Software as a Service: An Integration Perspective

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Abstract

Software as a Service (SaaS) is gaining momentum in recent years with more and more successful adoptions. Though SaaS is delivered over Internet and charged on per-use basis, it is software application in essence. SaaS contains business data and logics which are usually required to integrate with other applications deployed by a SaaS subscriber. This makes Integration become one of the common requirements in most SaaS adoptions. In this paper, we analyze the key functional and non-functional SaaS integration requirements from an industry practitioner point of view; and summarize the SaaS integration patterns and existing offerings; then point out the gaps from both technology and tooling perspectives; finally we introduce a SaaS integration framework to address those gaps. Considering there is no much academic work on SaaS service modeling, we come up with a SaaS service description framework as an extension of Web Service description, so as to model SaaS unique features in a unified way. With the supported tooling and runtime platform, the framework can facilitate the SaaS integration lifecycle in a model-driven approach.