A framework for high availability and optimum system performance in an Application Service Provider (ASP) environment
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The Application Service Provision (ASP) model offers access to centrally managed and hosted applications, via the Internet, on a subscription / rental basis. From its inception in the late 1990s, many have heralded the ASP delivery model as the new wave of IT outsourcing. Initially however, uptake of the ASP paradigm failed to match the hype, due in no small part to the de-valuation of dot.com share prices in early 2000, which caused the closure of numerous on-line service providers, and which eroded the confidence of many with regard to renting application access. However uptake of the ASP model is steadily increasing (recent estimates indicate spending on software-as-a service should reach $15.2 billion by 2007) and the emergence of hosted applications from key industry players indicate that the delivery of software-as-a-service may become an increasing feature of software product releases. Presented herein, is a framework, including the architecture and system configuration required, to ensure High Availabilityand Optimum System Performance in an Application Service Provider (ASP) Envimoment. This thesis contends that High Availability and Scalability are becoming increasingly important components of overall system architectures. For many, application performance and cost-effective scalable platform configurations are emerging as the distinguishing features for software solutions. The function of most products is well understood, and well documented. The ASP innovation of hosting the application and making it available to end-users via the Internet, relies heavily on scalability and availability considerations in order to deliver a service with sufficiently high performance levels. This research project then, investigates the current state of Application Service Provision, and proposes a framework for Availability, Scalability and System Performance that can be used by ASPs going forward. Furthermore, an ASP prototype solution (Billing4Rent) provides the platform on which recommendations arising from this research were implemented and quantified.
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