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  • Franco Scavuzzo 10:47 am on November 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , SaaS   

    Everything you wanted to know about the Cloud but were too afraid to ask II: SaaS, IaaS, PaaS 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    I dont care if my cloud computing architecture is powered by a grid, a mainframe, my neighbours desktop or an army of monkeys, so long as its fast, cheap and secure (Sam Johnston)

    This is the second part of the post on Cloud Computing on ZyncroBlog, explaining the tree basic concepts in the Cloud: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

    Software as a Service (SaaS)

    SaaS is the service based on the idea of having a software that you pay a provider for in installments, instead of buying it outright, and that is not installed in the customer’s machines. The software is hosted in central servers so that its operation is available over the internet. Also know as “on-demand software ”, it currently is the most popular form of cloud computing, due to its high flexibility, quality and scalability, offering lower maintenance costs. The SaaS provider is responsible for hosting the application and the data, while the end user is free to use the service from anywhere, at any time. SaaS is very effective in reducing costs as it provides access to applications normally at a much lower price than purchasing a software license, thanks to an installment payment model (monthly, quarterly, yearly…). With SaaS, users can forget about having to  install and update the software.

    Some examples of SaaS providers are: CRM Salesforce.com, Marketo, Akamai, Taleo or Zyncro of course.

    Platform as a service (PaaS)

    PaaS refers to a development platform for programmers. End users write their own code and the PaaS provider loads this code and presents it on the Web. PaaS providers offer services to develop, test, implement, deploy and maintain applications on a single integrated development environment. They also provide a certain level of support in designing and developing applications. PaaS offers a quick, cost-efficient model for developing and rolling out applications. The PaaS provider manages updates, patches and other routine system maintenance tasks. PaaS is based on a subscription model where users only pay for what they use. Users can use the resources they need without having to worry about the complexity of the platform where they are developing.

    Some PaaS providers are: Windows Azure, Google App Engine, Force.com, GigaSpaces

    Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

    IaaS delivers computer infrastructure as a fully externalized service. Users can buy the infrastructure according to requirements at a specific point in time, instead of purchasing the planned infrastructure to be used in a couple of months. IaaS operates using the same model as the previous “pay on-demand” services to ensure that users only pay for what they are using.

    The idea of “machine virtualization enables IaaS providers to offer almost unlimited servers to customers and optimize storage machines. IaaS users can have access to a high level of infrastructure and IT resources that would be extremely costly if they were acquired outright.

    The benefits of IaaS include:

    • dynamic scaling
    • usage-based pricing
    • reduced costs
    • and access to superior IT resources.

    IaaS is also occasionally called Hardware as a Service (HaaS). For a SME or a start-up, one of the most difficult things to achieve is to keep capital spending under control. Moving their infrastructure to the Cloud enables them to scale as if they actually owned their own hardware and datacenters.

    Some IaaS providers are: Amazon EC2/S3, Cloud Scaling, Rackspace

    Much of the information presented here was taken from http://www.cloudtweaks.com, a web that I fully recommend for learning more about these concepts.

     

     
  • Franco Scavuzzo 10:00 am on September 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , SaaS, ,   

    Everything you wanted to know about the Cloud but were too afraid to ask 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    With your head in the cloud and your feet on the ground (part one)

    My name is Franco Scavuzzo and I am the Software Architect at Zyncro, or so they say.  I personally do not like titles and labels as I think that what one does is more important: amongst other things, I am in charge of defining and implementing the Zyncro top-level architecture as well as integrating Zyncro with other platforms and integrating other platforms with Zyncro, whether this be via our API or via ZyncroApps (which you have already heard about but we will discuss in future posts).

    I am writing this post at the request of Patricia Fernandez Carrelo, the biggest blogger within the group, with a mate in one hand and with the objective of tackling the cloud computing concept from a didactic perspective for all of the ZyncroBlog readers and/or users.

    A lot has been written already about cloud computing or computing in the Cloud, a term that simply refers to a series of computing services offered on demand via the Internet, Web or Networks.

    In a cloud scenario, resources, software and information are supplied upon demand, similarly to the way in which electricity is supplied to houses.  In other words, services such as processing capacity (CPU, memory) and data storage (disk space) amongst so many others, are supplied via remote computers connected to each other.  The final users (consumers) access these services via the Internet.

