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What is a Saas platform: concept and structure

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Saas, or Software-as-a-service, is one of the most popular application concepts the web has witnessed. It refers to a type of application deployment where your software is provided directly on the internet, rather than having to download it locally on your computer.

No more need for complicated installs, downloads, or difficulties in upgrading to the latest versions. Saas is nowadays considered the grail of application distribution. It's often cloud-based, and hosted by third-party providers who manage the infrastructure, security, and updates.

Many popular Saas applications are well known to the public, amongst them Salesforce, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, and Slack for instance.

Stay with us, Saas things are just getting started😎

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A mainstream format for platforms

Saas is first a distribution format

SaaS is mainly a distribution model for software, where applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over the Internet.

By distribution, we just mean the software is delivered directly online: no need for downloads or physical support (traditional software used to be installed with DVDs). As you might expect, SaaS is not the only distribution format.

Some Saas alternatives

There are alternatives to Saas such as:

  • "On-premise" where software is installed and run on computers in the premises of the person or organization using the software
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) where a service provider offers a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining their own infrastructure.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) where the infrastructure providers offer you a wide variety of servers, instances, and containers. The most famous is Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Each distribution model has its own advantages and is suitable for different situations and needs.

Saas comes with many peculiar concepts making it the mainstream choice of application distribution. The main concepts related to Saas are:

  • Subscription: Unlike traditional software licensing models, SaaS operates on a subscription model where users pay monthly or yearly (often discounted).πŸ’³
  • Scalability: Saas offers high scalability since it directly benefits from the underlying cloud infrastructure. Traditional software on the other hand doesn't scale well and often requires manual actions for such purposes.
  • Storage: Saas data is stored on cloud servers. Amazon S3 doesn't limit you with a maximum storage threshold, making it "virtually infinite".πŸ“¦πŸ“¦
  • Accessibility: Saas applications are accessible from any location with the internet.
  • Updates: they are automatic.πŸ””
  • Data Security: part of it (the low-level hardware part) is handled for you by your provider, but you still have to implement your application security.

πŸ“’ Saas platforms are the future, more and more appear each day. Wondering how to get yours up and running? Stimpack is the product growth platform you need: not only is it affordable, but it'll help you get started in no time.🀩

Stimpack helps you gain early traction on various social channels, boosts your product analytics, and creates your landing pages in no time. It's the best way to build startup-grade foundations and seamlessly launch products in just a matter of weeks.

Stimpack is your next-generation early-stage product growth platform.

The Saas basic underlying structure

One table speaks louder than a sentence, right? Let's summarize below the traditional Saas components and layers:

Component or Layer Example
UI and frontends Nextjs, Tailwindcss
Delivery network CDNs such as Cloudflare
Cloud platforms and APIs AWS, Heroku, Vercel
Authentication Clerk, Supabase, AWS Cognito
Databases and storage Mongodb, Supabase, AWS RDS
Performance and monitoring tools Sentry, New Relic
Deployment tools AWS Cloudformation, GCP, Terraform
Payments layer APIs Stripe, Lemonsqueezy
Other Integration APIs AI APIs, data collection APIs, external services
Much more... Security, data, analytics ...

Your users start interacting with the front-end app built using front-end technologies. This front-end has been delivered to his browser through a delivery network such as a CDN. They need to authenticate to the app: an Oauth2 form pops up. He logs in properly.

Few interactions, clicks, and form submits, trigger API calls to the cloud backend. From there, external API calls could be triggered too, and payments too. Pieces of data are stored, and others are retrieved. Everything's automatically saved to their account.

In short, Saas is an elegant app distribution format that helps you tailor online user-friendly experiences. Want to build your own? Feel free to get in touch with us, or directly use Stimpack, your early-stage product growth platform.

That's all for today folks, stay tuned. πŸ€—

Curious about Stimpack for early-stage startups and solopreneurs?

Stimpack is your next-generation early-stage product growth platform.
Our all-in-one product will help you create digital products, gain early traction, find your first early adopters and future customers; and launch products faster than ever.

Where can you find us?

We are on social media,
Twitter: @StimpackHQ
Founder's Twitter: @SaidAitmbarek
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Blog: blog.stimpack.io/