This year's AWS re:Invent event was organized on November 28. - 2.12. in Las Vegas. I attended the event focusing on software as a service (SaaS)-related presentations and workshops and meeting members of the AWS SaaS Factory team. This was my task, because our company's passion is to build more and better SaaS services for our customers, in connection with which Skillwell has also been selected for AWS's SaaS Factory development program.
There is enough detailed information about the presentations of the event for several articles, but in this text I will first try to summarize the overall picture of what things AWS considers essential in the development of SaaS services and in SaaS business.
SaaS is the business model
AWS's SaaS Factory team has, first of all, a business model and a software delivery model.
Software as a service (SaaS) is a business and software delivery model that enables organizations to offer their solution in a low-friction, servicecentric approach at scale. The SaaS model relies on agility and operational efficiency as pillars of a business strategy that promotes growth, reach, and innovation.
In the presentations and Chalk Talk discussions I attended, these key points of the above crystallization formed the context through which the special features and technical details of the implementations were explored in more detail.
In addition, I felt that after the presentations there were surprisingly many discussions, where companies still operating with a more traditional software product offering were looking for support and information to change their business and product offering to a SaaS service.
In my opinion, the most central concept of SaaS services is tenant. This is a customer who has used the service, often an organization whose data is processed in the service. One thing that was highlighted in re:Invent's presentations was that all customers in the SaaS service should have the same version, and there are no customized customer-specific application versions. This does not mean that the SaaS service cannot have different features for different customers, but only that this should not be implemented in different application versions. The two implementation methods recommended in the presentations are feature flags and extensions implemented internally or by partners.
Shared and own resources
A significant motivation in switching to a SaaS business model is the opportunity to offer a service from common resources to all customers of the service. The SaaS presentations at AWS re:Invent first emphasized that SaaS does not necessarily mean sharing resources. In addition, there are many different possibilities for sharing resources, such as, for example, separating a certain part of the load based on the customer's service level into a customer-specific one, while the other resources are shared.
The thing that was most emphasized in the SaaS presentations at the re:Invent event is that for the successful development and operation of SaaS services, a so-called Control plane is needed alongside the actual SaaS application's Application plane.
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