    Services “in the Cloud” have three main characteristics that differentiate them from the traditional ones:

    • The services are sold/billed upon demand, normally by time used (minutes, hours, months…) or quantity (GBs, users…)
    • The services are flexible, each user obtains or uses as much as they need at any given time.
    • The services are administrated and supplied by a provider, users using these services need only a computer and Internet access.

    As with all technological tendencies, cloud computing brings with it a number of concepts, buzzwords and a new age to the technology world (the ones that already existed were not enough :) ). Among them we can find: Public Cloud, Private Cloud, SaaS, PaaS or IaaS

    We technicians like to keep our feet on the ground more than flying through the clouds; it is for this reason that I will try to introduce and explain cloud concepts in a series of posts from a more educational, worldly and tangible point of view.  In addition, I will discuss the role that each of these concepts play within Zyncro.

    And if you have any queries, you can contact me via Zyncrommunity, by registering on zyncro.com, or by emailing me at franco@zyncro.com

     

     
  • Albert Climent 10:04 am on March 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , low cost, SaaS,   

    I want it all! 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Happy Monday ZyncroBlog readers!

    Today we are going to talk about low-cost.  A concept that does not need to fall out with quality or good service and for which the Internet plays an immensely vital role.  In this online market, complete with its sense of urgency, we as consumers want it all: we look for the best price by means of comparison, we want to obtain the best products that meet out most demanding needs.

    But what about quality?  I think it is an important point.  The long tail we spoke of a few days ago in Zyncrocommunity and the various low cost offers available, demand that they become as automated as possible in order to be more profitable and mass producing their products at the same time requires that an emphasis on a fast, efficient and personalised customer service.  The consumer has become accustomed to ask for a lot in exchange for very little and this fact reins in most sectors.  The Business-to-business market is possibly the last area to demand this but everything comes around in the end.

    I outline a few good examples of low cost businesses below, that combine low cost with good quality in their product or service.

    Supermarkets

    MercadonaLidlDia or ALDI

    Mercadona in Spain triumphs with prices a little less tightned as opposed to Lidl or Dia but has a better quality image.  This is the format they adopt in all markets.  In Germany, ALDI is one of the most valued companies in the consumer eye.

    Airlines

    EasyjetRyanairVueling

    They have transformed the market with their savings policy, using secondary airports, the use of the e-ticket and by specialising in short routes.  That said, before purchasing, sometimes one needs to read the boarding conditions closely…

    LastminuteeDreamsBooking

    This is one of the most buoyant sectors, a simple format based on direct online sales in order to eliminate office running that has also ended up transforming the market.  Clients receive offers via e-mail and on its platforms, users are able to search for the best prices. Nevertheless, the Americans foresee these virtual leisure intermediaries disappearing altogether seeing as both airlines and hotels and other leisure offers are gradually implementing e-commerce tools for direct sales to end consumers from their own web platforms.  We’ll see…

    Banking and insurance

    INGBalumbaDirect InsuranceDirect Line

    Again, the Internet channel implies a saving on office running costs and personnel which translates to the elimination of all types of commission at the bank and the best prices in insurance.  This is based on a price war and the channel is the web tool that provides a means for service comparison and a call center type customer service that is very well trained to manage thousands of demanding clients.

    Fashion

    ZaraH&MPrimarkKiabi

    Zara presents a high rotation and anticipation model with favorable pricing that is really raging the markets.  Nonetheless, competitors keep appearing which demonstrates that it is always possible to reduce price a little more.  Lastly Primark that competes with the Amancio Ortega fashion empire with even lower prices but without renouncing its fashion appeal.

    Electrical goods

    Media MarktPC City

    Purchase centres are able to employ agressive price offers for very specific products and can sometimes make the offering below prices offered by SME providers and well below small businesses.  They are the perfect magnet for bargain hunters.

    Furniture

    Ikea

    The same concept as in fashion (design for less) but in furniture.  Also with radical innovation applied known as self-service.  This format demands easily piled products using the pallet (can be dismantled) and self arranged transport which allows them to save upto 70% in transport and warehousing costs.

    Hotels

    Room MateChic&BasicTravelodgeSidorme

    The low-cost hotel revolution gives us ideas as to how to search for opportunities in the same market but with a different focus.  Basically, they get rid of superfluous services (gym, swimming pool, restaurant…) and they reduce room side by a few meters in order to cut down some of the space.

