SaaS Development in Microsoft Visual Studio

Visual Studio SaaS refers to the hosted delivery of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (2010), which is the end result of the migration of Microsoft’s VSS (Visual Source Safe) product offering to the cloud. Visual Studio SaaS delivers a data storage and collaboration back-end solution that facilitates the efficient development of web or windows applications, which can also eliminate the high licensing costs that may be associated with an enterprise application life cycle management solution. Along these lines, SaaS Visual Studio can be accessed by developers for a small monthly fee, which includes 24/7 technical support and maintenance of Visual Studio SaaS.

Apprenda vs. Visual Studio SaaS

Visual Studio SaaS is offered as a hosted solution by a number of Microsoft Partners. SaaS Visual Studio hosting companies provide a variety of pay as you go Visual Studio SaaS pricing plans, which often include additional storage, nightly backup services and various security enhancements. SaaS Visual Studio features include a visual version control interface, workflow tracking capabilities, build automation tools, project management functionality and reporting tools – among other features.

While Visual Studio SaaS is a solid product offering from Microsoft, it has its limitations, as it is primarily an application life cycle management and project management tool. In a nutshell, SaaS Visual Studio does not represent a PaaS solution for the enablement of SaaS delivery, that is required by ISV’S (independent software vendors). Core features that are required by ISV’s for SaaS delivery, such as user auto provisioning, user self service account management, subscription management, metering & billing and more, which are found in Apprenda’s Private PaaS solution are not available in Visual Studio SaaS, making it an unfeasible SaaS enablement solution for ISV’s.

What’s more, Apprenda extends the functionality of its Private PaaS solution, with additional features for ISV SaaS enablement in its SaaSGrid solution, which includes an advanced tool set for application configuration, including the ability to deliver different versions of the same SaaS solution to different subscribers without the need for code changes, as well as the ability to link various feature bundles to different pricing schemes. This functionality facilitates on-the-fly customization of SaaS offerings according to an individual user’s subscription plan without any code changes whatsoever, from a single instance of the applicable code base. ISV’s looking for a comprehensive solution that goes beyond a development platform or an application life cycle management tool have the perfect solution for SaaS enablement, in the Private PaaS and SaaSGrid offerings available from Apprenda.