Thursday, April 8, 2010

Develop Cloud based SaaS Applications on Wolf Platform


Techno-Pulse hosts Sunny Ghosh, Director Wolf Frameworks, in an exclusive e-Mail Interview on Cloud Computing Services in general & PaaS in particular.

Sunny is responsible for developing & evangelizing the business model embedded inside the WOLF Platform. A subject matter expert in software application platforms, he brings tremendous working experience with Enterprises/SME's from more than 35 countries and is a seasoned startup specialist. A COBOL, RPG, CL programmer by origin, with strong career foundation with Motorola, sunny started his career in the Telecom domain & holds an honors degree in Mathematics with specialization in Competitive Product Strategies, Intellectual Capital & Software Business Management from NSRCEL, IIM-Bangalore. A voracious reader, core committee member of the prestigious CII - Knowledge Management Community of India, he has published series of papers on how Digital edge empowers large Diasporas & communities, “Mobilizing knowledge management towards digital rights” in assistance from World Bank & UNPAN and dreams of a world filled with choice, service, freedom and optimism.

Q & A…

  • PaaS (Platform as a Service) is a relatively new concept; May be there are not more than 10 well known PaaS providers in the world. What made you dare to think beyond IT services & outsourcing – the prevalent trend in India?

Sunny: Product and services are two sides of the same coin. India has established its global dominance in IT services and to break the ceiling, product development is an obvious transition. What does every product company want to do? Introduce a service around their product and ask any services company, they too want to develop product/IP/Framework to differentiate themselves from everyone. This is natural to me. What’s really unique is why Platform-as-a-Service?
Having spent 15 plus years in the software industry and working with some of best products and minds across the world, we could visualize:

  1. An entire new generation of customers/users waiting to leverage computing in ways not possible with earlier technology.
  2. The end of ‘Fashion-IT’ – customers will only pay for value and not technology. 
  3. Global dominance of the Internet, return of the centralization/scale of economies and services industry.
  4. Most importantly – ‘Innovation’ as a means to fuel economic growth.

What Microsoft Access did to the PC world, WOLF Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is doing to the browser world. Making your ideas, processes and business applications go online as web applications with a few clicks and with limited technology & budget constraints. From concept to creation and cash within days!

  • Finally the Indian Elephant is dancing & India is emerging as an Economic Power House. What is the Cloud Computing implementation scene in India specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)? Do you see it as a big opportunity for PaaS providers like you?

Sunny: WOLF Platform has a lot to offer to the 35 million plus SMB’s in India, who are growing a lot faster than their counterparts in other parts of the world. They are moving from people based businesses to process based organizations and the ability to develop, access or use from simple automated applications to customized business applications is the need of the hour.

Many of our partners are developing SaaS applications on top of WOLF which are more targeted towards SMB’s. In general, PaaS takes the complexity out of IT and helps the small to medium businesses to use affordable solutions.

In fact, “Design and deliver applications which work the way your business does” is our core mantra and clearly SMB’s stand to benefit the most from our present offering.

  • How do you compare Wolf PaaS (Platform as a Service) with the more established platform from bigger players like Microsoft’s Windows Azure & Google’s App Engine?

Sunny: WOLF is a rapid application development and delivery platform, equivalent to Microsoft Access TM on the internet. We help to develop online applications 70 percent faster at less than half the cost and use raw infrastructure, computing power and a cloud OS such as Microsoft Azure underneath. While Google App Engine and Windows Azure are ideal for developers, WOLF is ideal for power users & business analysts and works as a zero-code middleware which hides all the complexities for the user.

  • How can Wolf PaaS provide an alternate platform to small & mid size IT companies who are developing enterprise wide applications on Java & .Net platform?

Sunny: WOLF is a 5GL platform which automates many standard software development methods to simplify business application design and development.

Consider us as a browser based design framework -- layer of abstraction on top of .NET or Java with lots of flexibility to create sophisticated applications. You get On-Demand scalable infrastructure + storage, complete database, business rules engine, presentation/UI templates, Billing and the capability to integrate with other Cloud services or On-Premise software applications via ready API’s.

All this and priced on a pay-per-use model? In other words, here’s your software stack without the cost and complexity of buying or maintaining for empowering your customer services – ready to fire!

  • Can you share some information on Wolf PaaS customers specifically in Indian market?

Sunny: WOLF is used by many small and large organizations in India; Juice Junction, Delhi Freight Carriers, PeopleLogic, EMR, Wipro, Kreeo, eCounting and GMR are some of them.

  • Data Security & Privacy is a big concern for the Cloud hosted applications. How are you addressing this issue?

Sunny: If we compare the security of a Cloud vendor to a business that runs and maintains its IT in-house, it is important to keep in mind that a Cloud vendor like WOLF considers security, customer privacy, data backups and risk mitigation as a part of our core service offering.

