The cloud may not be right for your entire SaaS infrastructure; compliance and security issues will dictate which pieces can go cloud and which need dedicated hardware.
For a few quick cloud enhancements to your infrastructure, consider these areas where cloud-based services can help enhance your current SaaS environment:
Cloud Load Balancers: Your web layer and application layer need the ability to serve multiple users simultaneously. Once upon a time, load balancing required physical hardware and the expense and maintenance that come along with hardware ownership. Not anymore. Cloud Load Balancers let you balance traffic across resources to maintain user experience and functionality without additional hardware. You can balance servers on your Rackspace account or use it to balance servers in your data center.
Cloud Databases: SaaS apps rely heavily on their underlying databases to manage user accounts, product display, content and more. Scaling databases to hold and communicate the volumes of data and data relationships needed to manage your application in a general cloud environment can quickly get out of hand. Cloud Databases are built to take advantage of the cloud while accommodating the special needs of databases. You can reallocate the time needed to maintain, backup and secure the underlying hardware for your databases so you can focus on the data, not the server.
Open architecture: A common concern among SaaS operators considering the cloud is the fear of coding that perfect app on architecture that locks you in. With many cloud providers, that’s the case: moving your app to another vendor or moving it into your private data center means undertaking the daunting task of recoding critical pieces of your application. To eliminate that headache, Rackspace cloud products are built on open standards powered by OpenStack. That means you can move your app to any other OpenStack-compatible provider, even your onsite data center, without worrying about losing functionality.
These are just a few general ways to infuse the cloud into your SaaS application. Based on the unique needs of your app, there may be even more ways to take advantage of the cloud to reduce your hardware outlay and get more out of your application infrastructure.
Trey is a cloud evangelist with the Rackspace Startup Program. Check out his previous post on bash prompts and his next post on scaling your SaaS app in the cloud. Find out more about hosting your SaaS application at Rackspace.