RE: Reasons not use an ASP
It's kind of funny to look at these comments. I must say a lot of you seem to have the notion that some of the failures of an ASP do not exist or are minimal. The fact remains that these failures do exist and are very real. I do understand that midsize and small companies are more likely to profit by going to an ASP. I myself work in a large company. Despite all the propaganda though, our CEO told all of us that we will not use an ASP( solely for security reasons ). Now let me first clarify what is an ASP. An ASP to me is any one who sells as service his application to such a point where he shares that one application with as many people as he so chooses. That means any web application such as email , calendars, anti virus software, distributed client apps, applications applied through any kind of refresh mechanism one can think of, databases, SAP, Peoplesoft... . ASP means to the end developer that he/she does not have think about shrink wrapping, flyers, or advertisment brochures. Now here are the facts as I see them for distributed apps because that is what this is really about, where end users will have pay for the service the app brings.
1. Security - It is well known that an ASP is on the internet 24 hours a day and if he is not I would ask question why. Because if an application is down and I can't get access to it then you would be costing me money. Therefore you are susceptiple 16 hours longer than my pc is at work since mine is shut down when I go home. A keen person may say that they use they use encryption on the wire. But it is also well known fact that any encryption scheme can be broken except for one time ciphers, in which case the keys are always thrown away. Plus anyone who leaves any machine on connected to the internet is at risk to a lot more than stealing of data, such as the ping of death, flooding attacks, man in the middle, etc.. The fact is that an ASP is going to more susceptible for a longer period of time. Another wise crack would be that end users are not as savy to restrict thier machines or let alone shut them off, touche( see pro ASP below ).
2. Latency - This is a problem for any distributed application. On good web application, within a company on a T1, 4 second download times are acceptable. That would include the pretty graphics and supporting files. Now some of you would say that even that latency time is attrocious, mind you that's the first time you hit the site. From then on most of the static material should cached on the desktop and on the web server if not already. But it is a well know fact, that shared memory applications out perform any over the socket application. Why, because they are not being translated to or from the tcpip stack. It is in memory period. Also, for the engineering in my mind, probability adds up when things are series not when they are in parallel. That is why anybody building distributed computing wants to have redundant systems. End users using an ISP or even corporate users who work at home are at risk. Why because things for him are in series on the frontend not the back. Now someone could make the remark that with an ASP, if your machine goes down then you could move to another workstation and continue, touche again( see pros below ).
3. Data lock in - This still plagues us in many ways. I think things though have come a long way from what it used to be like. Not to say that it couldn't happen again. If people opt for proprietary methods then this will continue exist. But some might say that there is XML, touche. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. And in fact anyone who has read the Halloween documents knows what I am talking about and whom I am talking about.
4. Performance - This is a problem and was even publicized in many articles. Companies such as Victoria Secret were knocked off line purely because of the number people who logged onto the site during the super bowl game. Similar stories such as these have occurred at Schwab, eTrade, and others( see pros below ). My own company has dealt with these issues before. In a lot of cases this goes with the territory of distributed applications.
5. Availability - for end users who use distributed apps from the home suffer from probability of not being able to access an application for several of reasons. a. There machine goes down for whatever reason ( This actually serves as a pro ). b. The telephone wire between the telco and the house is snapped for whatever reason. c. ISP provider is either knocked off line or has too many people accessing the ISP at one time. d. ASP provider suffers an outage for whatever reason. Note that these are items are in series and could not possibly be any other way. Now someone may say, we take care to make our apps redundant. But that still does not affect the other elements but rather the underlying total probability.
6. Privacy - It's kind of funny. There are companies, eToys, who have actually been less scrupulous. And were caught in the act of selling personal information of paying customers to third party companies. Again someone may say that already occurs today without the internet. True and in fact your medical care providers can tell you about this one.
7. Cost - Arguably this is a thorn. One could say that on the upside, you don't have to upgrade anymore. On the downside, you have to pay every month. If one just does the math, you will be able to see what it means for the end user at home. If every software costed $3 a month and the end user had one hundred different apps then this would literally be $300 a month. To me that's a damn nice car for the same amount. For companies this may not be a big deal. For the end user this literally would total to $4800 a year. Now again counter point, most people won't have a hundred apps in fact 10 will probably be the most. But think about this even now most people would not consider their mouse arrow an application, but yet things like comet cursor do exist and what is to say they won't charge you a buck or two a month. Games are another cash cow, my daughter alone has 10 or more that she uses. I myself have 30 distinct "vendor" apps on my desktop. In my company we have 400 hundred developer groups with 7-8 people each. That same figure above translates to $15,360,000 a year. But in this case these are normal costs. In fact my company probably spent way more than that. Probably 10 times that. But again the cost of an app in this case would probably be higher for the more sophisticated applications even from an ASP.
1. Security - for the end user this is not so much of a big deal especially given the fact that it would take years for a hacker to crack 128bit SSL encryption. Yes I do know about a project that did occur on the internet to crack the 32 or 64 bit encryption scheme. But by increasing the number of bits makes it that much tougher. Only countries or large could afford the time or money.
2. Latency - it was said a long time that the fear was that internet traffic would soon clog when more and more people got on line. But in fact the opposite has happened, the speed of the internet has literally increased 12% a year. Because companies are always improving the network, applications, etc...
3. Data Lock in - With XML, we should see things open up even more for B2B. And if you do know XML learn it. It's the future.
4. Performance - see 2 above.
5. Availability - moot point when one is on a pc at work since multiple routers will exist to the ASP. See number 2. Also when was the last anyone has had a phone outage. In this case two things could go wrong, user error or congested ISP. To slow for you then move to dsl. You can get that for $20 in my area QWest.
6. Privacy - Government is cracking down this issue. In fact acts of stealing personas or credits cards happens as much or more outside the internet. There things more likely to happen to an individual today as there was yesterday.
7. Cost - this is most arguably the hardest to swallow. For companies this may make sense since desktop refreshes do have to occur and why not through the mechanism of the internet. For end users this does not make sense. In fact I have not replaced the 10 games that my daughter has in 2 years. I spend far less money doing it that way then any other way. Now that is not that I don't download the free stuff. In fact I do. Whatever software I do buy would have to on average be less than $1 a month for me to be able to justify it with myself or my family. I fact my wife would have a coniption spending $3 on one app. Mind you, I have more than one PC at home with different apps on each one. In fact I probably hit 100 distinct vendor apps on two PC's.
8. Much of the ASP solutions are already happening and have been happening for about 5 years. So what's with the new sticker. It's like any thing with e in it's name was popular. Now it seems to be anything with "my".
Nough said. Now you draw your own conclusions