While offering standard security features such as SSL encryption, we also strive to implement robust (and often multiple) security measures that match or even exceed current industry standards. A similar security arrangement by a business would be prohibitive in terms of time, cost as well as from the implementation skills perspective. It’s almost like saying the Formula One Ferrari Team is managing & servicing our vehicle and applications these days :-)

  • Let us assume I’ve developed a SaaS (Software as a Service) using Wolf PaaS. Can I deploy my SaaS on any other Cloud Provider? In brief, how are you addressing Vendor-Lock-In issue?

Sunny: From the onset, WOLF has been architected keeping openness and standards in mind. With complete AJAX on the frontend and a robust XML backbone that enables bidirectional communication with On-Premise & other Cloud based apps, WOLF is more inclined towards a vision where our users can leverage cross-platform application interoperability & data usage.

A SaaS application created on WOLF can be deployed and run from any private cloud or server. And this is not enough when it comes to vendor lock-in:

  1. Allowing users to extract their application design in a highly portable XML format is a major offering from WOLF towards interoperability.
  2. Extract and save complete application data at the click of a button – anytime, anywhere.
  • To design applications on Wolf PaaS, one only needs to have a functional knowledge, No programming skill (coding) is required. Basically your framework has 4 wolf designer controls -- Entity, Navigation, Rules & Reporting designer. What’s happening behind the scene? Which database are you using?

Sunny: The WOLF platform automates many tedious and mundane steps of software development while also providing better control and higher flexibility to customize & develop your online business application. Our business analyst and evangelist community love the way in which complete applications, database-business rules and reporting functions are created with those simple controls with just configurations.

WOLF delivers its On-Demand version with MySQL database and if you decide to deploy your application On-Premise – you can even select Microsoft SQL Server as your database.

  • What is the USP of Wolf PaaS apart from its unique name?

Sunny: “Design and deliver robust web applications 70 percent faster at less than half the cost” is our core mantra and we believe that “Software is only consequential”

  • Google, Microsoft & Amazon are betting heavily on Cloud Computing as the next step in the Internet's evolution. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, the Cloud will wind up "being the place of innovation that lets us pull our lives together the way we want to, to touch people the way we want to [and] to find people when and how, and [in] the way we want to." Do you think the Cloud Computing will catapult the small but innovative creator to the big league in a short period of time?

Sunny: Web 1.0 was all about killer internet applications such as eBay,,, Yahoo, etc – where everyone had access. The Web 2.0 was all about user generated content, social networking and AJAX where everyone could contribute. With the advent of Web 3.0 or Cloud Computing or platforms such as WOLF, what we are witnessing is that everyone can innovate. So yes, Cloud computing will turn the tables and fire up innovation and consumerism to the scale never seen before…

  • Today the Indian IT space is dominated by companies from services sector. A few experts believe that if the big IT players don’t get their Cloud Computing strategies right, they may be in for a rude shock as the SaaS & PaaS providers may dent heavily into their revenue. What are your views?

Sunny: The nature of the Cloud enables rapid delivery of services, optimal utilization of computing resources and significant time, cost & effort benefits.

Going forward, IT and ITES companies will need to recognize and exploit these features of the Cloud to offer:

  1. A strong value proposition to their customers
  2. Gain a competitive advantage.

IT companies are slowly becoming aware of this and already there are signs of Cloud strategies in their roadmaps.

  • 5 years down the line, do you foresee any Cloud Provider (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) dominating the Indian IT space?

Sunny: Amazon is a true innovator and I believe that they are an IaaS player to watch out for in this space. I foresee WOLF as one of the major contenders in the PaaS/application development platform player for IT services and overall businesses. (Disclaimer: Shameless self-promotion :-) )

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  1. There is lot's of innovation to be coming in the PaaS segment. I really don't see especially developers for SME software to start installing servers. They are used to develop for platforms (e.g. Microsoft Windows/Office platform) and will have enough new to learn with all the web technologies needed for SaaS applications. Why should they bother with boring infrastructure and servers and the costs coming with them?

  2. SaaS is the future of S/W development. Insightful interview.

  3. Hi Guys,
    Here is an information of an upcoming conference called Adobe Flash Platform Summit 2010, India's largest Adobe conference, recognizes the blurring dynamic of the designer/developer workflow, and features the latest developments on the Adobe Flash Platform that is of utmost importance to both developers, as well as designers. It focused on Adobe, AIR, Cloud Computing and more. For more info log on to adobesummit dot com

  4. I am using WOLF PaaS to develop a specialty inventory management system for the Visual Artists vertical market.

    What PaaS enables is cheap experimentation and putting most of the development into the hand sof the (experienced) business analyst. If you can write business logic you can make a working system with a little support.

    There is a trade-off between flexibility and accessibility here, we found the mix works for us. See the demo of Visual Artist Inventory Database Software for yourself by signing into the demo version at our site.

    - Dave (founder)
    Artist-Patron Register

  5. WE have developed a specialized inventory aplication for the visual artist vertical market on this platform. There is a trade-off between flexibility and barriers to entry, but we have found it works for us.

    I expect many more little start-ups will be spawned in the same way - all you need is the ability to craft business rules and process flows.

    See for yourself at our demo site

    Dave (founder)
    Artist Patron Register