SaaS and Cloud Service Curation

By Vishal Biyani

Software as a service has grown in businesses like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resource management (HRM) etc. Companies like Salesforce, Google Apps, Zoho have been successfully implementing and delivering business solutions in these areas. But with emergence of Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers there has been a niche set of players who have been providing Software as a Service: but not in strict sense of the term. GigaOM calls this phenomenon “cloud service curation“, but what I would like to term as “Software Component as a Service“. My reasons of the terminology come from a development background: For example when developing software, logging or security is essentially a component of the application and hence the term. Without debating much on the term itself, let us walk through a few components or features of application which are available as a service and who are top runners in that space. In coming weeks we might explore some of these providers in action, but for today we will stick to introductions.

Memcached as a service

Memcache is a dynamic in memory cache which caches frequently used data or objects in dynamic memory and reduces trip to source of data which might be a datastore or API. MemCachier provides it’s own implementation of memcache but you can use memcached client APIs for accessing the cache. Amazon Web Services (AWS) also has a memcache as a service which is still in beta: Amazon ElastiCache.

Logging As a Service

Logging is an essential part of application and servers. In cloud environment going to each node of your cluster might not be good idea, nor might be practical in most cases. Fetching logs to a central server and having a unified view of your ecosystem is ideal in such cases.  Loggly collects logs from your applications servers etc and provides you a unified view of the logs. Papertrail too has a logging as a service offering and claims to handle billions of logs from likes of GitHub. AppFog uses logentries as their logging service for applications deployed on AppFog.

Application Performance Management as a Service

Monitoring and improving performance of an application in cloud is one of critical aspects. Some of names which shine in this area are NewRelic, AppDynamics.

While I have covered a few components/services, the list is of course not exhaustive. Email as a service has providers like SendGrid, MailGun, PostMark, MailChimp etc. There are providers which provide database as a service – both sql and NOSQL. CDN as a service which we recently covered in article here, or Backend as a service covered here. The list is far from complete.  The offerings offered by each provider has certain unique strengths and you should be aware before you make the choice. Look forward to these interesting discussions in coming weeks, and feel free to comment.

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