Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is it Time to Look at uniPaaS as a SaaS Enabled Application Platform?

According to Evans Data Research, more than half of developers started the year with plans to develop some sort of SaaS application. That’s pretty remarkable when you consider that almost no one owns SaaS Enabled Application Platforms and development tools.

The implication is that all this SaaS programming is being done the same way enterprise application programming was done 40 years ago – by brute force. In fact, Gartner has stated that cloud computing architecture will need seven years to mature. In a recent press release, Gartner wrote:

"SEAPs are the foundation on which software-as-a-service solutions are built," said Mark Driver, research vice president at Gartner. "As SEAP technologies mature during the next several years, Gartner foresees three distinct, but slightly overlapping, phases of evolution. The first phase, through 2011, will be that of the pioneers and trailblazers; the second, running from 2010 through 2013, will be all about market consolidation; while the third phase, from 2012 through 2015, will see mainstream critical mass and commoditization."

As Gartner says:
As software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing move toward the mainstream, platform technology emerges that is designed specifically for the requirements of that use pattern. A SaaS/cloud-enabled application platform (SEAP) is an application platform designed for multitenancy and elasticity — the critical characteristics of cloud computing that are absent in the now-prevailing platforms. When a SEAP is deployed "in the cloud" and offered as a service, it acts as an application platform as a service.
Since uniPaaS offers a multinenancy management system and is highly elastic, it would seemingly deserve a place amongst the early leaders in any future SEAP quadrants and waves by leading analyst groups like Gartner and Forrester. But whether the analysts comment or not is far less germane than whether programmers adopt uniPaaS.

Consider just three of the advantages that uniPaaS can offer a developer of a SaaS application:

1. A unitary development and deployment platform. No need for multiple languages, scripting tools and the like. You have one consistent solution for developing the client or user interface layer, the business logic or core application layer, and the multi-tenant architecture or database layer. It’s all their pre-built, ready for you to access.

2. Metadata driven development. For generations, programmers have been dreaming of a metadata driven approach to application development that allowed them to create programs without rewriting basic functionality and building out the same software architectures over and over and over again. With uniPaaS, you leverage the building blocks of an application rather than write the building blocks. Low-level functionality is embedded in the application platform and managed through metadata by the developer. That can save literally years, even decades, of programming effort because metadata platforms give you the ability to modernize underlying technology while preserving and enhancing core-business logic. Furthermore, metadata enhances developer interaction with business users thus shortening application delivery cycle (e.g. prototyping and POC).

3. True forward migration. There is no way to prove the capability of a platform for forward migration because it begs the question, “forward migration to what?” I can not predict the future. But I can document the past. And the surveys we have conducted of uniPaaS users are extremely clear. Without exception, uniPaaS developers point to forward migration of core business application logic as a great benefit of the uniPaaS platform. This is not their speculation or belief about what might happen, this is a retrospective judgment that “it was good” – that uniPaaS in all of its prior lives has provided a consistent forward migration.

So if half of the 500,000+ computer programmers in the US are working on SaaS this year, what tools are they using? The same old cumbersome Java and .NET development tools, I suppose. I am sure that Magic Software would welcome an OEM SEAP conversation with a platform vendor in search of a real, ready-to-go SEAP that is marketable today. Together we could reach those hundreds of thousands of developers. In the meantime, if you want to save a few years or decades and reduce your time-to-market of your SaaS application by an order of magnitude, feel free to contact us one-by-one.
For additional information, please download our FREE! White Paper! entitled "The 5 New Essentials of Building Business Applications."

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