Recently I talked to two companies that said they were Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). After asking more questions and drilling into details for a bit I came to the realization that what they were referring to as SaaS was independent virtualized instances of their product in the cloud. SaaS, to me, is very different.
Here’s how I define multi-tenant SaaS:
- Application servers that support multiple clients
- Databases that support multiple clients in the same tables
- Infrastructure (load balancers, fail-overs, etc) to support many customers
Virtualization of the application delivered via the cloud is essentially a more manageable version of the late 1990s Application Service Provider (ASP) model, and not SaaS. A major benefit of SaaS is the engineering efficiencies and scalability of multi-tenant application services and multi-tenant database instances. Multi-tenant SaaS and virtualization are two different things.
What else? What do you think of people calling their business model SaaS when it isn’t multi-tenant?