What are Hosted Applications?

A hosted application is a software as a service (SaaS) that enables users to open and use a software application that is hosted in the cloud on a subscription basis.  Hosted applications are hosted on a cloud infrastructure that users can access through the internet from anywhere in the world.

There are several variations of Hosted Applications, and they may alternatively be described using one of the following titles: Software as a Service, Hosted Terminal Services, Internet applications, web applications, remote application, online applications, Remote Desktop Services etc.  This article attempts to break these down and explain the differences.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is generally an application written by a software vendor who hosts it on a web server and it is accessed over the Internet using a web browser.  Long standing examples of this would be Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Hotmail where users go to a website to see their messages instead of installing a mail application such as Outlook on their computers.

More defined examples might be services like Salesforce or Zoho which are Customer Relationship Management applications accessed over the Internet from browsers instead of the traditional, on premise, “Client-Server” applications.  In fact these type of applications are clear examples of where SaaS is replacing the traditional desktop install model.

Software as a Service may also include “services” provided via the Internet to other applications, whether onsite or hosted for example the ability to logon to an application using your Facebook or Twitter account.  In this case Facebook is providing the service.

These would all come under the umbrella terms of: Internet based applications, web applications or online applications.

Remote Applications – Hosted Terminal Services

While the SaaS applications are generally designed to run within a browser, some applications require a dedicated “Client” to run them, providing more advanced features and functionality or better performance that can’t be provided within the confines of a browser.  Traditionally the client application would have been installed on a local PC and if it required a shared database then this would have been stored on a server on the user’s local network.

Larger organisations with multiple sites all wanting to work on the same database may take advantage of a technology called “Terminal Services”.  This enabled the client application itself to be installed on a server near the database but the screen output from that application would be displayed on the users’ desktop at a remote site, so would appear as if it was installed on their PC.

With the recent increase in Internet bandwidth it is now possible to run terminal server based applications over the Internet not just on an organisations Wide Area Network (WAN).   Many companies are now hosting their client-server applications “in the cloud” as Hosted Applications allowing them to access then anywhere over the Internet.  The terminal server software installed on PCs also have versions for non-Windows devices running Mac, iOS and Android,  This means that almost any application can become a “Cloud” application running on any device.

These type of applications come under the umbrella terms of: Remote Apps, Remote Applications, WebApps, Terminal Services applications, and more widely as part of Hosted Desktops or Remote Desktop Services.

Benefits of Hosted Applications?

Three reasons: convenience, security, cost.   

By using hosted applications, whether Software as a Service or desktop applications on a hosted terminal services platform businesses have all the convenience and flexibility that cloud computing offers.  Meaning they can run applications from anywhere via the Internet

As all the infrastructure is maintained by the hosting provider businesses no longer need to worry about IT, that is someone else’s problem.   Hosting providers will be geared up to manage infrastructure on a large scale with redundancy built in along with managed backups, updates, patches and anti-virus.

Changes to applications such as updates or upgrades just have to be done once on the server not on every PC.

With a Hosted Application there is rarely any up-front costs, usually a monthly subscription with perhaps a small setup fee depending upon the complexity of your environment.

Contact Us About Your Hosted Application Today

If you are looking to host a specific application, maybe your current applications need upgrading and you’re looking at a sizeable hardware and licencing bill to support it why not talk to one of our technical sales consultants or visit our hosted applications page to find out more.   They are all experienced business people as well as IT professionals so can help find the right cloud solution for your specific requirements.    Just call 01282 500318 or fill it our online contact form and we will be in touch with you shortly to talk to you about your hosted application.

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