How to SaaSify Your App: Move to the Cloud without Rewriting Code

Brian Garoutte

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Software Developers and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) all across the globe are looking for ways to transform their delivery model to the cloud. Some are opting to re-write their applications as web apps. Others simply cannot afford the time or cost of developing such a solution. For those who are stuck in a more native server-client model, and don’t want to spend the time or money to rewrite their application, there is an easy way to SaaS-ify applications via RemoteApp in the cloud.

Microsoft RemoteApp in the Cloud
Leveraging Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) technology, RemoteApp in the cloud allows any software vendor to deploy applications globally on cloud virtual machines in a cloud-only or hybrid approach. The result is a new delivery model that helps employees stay productive anywhere, and on a variety of devices - Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, or Android. Corporate applications run on Windows Server in the cloud, where they’re easier to scale and update. Users can access their applications remotely from their internet-connected laptop, tablet, or phone. While appearing to run on the users' local device, the applications are centralized on Azure’s protected, reliable infrastructure.

All that is required is a Remote Desktop Services infrastructure running in the cloud. In a session based RDS environment, you will need to build traditional RDS roles such as Gateway and Web Access, Domain Controller, RD Connection Broker and Licensing Server, and Session Hosts.

Once architected and deployed for proper scalability, you can simply install the applications on both the client side (Session Host) and the Server side (Application / Database VM), configure user authentication, and you are ready to start delivering applications in the cloud.

Cloud Infrastructure: Build your own or use a Hosting Provider or Platform?
You can build and manage cloud RDS infrastructure on your own or identify a hosting provider or cloud automation platform that can do this for you.  There is a spectrum of solutions available depending on your expertise and level of management and control desired. If you want to focus on app development and customer growth and satisfaction, leaving all infrastructure management alone, a fully managed solution will typically run from $40-$100 per user per month depending on performance needs and other services.  Alternatively, there are platforms that allow you to take on some of the infrastructure management yourself, and can reduce your cost to $20-$50 per user per month.

There are plenty of solutions for delivering your app in the cloud immediately without the time and cost of re-writing your application.  Finding the right solution depends on your own unique business needs.

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