software as a service

Software as a Service (SaaS)

What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?


Software as a service (SaaS) is a model for the distribution of software where customers access software over the Internet. In SaaS, a service provider hosts the application at its data center and a customer accesses it via a standard web browser.

SaaS applications are also known as Web-based software, on-demand software and hosted software.[3] The term "software as a service" (SaaS) is considered to be part of the nomenclature of cloud computing, along with infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), desktop as a service (DaaS),[4] managed software as a service (MSaaS), mobile backend as a service (MBaaS), datacenter as a service (DCaaS), and information technology management as a service.


There are a few major characteristics that apply to most SaaS vendors:


Updates are applied automatically without customer intervention
The service is purchased on a subscription basis
No hardware is required to be installed by the customer
SaaS is also known as hosted software or on-demand software


History
Centralized hosting of business applications dates back to the 1960s. Starting in that decade, IBM and other mainframe providers conducted a service bureau business, often referred to as time-sharing or utility computing. Such services included offering computing power and database storage to banks and other large organizations from their worldwide data centers.

The expansion of the Internet during the 1990s brought about a new class of centralized computing, called application service providers (ASP). ASPs provided businesses with the service of hosting and managing specialized business applications, with the goal of reducing costs through central administration and through the solution provider's specialization in a particular business application. Two of the world's pioneers and largest ASPs were USI, which was headquartered in the Washington, DC area, and Futurelink Corporation, headquartered in Irvine, California.

Software as a Service essentially extends the idea of the ASP model. The term software as a service (SaaS), however, is commonly used in more specific settings:

While most initial ASP's focused on managing and hosting third-party independent software vendors' software, as of 2012 SaaS vendors typically develop and manage their own software.
Whereas many initial ASPs offered more traditional client-server applications, which require installation of software on users' personal computers, SaaS solutions of today rely predominantly on the Web and only requires a web browser to use.
Whereas the software architecture used by most initial ASPs mandated maintaining a separate instance of the application for each business, as of 2012 SaaS solutions normally utilize a multitenant architecture, in which the application serves multiple businesses and users, and partitions its data accordingly.
The acronym first appeared in the goods and services description of a USPTO trademark, filed on September 23, 1985.

DbaaS (database as a service) has emerged as a sub-variety of SaaS,[13] and is a type of cloud database.

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