Workload automation (WLA) is designed to help IT teams automate tasks, jobs, and workflows across the enterprise. When purchasing a new WLA solution, IT teams quickly discover that there are a few different deployment options available. Most notably, the vendors in this space offer both on-prem and cloud-based SaaS workload automation deployment options. This article explores what that means, and the benefits of having workload automation in the cloud.
What is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS):
I would wager that just about anybody reading this post has used a SaaS solution, knowingly or not. That said, let’s define it here so that we’re on the same page. SaaS basically means that the solution you are using is hosted in the cloud by someone other than you. As an enterprise user, you have access to the software over the internet via a web browser. However, you do not own the software. Rather, you pay for an annual subscription to access the software. The vendor who sells that access will then manage the whole package as a service. These vendors typically provide additional services such as configuration, upgrades, and general maintenance as part of the package.
Why Are There so Few Workload Automation Vendors Who Offer SaaS?
The workload automation industry is unique in that it has roots in traditional batch job scheduling software, which was created many decades ago. In other words, these solutions have been around for a long time. Many of the larger vendors now selling what has evolved into workload automation originally built their offerings as on prem only solutions.
Remember, this was way back, before the word cloud had ever come out of IT professionals’ mouths. In most cases, these same solutions have not changed all that much over the years. After all, it’s expensive and time consuming to transform an on-prem offering into a SaaS offering. As such, there are only a few modern solutions on the market that have a true SaaS offering. These modern solutions were built more recently and are made specifically to be deployed in the cloud.
Some workload automation solutions that are running on-prem claim to be in the cloud. While they may offer limited web browser access, the reality is that these solutions only make a fraction of their full functionality available from the web. This “thick client” approach eliminates the real cost-savings and efficiency gains you would normally receive from a true SaaS-based model.
The Benefits of a SaaS Workload Automation
SaaS-based workload automation solutions are easy to deploy in the cloud. Enterprises often opt for a subscription-based SaaS model to remove up-front capital requirements. Plus, this model eliminates costly infrastructure and management expenditures.
Stonebranch offers our workload automation software in both on-prem and SaaS models. Below are some of the reasons our clients have decided to run in the cloud.
Stonebranch SaaS Business Benefits:
- Subscription-based pricing – Setup, maintenance and upgrades are included. This means that there is no need for addition hardware or infrastructure.
- Easy upgrades with the latest features – Move to the latest version with the newest functionality as soon as it is available. Plus, with the SaaS-based deployment model, Stonebranch will perform new upgrades as part of your subscription.
- The browser-based user interface means that end-users can manage the solution without requiring technical support from IT staff.
- Provide predictable costs and lower your total costs of ownership. Your finance team will love moving from a CAPEX to OPEX model. Plus, you can reallocate resources to grow the business.
- Integration with any application or platform – Stonebranch can connect your entire hybrid IT environment. Integrate to any application or platform. It does not matter if it is in the cloud, on-prem, or somewhere in-between.
- Role-based security (LDAP, Active Directory, SSO) - Best-in-class security features, such as an isolated virtual private cloud environment, a highly-available architecture, automated backups and disaster recovery, and system and SLA monitoring.
- Secure networking - Secure data transmission between your various systems and environments including mainframes, distributed on-premise networks, and cloud services environments.
- Always on - High availability with 99.5 % service uptime guaranteed and 24/7 support around the globe.
SaaS workload automation allows an enterprise to deploy their solution in the cloud, with all the bells and whistles intact. Some vendors offer web browser access to a thick client on-prem install with the goal of providing increased access to end users, but features are limited, therefore negating any cost savings.
There are many benefits to a SaaS approach: the software vendor manages the hardware, network infrastructure, and all upgrades to keep the solution running smoothly—so you can focus your time on automating the business.