SaaS management: it’s MUWS and MOWS all over again

One of the most repetitive tasks when I was evangelizing WSDM was to explain the difference between the MUWS and MOWS specifications (the sum of which composes the entire WSDM body of work). MUWS (management using web services) describes how to use Web services to expose manageability capabilities of potentially any resource (a server, an application, a toaster…). MOWS (management of web services) defines a monitoring and control model for resources that are Web services themselves (so you can measure the number of messages received for example).

I ended up sounding like a cow when I was presenting. A retarded cow even, since my French accent forced me to say it slowly so people could hear the difference.

In retrospect, we should not have tried to tackle both in the same group. And not just because my dignity was bruised. It was a distraction inside the working group, and a source of confusion outside of it. We should have focused on MUWS (as WS-Management did) and possibly created a protocol-independent monitoring/control model for Web services separately. Something that, BTW, is still missing today.

I am being reminded of this MUWS vs. MOWS state of affair these days, when the topics of SaaS and IT management meet, often under the term “SaaS management”. By that, some people mean “delivering IT management as a hosted service, rather than running the management software in the same datacenter as the application”. Other mean “managing, using an on-premise deployment of the management software, a business application that is being delivered as a service (e.g. Oracle CRM On Demand), along with other local IT resources”. The latter is what I was talking about in this post. And sometimes it’s both at the same time (the business application is delivered as a service along with a hosted management console for status/issues/requests…). Not to mention the extra dimension of providing IT management to the administrators in charge of running a multi-tenant application in a SaaS scenario (instead of meeting the needs of their customer’s administrators).

All of these scenarios are valid. So far, we don’t have good names for them. And the MUWS/MOWS experience shows that good names matter. IMaaS (IT Management as a Service) and MoSaaS (Management of Software as a Service) won’t cut it.

[UPDATED 2008/6/23: This seems to be an example of MoSaaS (or rather MoIaaS) delivered through IMaaS. I am subjecting you to such an awful-sounding sentence as a way drive home the need for better names. The real value of course will come when these capabilities are delivered alongside (and integrated with) all your IT management capabilities. John has a nice analysis that lets some air out of the fluff.]


Filed under Application Mgmt, Everything, IT Systems Mgmt, SaaS, Standards, Utility computing

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