Microsoft Corp. announced the availability of the Microsoft Solution for Windows -based Hosting for Applications Version 1.0. The new solution provides independent software vendors (ISVs) and hosting service providers with the platform, tools and best practices to deliver software as a service, an area in which leading IT market research and advisory firm IDC estimates spending will reach $10.7 billion (U.S.) worldwide by 2009.
“Software as a service offers new business opportunities for ISVs and service providers, but also presents new challenges as they must enable on- site applications for delivery as a hosted service,” said Pascal Martin, general manager of Worldwide Hosting at Microsoft. “In the Hosting Group we have a unique set of expertise and experience in utilizing the Microsoft platform and tools to help our industry partners enable such solutions and offerings. Windows-based Hosting for Applications provides ISVs and service providers with tools and guidance to maximize the software-as-a-service opportunity.”
To fully benefit from the new landscape for delivering applications to end users, ISVs and hosting service providers will strive to change many operating procedures that have been the norm. They have to ensure that their applications and services are readily available 24×7 in an environment vastly different from the traditional client/server model, and they must change billing and licensing procedures and enable remote access to the application, among other considerations
Windows-based Hosting for Applications equips ISVs with the tools and guidance to design service-enabled software applications and facilitate user provisioning, performance monitoring, usage tracking, and reporting and service aggregation. Microsoft also provides a monthly subscription-based licensing model, Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA), which requires no upfront investment or commitment from the ISV. In this model, service providers and ISVs only pay for the software they use in a given time period, removing risk from moving to a hosted model. For hosting service providers, the solution provides a comprehensive set of modular and tightly integrated components, scripts and guidance that enable them to build environments that are operationally efficient and highly scalable for delivering software as a service.
Made2Manage Systems Inc., which provides enterprise resource planning solutions for small to midsize manufacturers, was missing out on sales opportunities because many of its potential customers didn’t have the resources to buy and manage a client/server-based system. After experimenting with several hosted models, Made2Manage Systems adopted a beta version of Windows-based Hosting for Applications, which has given Made2Manage Systems the ability to offer its customers greater value for an equivalent price for administering customer order management, materials management, production management, and financial management processes. One of the key benefits for Made2Manage is its ability to cut provisioning times from 12-16 hours per customer to 5-10 minutes.
“We are conservatively projecting that we will bring 100 customers onto our new hosting environment in the first year,” said Doug White, product manager for Made2Manage Systems. “Without Windows-based Hosting for Applications, there is no way we could scale to 100 new customers because of the labor and risk that would have been involved in provisioning them manually.”
“We’ve seen a growing need among our customers for the hosted model of application delivery,” said Jeff Tognoni, chief executive officer for Made2Manage Systems. “They want to be relieved of the IT burden; they want anytime, anywhere access to their software; and, especially after Hurricane Katrina, many of them want to move their business-critical applications to a safety-enhanced, reliable environment.”
OpSource focused on providing the operational infrastructure and ongoing services that enable software companies to deliver and maintain the highest-quality software-as-a-service solutions, is using Windows-based Hosting for Applications to increase its operational efficiency and accelerate its time to market.
“Efficiency is absolutely essential to our success as a business,” said John Rowell, CTO for OpSource. “Everything we do to deliver a customer’s solution, whether it be provisioning a server, maintaining firewalls and load balancers, or providing technical support for our customers’ customers, directly impacts our cost of goods sold. The Microsoft solution enables us to deliver our service in less time with fewer people because the architecture is solid and has many great tools and support available.”
Windows-based Hosting for Applications is designed to alleviate the critical barriers that application vendors and hosting service providers face in making their solutions a capable software-as-a-service offering. Microsoft has identified four critical needs for any hosted application: uptime, service provisioning, security and management. Key components of the solution include the following:
* Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 helps identify and resolve
critical issues in the hosted environment quickly and easily, helping to
ensure uptimes that satisfy the most stringent service-level agreement.
* Microsoft Provisioning System automates routine administrative service
management tasks such as adding new users, updating directory entries,
and provisioning applications and services.
* Windows-based Hosting for Applications provides tools and systems to
automate and customize patch and update management.
* Windows-based Hosting for Applications provides a variety of tools that
allow ISVs and hosting providers to centralize management of their