Microsoft offers package for SAAS enablement

Microsoft Monday released a new software package and program for enabling software as a service.

Microsoft has launched a new software package aimed at enabling ISVs (independent software vendors) to offer their software on a hosted basis in a move to take advantage of the growing software as a service (SAAS) market.

The Microsoft Solution for Windows-based Hosting for Applications Version 1.0 is available now. It is designed not only for ISVs that want to offer their wares as services on their own, but also for hosting providers that offer environments on which companies can host their software.

The SAAS enablement package includes Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005, which can identify and resolve problems in a hosted environment to ensure service-level agreements are met, and Microsoft Provisioning System, which automates administrative tasks such as adding new users, updating directory entries and provisioning applications and services, the company said. The package also offers other tools and systems for automating patch and update management as well as centralizing management of the IT environment.

In addition, Microsoft is providing a monthly subscription-based licensing model, Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA), which allows ISVs and hosting providers to pay only for the software they use in a given time period.

Pricing information was not immediately available.

SAAS is becoming an increasingly popular way for companies to offer their software to customers who don't want to make a big investment in IT infrastructure. Research firm IDC estimates that spending in the SAAS market will reach US$10.7 billion worldwide by 2009.

Companies that also offer SAAS enablement programs and software include Oracle and IBM, as well as pure-play SAAS enablement companies such as OpSource.

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