Big Data and SaaS: Is It a Match Made in Heaven?
Familiar with SaaS? If not, let us give you a brief introduction. The easier spoken breakdown of Software-as-a-Service, SaaS is a distribution model that delivers applications on-demand, based on your needs. Since the apps are hosted in the cloud, you access them from a web-based interface opposed to a directory on your desktop or server. The current SaaS ecosystem is compromised of numerous apps, including office productivity suites, multimedia programs, and lately, big data tools.
Why Big Data?
By now, you probably recognize big data as the worldwide phenomenon that transforms vast amounts of data into valuable intelligence organizations can use to meet specific business objectives. These insights are delivered by powerful software applications that are rich in both capabilities and complexity. From installation to day-to-day upkeep, a big data platform can be difficult for the most experienced of IT administrators to tame. The challenges in maintaining such an infrastructure is the very reason why SaaS is an ideal solution.
In an SaaS arrangement, a service provider hosts the software and delivers it to you over the web. Not only that – they handle all the grueling maintenance aspects that come along with it behind the scenes. As a result, SaaS can provide a number of benefits for big data applications, including:
- Convenient access across the organization
- Simplified system administration
- Seamless connectivity to existing systems for data integration
- Automatic delivery of updates and patch management
- Hassle-free upgrades – no software installations or new hardware needed!
With SaaS, many of the challenges associated with the traditional software distribution model are eliminated right off the bat, essentially making a big data deployment much less of a hassle to deal with.
Who’s Doing Big Data with SaaS?
The market for big data apps is exploding on the SaaS scene, and some big name technology companies are already involved. Microsoft’s Windows Azure HDInsight is the perfect example of such an application. This service is delivered from a Hadoop-based platform that runs on Azure, which is what Microsoft affectionately calls its cloud. It’s designed so businesses can obtain the full benefits of big data, while enjoying the agility and flexibility the cloud offers in the way of quick deployments and easier maintenance.
Salesforce.com is best known as the king of web-based CRM solutions, but its cloud platform is perfectly groomed for big data. While Salesforce products aren’t necessarily marketed as big data apps, they are data-driven tools that can be used as such. For example, its ExactTarget Marketing Cloud is an SaaS application that uses data from point-of-sale, CRM reports, web analytics, and other sources to help companies make better sense of the information at their disposal. This product scores high marks for providing a way to consolidate, segment, and manage your data in simple drag-and-drop fashion.
A Trend Worth Watching
Right now, big data applications are limited in comparison to email marketing, CRM, and other SaaS categories, but this won’t be the case for long. There will surely be more variety available as organizations continue to look for simpler ways to manage their high-volume data infrastructures, and vendors realize the golden opportunities that exist for capable suppliers.
by Big Data Companies