SaaS without an internet connection: what strange magic is this?

A WAN with a plan can make SaaS look like it's on-prem, suggests Equinix


Software-as-a-service (SaaS) has been spruiked as all about you, an internet connection, and software running in a super-secure bit barn somewhere.

Serious SaaS providers let you integrate your on-site security somehow, but still rely on all the fun and variability of the public internet for some of the journey between your premises and their cloudy contraptions.

Equinix wants to have a waft at giving you the option to give the Internet a miss and instead use your WAN. The plan looks like this: use your WAN to hook into an Equinix bit barn, where the company runs a dedicated connection to a SaaS provider. That second connection runs over Equinix's Cloud Exchange, which runs pipes from the company's bit barns to those operated by public clouds, the better to ensure a predictable pipe. Equinix is now extending that offering to SaaS providers.

The idea is that you get a WAN-grade connection to Equinix then a WAN-grade connection to your preferred public cloud, rather than a best-effort connection.

Equinix revealed an intention to provide such a connection to Office 365 earlier this year and today told The Register it's working on connections to other SaaS offerings, too. Google's productivity efforts are in Equinix's sights, as are other SaaS major players.

Equinix argues that the ability to make a WAN conform to on-premises security policies means businesses won't mind having their tickets clipped when they get SaaSy. It also argues that even though the kind of service it offers adds cost to SaaS, and rather complicates the “point your browser at it and forget about sysadminnery” rhetoric, businesses will still end up with a better-looking bottom line (and better security) than would be the case accessing SaaS over the Net.

Private access to Office 365 will become available sometime this quarter. Equnix wouldn't say when a similar offering will appear for other SaaS suppliers. ®

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