Software as a Service Architecture Explained

As we said recently, people are comfortable with using technology, but nobody really has a grounded sense on how any of it works. This leaves them at an admitted disadvantage in that, if they have good ideas for how the technology might be better, they can’t do much about it. They also can’t understand problems when they encounter them, or why they are the way they are. Well, software as a service architecture is one of those things.


First, I have to tell you a quick origin story of this idea. At one time, computers were a new thing all around. They were massive machines, filling warehouse sized spaces. They couldn’t perform nearly the complexity of calculations even a flip phone can now, and they were impractical for being installed in some places.

Computing in your home, or in your business was a real problem. So, the earliest applications were in fact software as a service architecture themselves. Banks and businesses used simple terminals to dial into mainframes, which handled the true data storage and recording, as well as computing. But, integrated circuits stemmed it for a while, until the internet took off.

Same Thing, New Wrapping:

The thing is, if you’re used to the internet, you’re already used to the idea behind SaaS. You see, just like how the internet is data requested from remote locations and rendered locally in a browser, it’s the same idea here.

Where the web first solved the problem of massive records being accessible from anywhere, SaaS does this for high performance and capacity software solutions pretty much with the same technology.

How it Works:

Ok, so how does it work? Basically, it works the same way a web page does in most cases. All of the data and programming is stored server side, and executed there. The result is then delivered to the browser, and rendered.

But, new technology for the browser’s end has made for much better application of this. With local computing scripts like Java, AJAX and HTML5 allowing for dynamic interfaces, and parallel queries without massive page reloads, it’s now possible to actually deliver a full on software experience over a browser.

Why this Helps:

This is very helpful, because it, among other things, gives high end computing power to cheap, weak devices like smart phones, tablets and low end PCs. With only the computing power to handle the local interface and querying scripts that make up the interface needing to be handled locally, it makes any net smart device capable of high yield computing.

On top of this, this model also removes the pains of traditional software such as continuous purchases of new versions, installations of patches, and massive initial investments.

The Future:

We’re moving to what’s commonly referred to as ubiquitous computing. This is a system where computing technology is everywhere and in everything, automating the world. No matter where we go, we’ll be able to access the network, and to access massive computing resources no matter how week our in hand device may be.


So, how software as a service architecture works isn’t any more complicated than how the internet works. It’s just not immediately obvious is all.


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.