They are indeed, Alex. And they've implemented some kind of system where you specify a VAR partner when purchasing as well so as to not cut off that avenue of support. The question then may be did they go far enough with all the elements (price, accessibility, etc.) that are typically the hallmarks of the SaaS delivery model.
This is a very smart play for Dassault. As you note, this enables them to broaden their market from their high-end enterprise stronghold downward and target mid-sized businesses. The latter, which are less likely to be candidates for expensive, on-premise licenses, might be enticed to try the pay as you go model. OTOH, I notice that Dassault is being careful not to undercut their traditional business model, by setting fairly high-end pricing for the cloud offering. Which, in turn, makes it less attractive to smaller businesses. So like all traditional software vendors moving to the cloud (or SaaS, as Rob mentions), they're walking a tightrope.
It is confusing and the definitions vary depending on who you are talking to. Generally the hosted model is the older interpretation when a company like an IBM, for example, or a hosting provider manage the instance of particular application off-site in their data center. With this approach, there is typically dedicated hardware in one location running the applications--not exactly cloud computing by today's standards since you don't have the scalability and elasticity of that model. SaaS, on the other hand, fits the more modern intrepretation of cloud and that's what Dassault is doing via it's partnership with Outscale. Amazon provides the cloud computing infrastructure (what's known as infrastructure-as-a-service) and Outscale handles the management/provisioning of the Dassault applications delivered in a SaaS model.
With cloud computing becoming so widespread -- with even our music and video collections slipping up to the cloud -- how do the older terms like software-as-a-service (SaaS) and hosted services fit in? Do they remain distinct models, or are they simply earlier terms for what is essentially cloud computing?
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