There were a number of fantastic SaaS talks at AWS re:Invent 2021, with strong Serverless content throughout. So we thought it was a good time to talk about SaaS and how combining Serverless and SaaS can really give your business its Serverless Edge.
What is SaaS?
SaaS or Software-as-a-service is a way of delivering applications over the Internet, in a rapid, self-service way. Instead of installing and maintaining software yourself, you can simply access it via the Internet, removing the undifferentiated burden of complex software and hardware management. SaaS products are typically sold, run, and maintained by Independent software vendors (ISVs) who usually host them on a cloud provider (AWS, GCP, Azure, etc).
SaaS Products typically have a subscription (pay-as-you-go) or consumption (pay-for-what-you-use) based pricing model and can normally scale easily to meet your needs.
Salesforce, Slack, Google G-Suite, Shopify, Zoom are all examples of SaaS products.
New Organisation Needs
Organisations, large and small have to rapidly meet the needs of their users, find product market fit and reduce their time to value, while maintaining capital efficiency with a model that scales profitably as usage grows.
This is where SaaS comes in!
- SaaS helps reduce the time to value, enables a faster feedback loop from real users, and scales easily as your business grows.
- Startup businesses are increasingly SaaS-only through building their businesses on the cloud and leveraging software as a service building blocks to rapidly compile a compelling offering to meet their customers needs.
- Enterprises are looking for SaaS options first when purchasing commercial software, so that they can focus on their core business.
- 1 or 2 person Micro-SaaS businesses now have the same access to SaaS building blocks as established enterprises and can rapidly go to market meeting the the needs of a niche set of users.
Questions to ask when creating a SaaS product
A typical SaaS product has a number of core questions to answer to focus on its business goals and meet the needs of its users. Tod Golding covers this and more in his amazing AWS re:Invent 2021 – SaaS architecture patterns: From concept to implementation talk, but we have extracted some of the important points here:
- How do you manage your SaaS product?, do you have a observability and analytics in place so you can analyse trends and see how your business in performing?
- Do you have a good handle on billing?, do you have the ability to have different subscription and pricing models?
- How do you provision and configure tenant environments on-demand and ideally in a self service way?
- How do you design your application to handle multiple tenants?
- How do you implement isolation so one tenant doesn’t interfere or have access to any other tenants?
- How do you partition data appropriately for each tenant?
- How do you deploy my infrastructure and applications? Do you share common infrastructure, or do you have completely separate silos for each tenant, or a mixture?
- How do you route data and load to each tenant?
- How do you create users and associate users to a tenant identity? How does authentication and authorization work for each user in my SaaS?
- How do you create and onboard a new tenant into the system? How do you give them an identity, a plan and configure the appropriate policies for that tenant?
- How do you offer different tiered experiences to different tenants? Basic, Premium, Enterprise, etc.
Make it real with the Serverless SaaS workshop
The AWS Serverless SaaS Workshop guides you through building a multi-tenant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. While addressing the questions outlined above, the workshop answers these questions in a Serverless way.
- How do you implement tenant isolation in an AWS Lambda environment?
- How do you support tiering and noisy-neighbor conditions?
- How do you build multi-tenant-aware microservices in a serverless model?
- How do you do establish Multi-tenant observability in a serverless ecosystem?
- How do you isolate tenant data in a pooled model?
- How do you apply tier based deployment strategies?
- How do you enable tenant throttling and quotas?
At the end of the workshop, you will be able to build a fully functional SaaS application, which aligns closely to the SaaS Reference Architecture solution.
This workshop is a fantastic way to learn how to build a SaaS product from the ground up, and how to get it to market quickly.
The workshop also is a great way to get hands on with a wide array of technologies : Cloud9, SAM, CDK, API Gateway, Lambda, Lambda Layers, DynamoDB, Cognito, STS, CodePipeline, CloudWatch, Python and the brilliant lambda power tools.
Serverless and SaaS – better together
Taking a Serverless-first approach lets you focus on your SaaS business and your differentiating value, without worrying about scaling and managing servers. This approach enables you to get to market faster, reduce your operational overhead, keep your initial costs low, and scale effortlessly as you find product-market-fit.