We have been seeing the term Software as a Service (SaaS) for some time. But many of us do not know what it means. Let us learn about this new technology.
Most of us have been purchasing or getting free software applications and getting it installed on our personal computers. You can get them on a compact disc or can download it from the internet. Once you install them on your computer, they are ready to work. After installing you start using them in your daily life.
In such cases we are running the application on our personal computer. This arrangement can be termed as software as a product as we are using the software application as a product. We also know that we can use some applications which are not running on our personal computer but in fact are running at some other computer and we are accessing the application through some network. For instance we use some enterprise applications in our office on a daily basis. These applications run on servers and we access them from our office computer.
Similarly we access many applications which run on web servers and we access them through the internet connection by using browsers like Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Most of these applications are free to be accessed but some of them require us to pay to access them.
All of the applications which run on some kind of servers and which can be accessed by using some kind of network can be considered as software as a service as opposed to software as a product.
There are many benefits to use software applications as a service. Users do not need to worry about maintenance issues of the application as the service provider will take care of it. Similarly users do not need to pay large amounts of money to get license of the software application.
In late 1990s, some vendors and service providers thought of providing software applications as a service by installing these applications on a web server and giving access to users on a subscription fee. In those days, the term “Application service provider” was common to refer to such kind of arrangements. Now the term “Software as a Service” is used for the same kind of arrangement.
With introduction of new technologies like web services, service oriented architecture (SOA) etc., this kind of arrangement is becoming easier to manage as well as making such applications better.