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SugarCRM's Latest Is 'SaaS in a Box'

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a wonderful model for enterprises and end users that don't want to deploy software on their own infrastructure. But what happens if you want to set up your own SaaS business and don't want to just pass of customers to a big SaaS vendor?

That's the general idea behind professional open source vendor SugarCRM's in development Sugar Data Center Edition (DCE). Sugar DCE enables SugarCRM partners to effectively have control of their own SugarCRM SaaS deployments. The new SugarCRM offering comes as both the CRM and SaaS marketplaces heat up with Salesforce.com and NetSuite pushing to grow share and revenues.

"What this is essentially is SaaS in a box," Martin Schneider Director of Product Marketing at SugarCRM told InternetNews.com. "It's packaging up our infrastructure and allowing our partners and our customers to take advantage of that to deal with multiple instances of Sugar from one centralized console."

SugarCRM already offers a SaaS offering called Sugar On Demand which is where the technologies for DCE were refined. The DCE version will enable third parties to do On Demand themselves with systems management, monitoring and provisioning tools for Sugar.

The DCE is a more viable approach to deploying multiple instances of Sugar than simply using virtualization according to Schneider. In a basic virtualization scenario a provider could simply clone an instance of Sugar and run it on multiple virtual machines. Schneider argued that Sugar DCE is a bit different. He explained that DCE includes subscription and license management tools as well as activity reports that are all customized for the needs of a Sugar deployment.

"If you're doing Sugar this takes the legwork out of it," Schneider said. "We've been building it for ourselves and this works. It's highly available and scalable."

Making more money

Fundamentally though, the Sugar DCE is about enabling the ecosystem of SugarCRM channel partners to make more money.

"I used to be an analyst and I'd see SaaS partners with Salesforce and NetSuite get a little bit of money up front but when they renew the vendor would come in and push them out," Schneider alleged. "We're not trying to do that, we want to give our partners the power to create highly verticalized and localized solutions so they can control more of the margin and more of the revenue over the lifecycle."

Schneider added that the benefit to SugarCRM is they get some of the license fee and the Sugar brand expands.

"With SaaS the vendor is also the service provider," Schneider said. "We're trying to let our partners be all of that."

The DCE itself is not Open Source, though Schneider noted that it will still benefit open source users. Schneider argued that a partner could just as easily deploy the community open source edition of SugarCRM as the commercial version. SugarCRM is available under a dual commercial and open source license model. Since the 5.0 version the open source license has been the GPL version 3.