SaaS application development, Outsourcing it?
Given its optimized cost and significant benefits (including accelerated deployment, increased flexibility, and lower TCO), the SaaS model is growing rapidly, especially in the areas of customer relationship management and business management. human capital.
The use of SaaS and Cloud can be an important vector of business transformation and the information system. The innovative capabilities offered by SaaS over on-site technologies are all assets to achieve high performance.
What is a SaaS application?
A SaaS or “Software as a Service” is a method of software license distribution.
These software are still used online using a browser and are usually sold under monthly or annual subscription basis.
This business model has already largely replaced the standard software license sales mode, where at the time we bought software at a fixed price to install it on our desktop computer.
How to develop a SaaS?
To develop a SaaS you will need programmers. A group of programmers who possess a variety of knowledge related to web development. Web development has two main areas of expertise. The frontend, used in all that is visible as well as the interactions and animations and the backend, which contains the business logic, the database and link between the different components of the application.
You will need at least a frontend developer and a backend developer. Or what is called a fullstack developer, a developer who masters both aspects of web development. This type of project can be a difficult task so a team of several programmers is usually needed to complete a project. A team of more than 5 to 10 people is possible for a major project. You must have in your team many experienced developer, do business with a development firm, or hire developers.
Your programmers will have to use a framework and a programming language suitable for this kind of application to be able to realize it. Turnkey CMS like WordPress, Drupal or e-commerce software like Magento and Prestashop will not be appropriate.
Some SaaS software is easier to develop than others, and can even be built into cloud tools. This is called the “serverless” apron. If not, they will have to be deployed in a more traditional infrastructure.
The complexity of your software will greatly depend on the complexity of the functions to be performed, the number of users expected and the choice of infrastructure. Companies and entrepreneurs who want to create larger applications will need a team of considerable size and several months of work to a minimum.
While all web programmers may be able to participate in the design and implementation of a SaaS, this task is usually reserved for more experienced programmers. The design of SaaS has many difficulties. These are often large database programs that deserve special attention in terms of data structure.
Software as a Service is more and more critical for businesses, so they must always be online and respond appropriately to user requests without any delays. In addition, additional tasks must be performed to ensure consistent data backup and security. Infrastructures of this kind are often complex and depending on the type of infrastructure used, may be inaccessible to less experienced programmers.
It is important to understand, however, that the key to success of a SaaS project is often in the experience of team members rather than the technology used.
The frameworks and language
As for the frameworks. We usually find the following frameworks.
- Django for Python
- Ruby on Rail for the Ruby
- .net for the C #
- CodeIgniter, Laravel or Symphony for PHP
Where to host a SaaS
Many technology directors and programmers today opt for cloud solutions.
This solution saves time and in many cases can offer substantial cost savings. It often requires knowledge specific to the cloud provider employed. The great strength of these solutions is the elasticity of the resources used.
Indeed, it is possible to easily increase or reduce the resources used and paid for use. This allows you to quickly adapt to an increase or decrease in the resources needed to meet the needs of users.
Dedicated servers are physical servers that are purchased or rented. They are still viable even in the age of the cloud. They may even be less expensive in terms of hosting bills, but they generally require a longer implementation time and may require more maintenance.
Both types of solutions have advantages and disadvantages. The choice will depend a lot on your available resources. This approach does not allow the elasticity provided by cloud solutions and is often more time consuming to put in place. However, it is possible to have a smaller total bill with dedicated servers than with cloud solutions.
It is often the server management time and other head words associated with the dedicated servers that will mount the actual bill. Many network administrators still advocate this approach.
The serverless approach
This approach is relatively new and requires specific knowledge of tools from a leading cloud hosting provider, such as Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure. Your application is developed directly in a cloud environment using the tools provided by it. To take an example of Amazon AWS tools, it is possible to build a complete application using Amazon’s different cloud products. Using products like Amazon Cognition, S3, Gateway API, DynamoDB, AWS Lambda, SES, and SAM / Cloud Training.
Each of the tools provided has a specific purpose.
- Cognition for user management
- DynamoDB for the API Gateway database to expose your scripts or resources
- AWS lambda for the different features of the application
- SES for SNS emails for publications and event subscriptions (pub / sub notifications)
- CloudFormation to build and maintain the entire serveless organization.
A small SaaS application that strictly uses a “serverless” architecture can be developed quickly if the one who builds it knows the tools it uses. In the opposite case, the learning curve can be tedious, because it is a lot of different services, owner to the cloud host, who have to fit into each other.
The serverless approach has many advantages. First, it theoretically allows an increase in infinite demand for the application that uses this approach. (Scalability). Infrastructure being 100% in a cloud with theoretically unlimited resources, it can increase its use of resources in linear ways, without having to think too much about it.
VPS are often confused with cloud solutions because they often use the same keywords, cloud and cloud, in their marketing approach. Often less expensive than a true cloud solution, VPS are virtual environments under a standard server. In some cases the line is thin and many features usually reserved for cloud environments are found in VPS.
This is the case of DigitalOcean, a very popular VPS provider that has more and more functionality that is similar to cloud. Dedicated backup copy, load balancer, DNS management and more.
VPS is the equivalent of a dedicated server in use, but it is actually a reserved place in a larger server. Often your RAM is dedicated, but the core of the CPU is shared with the server users where the VPS resides. VPS on a single machine share resources, but the machine has enough resources to accommodate multiple virtual machines.
Different types of SaaS infrastructure
Software as a Service can take different approaches to manage the separation of the multiple organizations or users that the software will serve. These different approaches all have their advantages and disadvantages, and your developer will be able to tell you more about them and suggest the right approach for your project.
The multiple database approach (or multi instance)
The single data-driven approach
The schema approach