Cloud computing has been one of the phenomenons in the IT Industry. Everyone in IT industry is talking about it and it is one of the key topics in almost all IT conferences, seminars and tradeshows. Cloud computing consists of three layers of services, namely Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Services (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Services (SaaS).
While many cloud service providers are focusing on offering IaaS solutions, Analysts have found that SaaS’s demand and revenue will be more than 10 folds of IaaS in coming years. Carriers around the world are all looking at how to jump on this bandwagon to generate new revenue stream from cloud.
The success story of Salesforce.com has inspired many independent software vendors (ISVs) from looking at this new software offering and pay-as-you-go business model. Consequently, there is an emerging force of software developers focusing on creating generic software functionalities with multi-tenancy support. These software are called SaaS applications and are hosted in Internet and access via web browser. The top SaaS software vendor in terms of software revenue sold were Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and Salesforce.com in year 2012.
There was also the emergence of cloud brokers that build Cloud Marketplace product, or licensed the Cloud Marketplace product to build Cloud marketplace and work with ISVs to market their products. The basic functions of a Cloud Marketplace typically will consists of a few key components, The front-end and back-end web portals, the BSS and OSS engines, the gateways sub-system, the auto-provisioning engine and possibly the IaaS cloud infrastructure.
Typical Cloud Marketplace ArchitectureWed
The front-end Web portals typical includes customers web portal, Cloud Service Provider web portal, reseller/wholesalers web portal and ISVs web portal. The BSS engine enables billing and invoicing functions to track payment and revenue. The OSS engine provides all aspect of operations supports needed to ensure the Cloud Marketplace is up and running at all times and able to meet the SLAs. The Gateway subsystem consists of various gateway functions to interface with payment vendors (such as Paypal), domain registrars (such as Webnic) and APIs adaptors for ISVs SaaS apps. The auto-provisioning engine ensures cloud services purchased by customers are automatically provisioned at the backend IaaS cloud infrastructure or ISVs designated cloud infrastructure. The IaaS infrastructure consists of the compute, storage, network and security components that are essential to support the SaaS Apps hosting in a virtualized environment.
The top Cloud Marketplace product suppliers include Parallels, Jamcracker and AppsDirect. Each product supplier though end objective is the same of providing a Cloud Marketplace, takes very different approaches to accomplish the goal. Take for example: ISVs will need to utilize APSStandards APIs to perform application integration in order to have their SaaS application hosted in Parallels marketplace. Likewise for Jamcracker and AppsDirect, the way for ISVs to host their SaaS Apps on their Cloud Marketplace will follow different integration methods. There is still so far no standard defined on how SaaS application is integrated with SaaS Marketplace.