Software as a Service or SaaS is Pubic cloud computing. I was tempted to make this statement in a tweet vs. dedicating a whole blog post, but I wanted to add to the knowledge graph on the topic. Also, Matthew Broberg asked a great follow-on question as part of a spirited LinkedIn discussion.
CIO.com places the average number of public clouds in each company at 2.7 per. Matt asked if SaaS services such as logging and performance management tools add to your total number of Clouds. I felt the question warranted a blog post on the broader topic of SaaS and Multi-cloud.
What’s the Problem?
An excellent place to start is the ‘why’ of the whole discussion. To keep pace with Wall Street expectations, companies such as Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle mix revenues from categories not traditionally considered cloud with more traditional cloud revenue sources. IE Microsoft may include specific Windows Server licensing with their cloud revenue. Microsoft also counts O365 revenue as cloud revenue. I don’t have a problem with O365 as it is a legit SaaS (cloud) service. NIST defines cloud as Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and SaaS.
However, some analysts question if O365 revenue is directly comparable to Amazon AWS revenue.
Our focus at the CTO Advisor isn’t to advise on securities. We advise on IT strategy. Without a doubt, SaaS products factor into the management considerations for consuming multiple cloud services or multi-cloud.
SaaS & Multi-cloud
SaaS solutions are limited in the scope of capability. However, as you start to stack SaaS solution on top of SaaS solution, the result is complexity. Remember scale breaks everything.
Implementing any multi-cloud strategy requires considering a long list of challenges. IT loses visibility and control as a result of outsourcing services and data to public cloud providers. SaaS is no different. Here’s a short-list of challenges.
Network Connectivity – Controlling and monitoring traffic flow from one cloud service to another.
Security – Applying a universal security policy to services that lack a standard taxonomy.
Compliance – Adjusting organizational policies to that of several cloud providers.
Data Protection – Ensuring data is backed up and restorable.
Identity Management – Consistent credentialing users and systems across multiple cloud services
I find multi-cloud discussions with IT professional revolve around the enterprise data center. For example, the conversation around O365 is about integrating O365 services with on-premises solutions such as document management products. However, what happens when you move the document management solution to a 3rd party SaaS solution? All of the policies and governance must move with the technical solution.
Don’t discount SaaS when developing a multi-cloud strategy. Before you realize, you’ll have a complex distributed system with no real governance if you don’t consider how SaaS integrates into your overall multi-cloud management strategy. Reach out to the CTO Advisor for help on your journey.