The Application Service Provider Model
The ASP model has evolved because it offers some significant advantages
over traditional approaches. Here are some of the most important advantages:
- Especially for small businesses and startups, the biggest advantage is
low cost of entry and, in most cases, an extremely short setup time.
- The ASP model, as with any outsourcing arrangement, eliminates head
count. IT professionals (ie. Computer Programmers, Network Administrators,
DBAs, etc) tend to be very expensive and very specialized, so this is
- The ASP model also eliminates specialized IT infrastructure for the
application as well as supporting applications. For example, if the
application you want to use requires an MS-SQL database, you would have to
support both the application and the database.
- The ASP model can shift Internet bandwidth to the ASP, who provides it
at lower cost.
One thing that led to the growth of ASPs is the high cost of specialized
software. As the costs grow, it becomes nearly impossible for a small
business to afford to purchase the software, so the ASP makes using the
Another important factor leading to the development of ASPs has been the
growing complexity of software and software upgrades. Distributing huge,
complex applications to the end user has become extremely expensive from a
customer service standpoint, and upgrades make the problem worse.
In a large company where there may be thousands of desktops,
distributing software (even something as simple as a new release of
Microsoft Word) can cost millions of dollars. The ASP model eliminates these
Organizations always struggle to keep up with the latest technology.
Hardware and software doesn't come cheap. Many companies use equipment and
software that is two or three generations behind state-of-the-art systems
and are virtually impossible to update or modify and deliver. The answer to
this problem is the increasing availability and use of web-based
applications. Instead of using software installed on a specific user's
computer, your company utilizes free, openly available, web browsers to
access specialized programs through the Internet.
Web-based functionality is achieved when built on the foundations of
web-server technology. Such applications can be accessed from anywhere in
the world at any time. And these applications are completely cross-platform.
All data and input by the user utilizing the application is used to update a
database or document that is then made available by the system to global
users in real time.
Web applications dramatically reduce development and deployment costs.
When creating these applications in an open architecture environment,
development time is reduced by limiting the time needed to "wrap" the
package up. Debugging is easier in initial development because changes are
immediately in operation. No building of setup programs. Bug fixes,
modifications, and additions to web-based applications are instantaneous and
do not require multiple application rollouts or versions.
Sending data over the internet via a secure SSL connection is far safer
than traditional security measures. If users currently keep their data on a
computer at the office, thieves, vandals, or viruses could corrupt the data
or steal the computer, fire or hardware failure could destroy the computer,
unauthorized personnel might access the system, backup tapes could be left
in non-secure environments, etc. Security experts agree that web-based
applications result in a more secure solution than most traditional
stand-alone or file server based systems.
The advantages of web-based applications are clear. There is no need to
purchase the latest hardware and software upgrades, deployment issues are
eliminated, applications may be accessed remotely allowing employees to work
on the data from any computer that has Internet access. And when struggling
to exchange data between computers in your office, web applications solve
this problem easily, and more importantly, quickly and inexpensively.
ASP.NET is the .NET Framework-based platform for developing Web
applications that are hosted on Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS)
and use Internet protocols such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and
Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).
The primary mission of ASP.NET is to significantly lower the barrier to
the development of Web applications. It accomplishes this mission in much
the same way that Visual Basic lowered the barrier to Windows programming:
by implementing an "event-driven" programming model in which developers add
controls to a form and write code to handle the events (e.g., the entry of
data in a text box or the clicking of a button) associated with these
controls. It also makes it easier for developers to build services that
exchange data in XML by allowing developers to build on the XML support
exposed by the .NET Framework class libraries.
By using the .NET Framework for ASP.NET, Microsoft provides developers
with the benefits of the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and class libraries.
ASP.NET uses the CLR to compile code and manage its execution, creating Web
applications that run faster and behave better. Relatedly, ASP.NET uses the
.NET Framework classes to make it easier for developers to incorporate
XML-formatted data into Web applications, and to add code to handle
exceptions, create UI elements, and provide other programmatic
ASP.NET plays an important part in Microsoft's overall .NET vision. Over
the next decade, Microsoft believes that the PC will be augmented by many
other types of devices that can access the Internet, from handheld devices
to mobile phones to home entertainment devices (such as gaming machines and
TV set-top boxes). So-called smart clients running on these devices will
take advantage of their considerable processing power to perform
device-specific tasks-for example, using speech recognition in an automotive
What is SQL Server 2000?
