Archive for cloud computing.


Software Wars: The Rise of the SaaS

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According to Evans Data Corporation (otherwise known as EDC), roughly half of the developers in a recent study have said that they are either currently working on or will work on a SaaS project within the next year.

*cue Imperial March*

The survey is a global survey and the largest area for SaaS adoption lies in the Asia-Pacific region. North America is also fairly large with 53%developers claiming that they will be working on SaaS projects.

Honestly it is somewhat sad. The concept of SaaS started in 1999, 10 years ago. True the quality of SaaS projects greatly depended on technologies that had not yet existed or were not yet widespread (such as 100% uptime-bulletproof networks), but the fact that it has taken 10 years for it to become a majority technology is a little depressing.

Though SaaS numbers are high, cloud computing and virtualization numbers are still low. With cloud computing nearly 50% of developers in the Asia Pacific region are or going to use it. However, less than 10% worldwide are going to use cloud computing in any capacity.

Virtualization is not as bad as cloud computing, but doesn’t boast the numbers SaaS does. 37% of North American developers will be using virtualization within the next 12 months.

Hopefully it won’t take another 9 or so years for cloud computing to catch on. Until then, happy hosting.

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Virtual Desktops and You

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With all the new technologies out and coming out
There are many new technologies being talked about, cloud computing, virtualization, virtual operating systems, hypervisors, virtual desktops, the list goes on. What does it all mean and how will it affect you?

If the goal is an online operating system, then we are seeing the middle stages happening right now with Microsoft’s release of App-V 4.5 and the expansion of the Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop.

First we had online video games. With games like Ultima Online, Meridian 59, and EverQuest software was installed on your computer, but the main locations, logic for encounters, etc were hosted on a data farm somewhere in the country. Essentially, what you had on your system was the graphics and the music to make load times faster. The next step was moving productivity software online.

Starting with collaboration, online productivity software allows the company to update from one location, makes it easier to upgrade, makes it harder to pirate (if the main stuff is on a computer in the “cloud” there is not much to copy), allows users to use their data from any computer in the world, and it gives people the opportunity to share and well collaborate on their documents and work. More and more applications are looking to move online. The trend was started and it will continue from here on out once more vendors realize the power of it.

The next step is the virtual desktop. Now App-V 4.5 is starting the ball rolling. With it we can stream anything we want to a desktop. This will allow for small programs for now and major powerhouses later. We will have the streaming calendars, notepads, address books, anti-virus software, email (like we need another one), etc. Then things like Adobe Photoshop (they are already looking into an online version now), MS Office, financial software (Quicken, TurboTax, etc), and so on and so forth.
Then finally, the big pay off, the virtual operating system.

But why?

The Vendor:

  • One upgrade for all software
  • Subscription based purchase
  • The ability to offer free Lite versions
  • Cuts down on piracy
  • Cuts down on traditional security problems (but opens up a batch)
  • Easier to manager
  • Allows an easier means for customer feedback
  • Opens up new and larger target markets

The Customer:

  • Subscription based fees
  • One purchase, one user, multiple computers
  • Access files from anywhere
  • Don’t have to fool with upgrades and updates
  • Won’t need to upgrade computer as often
  • Opens the door for collaboration across a variety of applications

The Business Customer:

  • Subscription based fees
  • One purchase, one user, multiple computers
  • Access files from anywhere
  • Don’t have to fool with upgrades and updates
  • Won’t need to upgrade computer as often
  • Opens the door for collaboration across a variety of applications
  • Allows a small business the ability to afford applications that were normally reserved for enterprise clients

This is an opportunity that can help a broad range of customers, businesses, and even the vendors that are selling the software. Due to its broad appeal I think that this is a sector that will continue to grow and branch out.

Cloud Computing? SaaS? Virtualization?

These are the technologies that let it all happen. Cloud computing will become the basis of the always on Internet. If you are running a virtual desktop or operating system you need to have that application running at all times. If you software is located on multiple computers in multiple datacenters, even if one section of the Internet goes down, your software will still run.

Virtualization is the key to keeping your virtual programs running at peak performance. Instead of sharing one computer with hundreds if not thousands, virtualization allows you to have a specific amount of resources to play with.

SaaS is what all of this stuff is… it is Software as a Service. Again an MMO is one of the first SaaS applications we have seen. You pay a subscription because the game itself might be software but the constant updates, customer support, and the like is a service.

Do you really need to understand these things as a customer? No you don’t. Suffice to say, these are the technologies that will push the Web into the next generation. Until that time, happy hosting!

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Part 2 of my interview of Michael van Dijken and John Zanni of Microsoft from Hostingcon 2008.

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