SaaS vs ASP – What is the real difference?

One of the stunning differences that come out in Saas vs asp lies in the way they manage their computing resources. Most ASPs utilize a single environment for each of their clients which imply that they offer a specific application that is set up for each of their customers. Each client uses the software as a single tenant, and does not share it with others. For ASPs, application set configurations, and the server is unique for any of their customers.

On the other hand, with SaaS providers, all clients share the same computing resources; application, servers and database in a multi-tenant model.

So, a major difference when looking at SaaS vs ASP is that while an asp hosts the application environment in its own “building”, a Saas provider uses the same computing resources for all customers and they all share the same “building”. This means that Saas is cheaper than ASPs to run. It also highlights the following 2 differences.

  • · ASP cuts maintenance costs and efforts for the customer. However, a SaaS application does so to an even greater extent. This is due to the fact that an ASP has to maintain dedicated infrastructure and setup for each client while in a Saas, configuration, upgrades and fixes are applied once for all customers.
  • · On the flip side, asp customers have more control over configuration than is the case for SaaS application clients. However, based on the cost of making such customization, SaaS application are the better.

Saas vs asp- migration of clients’ applications

Another key difference that comes out in saas vs asp is that asp sometimes moves clients’ applications into their own data centers especially if they want to run a newer application. If these applications are not designed to run over the web, they could generate other issues to be solved. This means that more money will go to the drain.

On the other hand, Saas providers utilize applications that are designed to operate and be used over the internet. As such, customers only need to move their data into the new Saas application. This means low cost and greater convenience for SaaS customers.

SaaS vs Asp- updating

One of the major benefits of SaaS over asp is that the software is always up-to-date; updates are run regularly by the software provider such that you are always on the most recent version with the latest enhancement and maintenance. However, in an asp environment, the provider has to update each client’s software one at a time making frequent maintence and application of updates time consuming and costly. As such, maintenances are batched up and delayed sometimes for months.

Saas vs asp-Data loss

Another key difference is that SaaS offering is mostly managed like an enterprise applications with full database mirroring across 2 different locations with 24/7 monitoring to make sure you never experience downtime. Each Asp provider would need to have 2 separate servers for each client to offer the same assurance. However, this rarely occurs in an asp setup because of the cost to the provider for maintaining separate redundant systems for each hosted computer.

The bottom line is that SaaS, mainly due its low cost benefit, seems like it will finally drive asp out of market. This is the real difference. SaaS has a bright future.


Omri is the Head of Demand Generation, as well as the Lead Author & Editor of the SaaSAddict Blog. Omri established the SaaSAddict blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to SaaS and cloud migration.