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Evolution of ASP to SaaS and Beyond

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I have worked in the Software business for a lot of years; and it used to be simple in the past. You would find a hardware vendor, buy a server, put your software on it and ship out to a new customer. The customer would put it into a closet, which always got too hot, along with some tape cartridges. The customer had a maintenance contract with a hardware vendor to fix the hardware when it broke. Then there was the lucky sole who would get to wait after the business closed to run the backups of the data to tapes, so they could be taken off-site. This usually meant they took the tapes home with them for “secure” storage.

Then came along the idea that customers no longer wanted to put up with this less than ideal arrangement and started to demand that their applications be served up by the software companies. The era of Application Service Providers (ASP) was born. The software companies had two options. One, host it in their hot closet along with their own test and development servers; or two, go look for a third party data center.

As the markets have evolved the name has been changed from ASP to SaaS (Software as a Service) and third party data centers to IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). There are some easy-to-see benefits to customers using the SaaS model, especially as the Internet and Cloud are now accessible to many devices like a smart phone. But to have this all work, the software companies need companies that can deliver the Infrastructure at a very reliable level and meet the needs of their applications, customer’s demands and security. The software companies rely on a true partnership with infrastructure providers, because it is not always black and white when issues arise. Issues somewhere along the service delivery or Cloud model will come up and it takes a team effort to keep things running smoothly. So it is good to pick a partner that will be with you when things get tense.

There are many XaaS (Anything as a Service) models popping up every day, like PaaS (Platform as a Service), DBaaS (Database as a Service) CaaS (Communications as a Service), NaaS (Network as a Service) MaaS (Monitoring as a service), etc. As technology evolves, we see even more of a need for solid Infrastructure providers that stay current with newest technologies for their partners.