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Microsoft Offers SaaS Support to ISVs

Microsoft Corp. wants to provide support to independent software vendors (ISVs) that are plunging into the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry. It has extended a helping hand through its new Microsoft SaaS Incubation Center Program, which was announced yesterday. The program combines hosting services with advice for ISVs on SaaS technology.

Unlike the traditional software business, where applications are installed at the customer's premises, SaaS represents an alternative distribution model. Applications are accessed by clients over the Web via a browser interface. SaaS applications are typically offered on a recurring-fee basis.

The SaaS model may face scalability issues further down the line, according John Zanni, Microsoft's director of worldwide hosting, who stated that "The growth projections for software delivered as a service present ISVs with significant opportunities, as well as new challenges."

The SaaS Incubation Center Program was developed from two of Microsoft's ongoing efforts: Microsoft Solution for Windows-based Hosting for Applications and the SaaS On-Ramp Program.

Under the SaaS Incubation Center Program, Microsoft offers consulting sessions to ISVs, which are conducted at a number of facilities operated by Microsoft's partners. The partners use Microsoft's hosting solution to demonstrate sample scripts and monitor system performance, application usage and security.

This arrangement allows ISVs to offer "strong" service-level agreements to end users, according to Microsoft's announcement. Service level agreements are assurances to the customer that the service will perform at an agreed-upon level.

Microsoft's announcement also described changes to its SaaS On-Ramp Program, describing it as "Phase 2." This program requires ISVs to license their software through the Microsoft Services Provider Licensing Program but it gives them licensing rights to use Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server. Details of the SaaS On-Ramp Program are described here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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