The missing link in SaaS deployments

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployments are irresistibly appealing to organizations of all sizes, especially those with multiple sites. From browser-based access, to painless installations and upgrades, to minimal IT overhead, seamless scalability, and lower TCO, SaaS is a smart, cost-effective option.

SaaS differs from “cloud” in that SaaS applications can be hosted inside a company’s firewall, as well as remotely. More and more businesses are using SaaS for mission-critical applications like e-mail, financial management, ERP, backup and disaster recovery, HR management, collaboration and CRM.

But, by definition, SaaS solutions are accessed over a network – and therefore run into performance challenges, threatening service degradation and more often failure.

Most SaaS deployments are significantly more sensitive to network performance and availability than traditional, on-premise software or even transaction-based network applications like e-mail. This is equally true for a wide range of network-dependent services not generally considered “SaaS,” such as VoIP, video conferencing and virtual desktop infrastructure.

These mission-critical services depend on high-bandwidth, low-latency networks to deliver an acceptable user experience. Issues such as packet loss, latency and jitter can make today’s performance-dependent networked services fail – abruptly! When calls and video sessions are dropped, backups don’t happen and business software disappears into the “cloud,” and business stops.

The quality of users’ experience is a defining factor in the success of a SaaS deployment. But how do you measure service quality or adherence to SLAs from a remote user’s viewpoint? How do you know when service is degraded or what to do about it? This lack of visibility into the remote user’s experience of hosted services is a major stumbling block preventing organizations, from SMBs to large enterprises, from enjoying the benefits of SaaS.

A survey of network managers released in March 2010, found that 50% of cloud consumers have no performance measurement SLAs and 75% of cloud users are unable to measure network performance between their users and the cloud provider.

Remote Performance Management enables remote, real-time monitoring of whatever network(s) your SaaS applications or other IP-based services are running on, whether hosted remotely, in-house, or a combination of both.

With Remote Performance Management you can measure end-to-end service quality, troubleshoot performance degradation and pinpoint network problems. Available as a cloud-based service, it takes minutes to install, is highly scalable and cost-effective for organizations of any size.

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Jim Melvin is currently the President & Chief Executive Officer at AppNeta. Prior to AppNeta, Jim was the vice president of marketing and security solutions at RSA, The Security Division of EMC. In this role, he was responsible for corporate, field, solutions, channel, and partner marketing; corporate and marketing communications; interactive and web programs; press and industry analyst relations; and RSA Conference events worldwide. Jim has been awarded three US patents in fault tolerant systems design. He holds a B.S. in computer engineering and an M.S. in management from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and sits on the board of directors at Fortisphere, and Cape Cod Beer.