Today's competitive business environment requires enterprise applications
and databases that can accumulate information gathered by business systems,
support a rapidly increasing number of concurrent users, and efficiently
process and analyze massive amounts of data in increasingly complex ways.
SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit) provides a scalable data
platform with tools to help companies intelligently analyze large data
quantities and make informed decisions.
SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) takes advantage of advanced memory addressing
capabilities for essential resources such as buffer pools, caches, and sort
heaps, reducing the need to perform multiple I/O operations to bring data in
and out of memory from disk. Greater processing capacity without the
penalties of I/O latency opens the door to new levels of application
On 32-bit systems, complex queries that analyze extremely large amounts
of data would be broken down into smaller data sets that fit into the
4-gigabyte (GB) memory space, with excess data temporarily stored onto disk.
With SQL Server 2000 (64-bit), you have more space to process an entire
query without breaking down the data into smaller sets. This increase in
system memory is crucial to fast, efficient, and sustained application
The major benefits of 64-bit computing for commercial and business
applications revolve around 64-bit addressing of large-scale data sets
accessed by database management systems. 32-bit systems in the market today
can address only 4 GB of data in memory. SQL Server 2000 (64-bit), can
address hundreds of gigabytes. By eliminating the need to move a portion of
your working data to disk in order to make room in memory for new data,
query response times are accelerated. This provides unprecedented system
responsiveness for mission-critical enterprise applications.
The Transaction Processing Council (TPC) measures transaction processing
and database performance in terms of the number of transactions a given
system can perform per unit of time. According to their latest benchmark
results, SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) received the highest mark ever achieved on
a single system. This latest benchmark makes SQL Server 2000 the leader in
performance and price/performance on all processor combinations starting
from single processor servers.
High-volume e-Business transactions are putting new pressures on the
corporate computing environment. Functionality and stability are no longer
sufficient to provide a competitive advantage. Businesses must be able to
deploy and adapt applications quickly to address rising workloads and
changing business requirements. Data and applications must be integrated
across the enterprise to improve efficiency, and the highest levels of
performance and availability must be maintained to support business-critical
Infrastructure analysts at the META Group have outlined a strategy that
can help IT organizations meet these demands. The strategy is built around
the N-tier architecture, which partitions systems and software to enable a
more flexible, building block approach to infrastructure design and growth.
By taking advantage of the N-tier architecture, businesses can design,
deploy and integrate e-Business applications more quickly and
According to META Group analysts, the infrastructure demands of
e-Business require that IT organizations become proficient at designing and
implementing the N-tier architecture. This architecture makes a significant
departure from the more traditional 2-tier pattern, in which core
applications and data are typically hosted on a monolithic system, which is
accessed by a variety of "thick" clients.
An N-tier design partitions application functionality into three
independent layers, enabling easier integration with core business systems
and other e-Business applications:
- Layer 1: Presentation Logic - Typically hosted on front-end Web
- Layer 2: Business Logic - Hosted on mid-tier application or
- Layer 3: Database Management - Hosted on back-end database servers
In effect, an independent application layer is added to the traditional
2-tier architecture. This additional layer has the effect of decoupling
business logic from presentation and database functions, both physically and
in the software architecture. The ramifications for software development and
maintenance are particularly compelling. Customized code can be replaced
with standardized APIs to interface business logic with presentation code
and database access protocols. When properly implemented, the hardware and
software for each of the three layers can be scaled and upgraded
independently. This partitioning also makes it easier to integrate new
applications into the environment. Application code no longer has to be
re-created when a new user interface is added, or when a transaction is
linked with another application in the e-Business matrix.
The N-tier architecture offers today's best solution to the unique
pressures e-Business places on corporate computing infrastructures. By
partitioning systems and applications into front-end, middle tier and
back-end layers, the N-tier architecture supports a more standardized,
building block approach to application design. Hardware and software for
presentation, application and database functions can be scaled
independently, and integrated more easily into complex e-Business
Ian Cordell is President of IDSTC,
www.idstc.com, one of the leading MLM Software developers of MLM
software technology solutions for the MLM, Network Marketing, Direct
Selling and Party Plan industries. The company offers an extensive array
of MLM software solutions including MLM Software genealogical downline
management, MLM Software back office solutions, MLM Software communication
solutions, MLM Software replicating website solutions, etc.