With eye on cloud standard, Apprenda offers free downloadable version of SaaS application server

With eye on cloud standard, Apprenda offers free downloadable version of SaaS application server

Summary: SaaSGrid Express, announced today, provides free access to a foundation with which to deliver .NET applications as mature SaaS offerings with a competitive cost-of-delivery profile.

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Apprenda, a software as a service (SaaS) middleware provider, is now offering a free downloadable SaaS stack that provides much of the functionality of its flagship SaaSGrid, an application server for on-demand apps.

The Clifton Park, NY company says that SaaSGrid Express, announced today, provides free access to a foundation with which to deliver .NET applications as mature SaaS offerings with a competitive cost-of-delivery profile.

The model appears simple. Use community and ISV economic imperatives to drive a de facto standard into the market, thereby seeding a strong business to the upgrade-path commercial version. The timing is great, as finding a way to enjoy cloud computing scale and economics is top of mind for ISVs and early-adopter enterprises.

All of the main features and functions of SaaSGrid application server have been ported to the self-installable Express edition. Apprenda says their product has drastically reduced time-to-market and capital requirements for independent software vendors (ISVs), SMBs and enterprises, with some customers experiencing 50 to 70 percent reductions in planned engineering time and associated costs.

I like to think of this as allowing for SaaS "stack bursting," which could easily augment cloud-bursting efforts, seeing as users of Apprenda SaaSGrid can run on Amazon EC2 as well as for on-premises virtualized workloads. The model might also work really well in migration efforts, of going from legacy apps to web and ultimately cloud deployments.

According to Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller some 93 percent of ISV-delivered applications have yet to make the transition to on-demand and SaaS-delivered. That's a lot of apps.

In addition to the complex architectural foundation afforded by SaaSGrid Express -- such as low effort multi-tenancy and resilient grid-scalability -- the product also provides some of the other “out of the box” application services found in the full-fledged commercial SaaSGrid offering, including:

  • Metering
  • Monetization
  • Subscription Management
  • Application lifecycle management
  • Cloud control
  • Billing
  • Customer provisioning

This new edition enables developers to quickly build, deploy and onboard customers to their .NET applications, letting them build significant revenue streams without any license costs.

Full-licensed version

ISVs leveraging the full-production-licensed SaaSGrid edition pay a per-server, per-month license fee, and benefit from full customization and branding capabilities, as well as additional features. This licensing model, known as the SaaSGrid Monthly Server License, includes free access to maintenance and software upgrades and comprehensive customer service (based upon the number of licensed servers).

In April, Gartner analyst Yefim Natis profiled Apprenda as one of the "Cool Vendors" in the application platform as a service (APaaS) space. He said:

Apprenda's support of ISV (or private cloud application project) requirements for developing and running SaaS-style offerings far exceed the functionality available with the recently delivered Windows Azure SDK. Apprenda's advanced support for fine-grained and adjustable use tracking and billing is particularly valuable for ISVs.

Apprenda achieves this breadth of capabilities largely unintrusively, in part by intercepting and extending the Web and the database communications of the application and in part by modifying the compiled application intermediate language code (adding value and some overhead in the process).

However, Natis does offer one caution:

Apprenda's current business is primarily focused on ISVs. Historically, the business opportunities of middleware providers servicing the ISV market have been limited. With time, the company must develop a product offering that targets enterprise IT cloud application projects as well in order to expand its business opportunities.

If the ISVs' needs and enterprise app migration efforts alone jump-start adoption of SaaSGrid Express it could make for a strong and clear path to clouds, from Amazon to Azure to the home-grown variety at an enterprise near you.

For more information on SaaSGrid Express and how to download it, visit the Apprenda web site: www.apprenda.com.

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Topics: CXO, Cloud, Data Centers, Emerging Tech, Servers, Software, IT Employment

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8 comments
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  • Not good enough

    I had been evaluating SaaSGrid for my ISV, and their main product was WAY too expensive for a bootstrapped startup (Something like $2000/month plus server licenses). This free version, however, is a joke for anything except maybe limited testing. Check the specs - it only allows you a maximum of 30 clients, and each of them are limited to 30 users (if I'm reading that right). Not to mention whatever the "branding" part of it entails. Also, you are only allowed ONE price model - very few SaaS offerings have a single price plan, as the application enforces its own limitations based on the user's plan (e.g. Plan 1 allows 50 entries, Plan 2 allows 100, etc).<br><br>Unacceptable for any legitimate business that really wants to sell something, instead of perhaps develop a POC to demo to people.
    wayne62682
    • Re: Not good enough

      @wayne62682 <br><br><br>Hi Wayne62682,<br> <br>I'm Matt, VP of Client Services at Apprenda.<br> <br>Generally, youre right, the full version of SaaSGrid can be expensive for a bootstrapped startup, which is precisely the impetus for us to release SaaSGrid Express to the masses. Id like to point out that your number on the SaaSGrid server license is a bit off (perhaps you were quoting the SaaSGrid license + a fee from a hosting company?). That said, in order to bring SaaSGrid Express to the market we chose to focus on functionality that would make most sense to certain business models for example: a startup building a B2B app charging $30.00 per user per month could net $324,000 per year with SaaSGrid Express (30 customers with 30 users each). Not too bad for a bootstrapped startup! It might not be a perfect fit for certain freemium models, sure, but hardly a joke! The branding limitation is referring to our out-of-the-box portals. Your app is your app with no questions asked we dont inject any branding into your app, ever.<br> <br>Note that those ISVs pursuing capital or building early customer traction can use SaaSGrid Express precisely for what you mentioned: POCs, demoes, customer evaluations, etc. They can build a product atop SaaSGrid without significant capital investment early on to prove out the technology choice. Furthermore, as highlighted above, an ISV can grow substantially before graduating to a full version of SaaSGrid. This gives them a very decent runway.<br> <br>Lastly, your comment on the price modeling is simply a misunderstanding of SaaSGrids vernacular. The use case you outline is completely supported in SaaSGrid Express. Each price model is composed of multiple price plans (think Basic, Pro, Enterprise, Ultimate). So, the one price model you define can contain any number of plans allowing you to monetize your app in a variety of ways to meet customer demands. This gives you the same killer flexibility in pricing your app that you would get with the full version of SaaSGrid. Being limited to a single price model simply means you are limited to one set of price plans.<br> <br>Hopefully this info helps clarify a few things.<br> <br>Cheers!<br>Matt
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    • RE: With eye on cloud standard, Apprenda offers free downloadable version of SaaS application server

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    They are able to develop a item on top of SaaSGrid without having important cash expenditure in the beginning in order to demonstrate the engineering option. In addition, while pointed out previously mentioned, the ISV can easily develop drastically ahead of graduation with a entire variation associated with SaaSGrid. This provides you with these an extremely respectable driveway.
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