rightly pointed out by someone in his weblogs, still there are miles to go. There are several companies focusing on this issue. Boomi (http://www.dell.com/) is one among them. This company has published several well-written white papers elaborating the issues confronting those enterprises thinking and trying to embrace the third-party public clouds for hosting their services and applications.

Integration Conundrum. While SaaS applications offer outstanding value in terms of features and functionalities relative to cost, they have introduced several challenges specific to integration. The first issue is that the majority of SaaS applications are point solutions and service one line of business. As a result, companies without a method of synchronizing data between multiple lines of businesses are at a serious disadvantage in terms of maintaining accurate data, forecasting, and automating key business processes. Real-time data and functionality sharing is an essential ingredient for clouds.

APIs are Insufficient. Many SaaS providers have responded to the integration challenge by developing application programming interfaces (APIs). Unfortunately, accessing and managing data via an API requires a significant amount of coding as well as maintenance due to frequent API modifications and updates. Furthermore, despite the advent of web services, there is little to no standardization or consensus on the structure or format of SaaS APIs. As a result, the IT department expends an excess amount of time and resources developing and maintaining a unique method of communication for the API of each SaaS application deployed within the organization.

Data Transmission Security. SaaS providers go to great length to ensure that customer data is secure within the hosted environment. However, the need to transfer data from on-premise systems or applications behind the firewall with SaaS applications hosted outside of the client’s data center poses new challenges that need to be addressed by the integration solution of choice. It is critical that the integration solution is able to synchronize data bi-directionally from SaaS to on-premise without opening the firewall. Best-of-breed integration providers can offer the ability to do so by utilizing the same security as when a user is manually typing data into a web browser behind the firewall.

For any relocated application to provide the promised value for businesses and users, the minimum requirement is the interoperability between SaaS applications and on-premise enterprise packages. As SaaS applications were not initially designed keeping the interoperability requirement in mind, the integration process has become a little tougher assignment. There are other obstructions and barriers that come in the way of routing messages between on-demand applications and on-premise resources. Message, data and protocol translations have to happen at end-points or at the middleware layer in order to
decimate the blockade that is prohibiting the spontaneous sharing and purposeful collaboration among the participants. As applications and data are diverse, distributed and decentralized, versatile integration technologies and methods are very essential to smoothen the integration problem. Reflective middleware is an important necessity for enterprise-wide, real-time and synchronized view of information to benefit executives, decision-makers as well as users tactically as well as strategically. Data integrity, confidentiality, quality and value have to be preserved as services and applications are interlinked and saddled to work together.

The Impacts of Clouds [1, 2]. On the infrastructural front, in the recent past, the clouds have arrived onto the scene powerfully and have extended the horizon and the boundary of business applications, events and data. That is, business applications, development platforms etc. are getting moved to elastic, online and on-demand cloud infrastructures. Precisely speaking, increasingly for business, technical, financial and green reasons, applications and services are being readied and relocated to highly scalable and available clouds. The immediate implication and impact is that integration methodologies and middleware solutions have to take clouds too into account for establishing extended and integrated processes and views. Thus there is a clarion call for adaptive integration engines that seamlessly and spontaneously connect enterprise applications with cloud applications. Integration is being stretched further to the level of the expanding Internet and this is really a litmus test for system architects and integrators.

The perpetual integration puzzle has to be solved meticulously for the originally visualised success of SaaS style. Interoperability between SaaS and non-SaaS solutions remains the lead demand as integration leads to businessaware and people-centric composite systems and services. Boundaryless flow of information is necessary for enterprises to strategize to achieve greater successes, value and for delivering on the elusive goal of customer delight. Integration has been a big challenge for growing business behemoths, fortune 500 companies, and system integrators. Now with the availability, affordability and suitability of the cloud-sponsored and the state-of-the-art infrastructures for application deployment and delivery, the integration’s scope, size, and scale is expanding and this beneficial extension however have put integration architects, specialists and consultants in deeper trouble.


Source of Information : Wiley - Cloud Computing Principles and Paradigms 2011
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1 comments: on "THE CHALLENGES OF SaaS PARADIGM"

narayana p said...

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