    Automotion

    Dacia Logan by Renault

    The car market without the trimmings, but without renouncing security and comfort.  It was initialed for sales in emerging countries but the model has stretched out to the middle classes of Europe, USA and Japan.

    So what about low-cost software?

    Low-cost applied to software for businesses is being reconsidered in the SaaS field which never ceases to grow and change.  We find ourselves facing a paradigm change at the very root of bandwidth growth and Internet access within companies.

    SaaS standards are becoming more popular all the time but the great disperse of solutions confuses the end client more each time.

    With the introduction of SaaS on the Internet, an opportunity to reduce costs to the maximum became available for the most highly priced technological products that most companies would buy using the classic in-house model, with high and difficult to update parameter costs and with consultancy included in the product (but at extra cost).

    Following the “dot-com bubble“, we are at a complete web based cloud software revolution.  More and more each time, solutions tend to move towards standardisation, integration and mass online usage, widely accepted mass products like FacebookSkype and Twitter.   In the business-to-business sector, SaaS products like SalesforceWebexGoogle AppsSuccessFactors,1&1 and LifeOffice open doors for low-cost corporate SaaS software that is demanding but simple like Zyncro.  Growth of this model is exponential which means price demands, a robust product, quality, service and ability to be highly productive are also becoming a factor.  As market needs become more diverse, all types of clients search for comfort, speed, good service and price.

    What does Zyncro offer the low-cost market?  A robust product, a genuine Social Intranet that is affordable, offers fast implementation, is a fast, client-orientated product that seeks to find its place in this new market.  Our value proposal is to offer businesses maximum software productivity combined with maximum ROI and competitivity that crushes the old non-SaaS model completely.

     
  • Lluis Font 10:45 am on February 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , SaaS   

    The Software as a Service (SaaS) Revolution: Adapt to it or die 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    I have been going over the editorial of this post for a long time.  The other day, during a dinner with diverse managing directors that are of the same opinion as myself, I got the push I needed to start writing.

    This may be a controversial article… Because I truly believe that this great change will sweep away those professionals who do not know how to adapt themselves.

    We find ourselves in a totally historic moment in information technology management. Nowadays SMEs all over the world have within their reach, as powerful information systems in SaaS mode as much larger companies.

    SaaS does not only facilitate software implementation in a faster and less costly manner, it also allows the price quota to be adapted to the size of the company.

    The facts:

    Today a company can be set up on:

    And all of this in a week.  Trust me.

    The opposition:

    Nonetheless, there are three great oppositions for these types of solution:

    • Large consultancies that see their profit margins reduced by much faster and less costly initiatives.
    • IT directors that defend their position of power maintaining inflexible, non-adaptable customized systems.
    • Software licensing manufacturers that feel adopting this format could ruin their account of results at not being able to charge for the software cost in advance rather than over a period of years.

    I am not criticising anyone, each must defend their own business.

    The arguments for and against:

    • Lack of security: in general, SaaS solutions have a much higher level of security than made to measure solutions.  How much made to measure software is programmed with security requirements or passes an audit?
    • The service level agreement SLA (also called availability, typically more than 99.nn% which is the service level of serious SaaS companies) is much higher than the majority of IT departments in many companies.  How many companies offer 24/7 support?  How many demand an SLA from their internal IT department?

    The winners:

    • 2.0 IT directors, let us say those who truly consider themselves a department that should provide a service and improve competitiveness of the company.  Simply by verifying security, the SLA and overall the correct administration of this, they can add value to their company in record time.
    • IT departments within large companies that can implement IT systems in a short space of time without the usual IT resource restrictions and within their budget departments.
    • And overall, the SMEs that have the power of a (SaaS) System at reach with an infinite number of easy to install and use applications and tools.

    In summary:

    • SaaS applicaitons can drastically improve company productivity.
    • They can be applied to companies of all sizes but are especially useful for SMEs and departments in large businesses as they can benefit from a fast implementation and the costs adapted to its size.

    We face a revolution that will take a great proportion of the software we use (not all of it) to the cloud, opponents may create more or less barriers.  But the change has begun in small businesses and is starting in the large. In accordance with this new paradigm, Zyncro is a solution.

     
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