Date: August 2, 2010

Author: JT

Tags: , , ,

1 Comment »

SaaS Is Not Multitenancy!

SaaS image For the past few days I’ve been watching a discussion over what SaaS (Software as a Service) is.The interactions seem to have broken down into two main camps.

On one side, there are those who feel SaaS is defined by it’s technology platform, particularly whether it is single or multi-tenancy*.If you’re not using a multitenancy* platform, you can’t be profitable and you’ll fail. Period.

Just because a service provider does not have MT does not doom them to failure.If you have a very large scale customer, particularly in relation to the rest of your customer base, it may make sense to stand up a separate environment just for them.

The discussions have reminded me, a lot, of the old UNIX versus Windows diatribes 15 years ago.They were something along the lines of:Only UNIX for ‘real’ work; Windows for the ‘little people.’

If another major customer came along that might represent a 30% revenue bump, it just might make sense standing up yet another MT as ST instance for them as well.Is my business doomed? No. Very happy actually.Whichever path chosen, it would be economically driven.

 On the other side, there is the belief that SaaS, regardless of the underlying architecture, is a delivery and/or business model.In other words, you the customer are simply buying a service.

The customer does not care, should not need to care, what the technology platform under the hood may be.Sure, if they’re big enough, it may be part of due diligence (just as looking at financials may be). For most SMBs though, it simply does not matter.

The customer needs a car. What’s under the hood, Rayovac or Duracell?Don’t care. Does it do what I want?

SaaS offers two-sided benefits depending on your perspective.As a service provider, we now have technology that allows delivery of aservice with significant economies of scale, very flexibly, in a manner appealing to your customers.

As a customer, you benefit from those same economies of scale, consuming software services more flexibly, more simply, and without the hassles of ownership, maintenance, and perpetuity.

Sure, as a purist, I may like to argue in favor of MT as well.Guess I’m not all that pure;). What I do know, is most key decision makers are rarely technology purists.A sure fire way to stop a sales process in it’s tracks, is let it devolve into a discussion of ST vs MT and all the related minutiae.

From my perspective, keep it simple, it is: ‘Software’ ‘as a Service’

* Multitenancy is frequently used with or without a (-) hyhen, interchangeably.

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