Multi-tenant SaaS PLM, SAP’s Business ByDesign and Google App Engine

Cloud or SaaS application continue intriguing developers and vendors. In my view, during the last 2 years, talks around cloud and SaaS moved from the position “why?” to the position “when?”. Everybody understood, cloud is the future application delivery model and to put application stakes in a cloud space is very important. Two articles drove my attention last week.

Jeff Moad wrote on Management Automation about SAP’s Business By Design effort – SAP’s Business ByDesign: Still a Long Way to Go. Jeff’s points are very clear – SAP is trying to put SaaS model work for them in the segment of SMB market. However, roadmap for SAP focused primary on big customers in not simple in this place. Take a look on the following quote:

The new Business ByDesign Service Pack 2.5 adds a true multi-tenant SaaS architecture, a new user interface, and starter packs that make it easier for customers to get up and running quickly, among other things… But SAP still has a lot of work to do. While the company seems to be making progress on the Business ByDesign offering itself, SAP appears to have made little if any progress in developing a robust channel capable of selling the SaaS product to the small and medium-size companies that SAP is targeting. Although Business ByDesign has been around in some form for a couple of years now, SAP so far has lined up only 50 reseller partners for the product.

Another publication is Google’s blog – Multi-tenancy Support, High Performance Image Serving, Increased Datastore Quotas and More Delivered In New App Engine Release. Google is making their gigantic steps toward enterprise application delivery adding more robust mechanisms to the Google App Engine.

[Google is] pleased to announce support for multi-tenancy for applications via the Namespaces API. With multi-tenancy, multiple client organizations (or “tenants”) can all run the same application, segregating data using a unique namespace for each client. This allows you to easily serve the same app to multiple different customers, with each customer seeing their own unique copy of the app. No changes in your code are necessary to use this API– just a little extra configuration. Further, the API is also designed to be very customizable, with hooks into your code that you can control, so you can set up multi-tenancy in any way you choose.

What is my take? Why I decided to combine these two articles together? It seems to me on cloud “scale does matter”. When enterprise software giants are going top down by scaling their application for SMB market, Google is thinking about technology first. In the SMB market, one size doesn’t fit all if it comes to the point of functionality. However, the scalable technology does matter. Google is definitely building some adjustment to delivery their web technology to enterprise customers. Time will show which strategy wins… Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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