In order to stay ahead of the competition, software companies need to continue to modernize their product. Even if you’ve cornered the market today, it doesn’t mean that you’ll continue to be the leader in the years to come. By looking at new technologies and business models, software companies can stay ahead of the competition and continue meeting customers’ needs. One way to do this: by adopting a SaaS business model. SaaS gives customers hands-off access to the software and minimal time and effort in onboarding and set up since there’s no physical hardware required for installation. Plus, with more employees working from home, SaaS is even more appealing option since it can be remotely accessed.
But the question is: is your product ready to be morphed into a SaaS offering? To do this, you need to migrate your software from on-prem to the cloud. And if your software runs on a database like Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server, SaaS cloud migration will be much more difficult than you’ve anticipated. In this post, we’ll look at what cloud migration entails, why companies are doing it, and how it’s transforming the way we work.
Why are Companies Migrating to SaaS (and the Cloud)?
Cloud migration to SaaS is the ability to move from a traditional on-premises software business model to a Software as a Service (SaaS) one. SaaS has been growing in popularity in the market with Gartner putting the rate of the market growth in the double digits over the past decade. This is due to a number of reasons. SaaS gives software customers greater flexibility to buy and install when convenient and to access the product remotely. There is no longer a need to schedule time with a software vendor to come on-site to install hardware. Not only that, but SaaS products offer customers software on a subscription bases. Instead of paying major upfront costs, the customers can pay-as-they-go and lower capital expenditures.
Meanwhile, SaaS is an appealing option for the software companies themselves. By offering a SaaS version of your product, you can appeal to a larger customer base. And with the subscription pricing model, you can achieve regular and long-lasting revenue. Altogether, this makes morphing your product into a SaaS offering an appealing option.
The Problem with Cloud Migration to SaaS
The only thing standing in your way in this process: cloud migration. Migrating your applications to the cloud is a major process. Some applications can be easily lifted and shifted onto the cloud. But others will require a full refactor – a process that is time-consuming, costly, and very risky. And if your applications are backed by databases such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server, then it is almost guaranteed that you will run into issues migrating them to the cloud. These databases require an ultra-high level of performance that they struggle to achieve through native cloud alone. Not only that, but because the cloud is a shared resource amongst cloud customers, the cloud vendors put throttles on the speeds that each customer can achieve. If you want faster performance than what you are allocated, you can purchase more cloud resources. However, this is a major waste of cloud budget for resources you can’t even use. And you might not even realize these problems can occur until you’re already knee-deep in the process of migration.
Some other roadblocks you might run into is ensuring that your new SaaS offering is created using a zero-downtime deployment strategy. Since SaaS applications are often accessed globally 24/7, it is critical that they be available at all times. Especially since users today are less forgiving of any downtime whatsoever. By developing the offering using zero-downtime deployment, you can ensure that updates are seamless and don’t interrupt the work that your customers are doing. However, sometimes downtime can be out of your control. Especially if your cloud vendor has an outage that will affect your end customers. You are literally putting some of the control of if and when your application is up and running into the hands of the cloud vendors. And cloud outages are all too frequent. That is why it is important to have a good Disaster Recovery plan in place to minimize the effect that cloud outages have on your zero-downtime deployment strategy.
Finally, as you onboard more and more customers to your SaaS platform, you need to be sure that you can achieve the scalability that you need to migrate the customers – and their data – seamlessly and cost-efficiently. On top of that, the flexibility of SaaS makes calculating a fitting Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and a competitive offering price difficult. How many users and how much traffic can you support? How much capacity and storage volume can you achieve? By analyzing these factors early in the development process of your SaaS cloud migration, you can get a clearer picture of TCO and keep costs down.
Your SaaS Migration Strategy
So what is an organization with SaaS ambitions but cloud roadblocks to do? All is not lost. By bringing together a meeting of the minds of business analysts, architects, and developers and carefully outlining business and application requirements and what the right tools are that you need to invest in, you can begin taking steps to simplify your SaaS migration strategy. Be sure to analyze your existing software’s architecture to determine what aspects can easily be adopted for the cloud and which will require a bit more finessing. You will need to do quite a bit of tweaking of your existing code base to get it right.
And if you are truly at a loss as to how you migrate to a SaaS cloud business model, turn to Silk. The Silk Data Virtualization Platform sits between your applications and the underlying infrastructure. The platform connects with compute VMs over a higher performance compute network instead of the limited-capacity data network of cloud infrastructure. This makes it able to support more performance-intensive workloads and eliminates the need to oversize compute VMs for faster performance. Silk separates the layers for performance and capacity, so you never have to spend unnecessary budget dollars to hits IOPS or throughput targets. And by offloading tasks that typically occur on the network layer to the compute layer, Silk provides dramatic and consistent reductions in latency for maximum application responsiveness.
Silk offers greater resiliency with its self-healing architecture that tracks cloud maintenance windows to proactively avoid disruptions and an active-active architecture that spreads management across cloud zones, eliminating single points of failure. With enterprise data services, like zero-footprint snapshots, you can create copies of data for Dev/Test or Disaster Recovery efforts without a performance penalty or additional storage costs.
Silk boasts greater flexibility so you can easily scale to meet the needs of a growing customer base without overextending your cloud budget. And with machine learning-based monitoring, Silk analyzes cloud usage patterns to ensure that you are getting the best cloud experience at the most cost-efficient price point.
One company that successfully accelerated the creation of its SaaS offering is SimCorp. SimCorp is an investment management solution organization serving 40% of the world’s top financial companies. Its core product, SimCorp Dimensions, provides efficiency and flexibility in managing all assets from one platform for over 200 global clients. Until recently, it had only been sold as an on-premises software. But with the market favoring SaaS, SimCorp looked to transition SimCorp Dimensions into a SaaS offering. The team chose to lift and shift the application to Microsoft Azure since it would be more time and effort intensive to refactor it to be cloud native. Yet they were having issues achieving consistently high performance on Azure natively. SimCorp customers require fast performance, but the team was running up against cloud limitations to achieve the consistent and high performance that they needed.
With Silk, SimCorp was able to migrate one of its largest clients from an on-premises setup using the most expensive compute and storage solution to its SaaS offering. They found that Silk made it possible for the client to see 20% faster performance compared to the client’s previous on-premises setup.
Says Ulrik Elstrup Hansen, VP and Head of SaaS Innovations at SimCorp: “I would recommend other companies to use Silk because of their ability to provide you with the right level of performance and resiliency. You get a partner that is truly invested in your success. With Silk, we are able to get closer to the promise of the cloud.”
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