Why Buy the Cow? is a book by Subrah Iyar, co-founder and general manager of WebEx, that sets out to explain the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) movement and Web 2.0. The title refers to an analogy used to describe the new generation of software vendors who, in effect, sell milk instead of forcing customers to buy cows to milk themselves.
Appropriately, I was pleased to discover (here), this book about web-based collaboration and software resulted from the collaborative efforts of multiple contributors and editors using a wiki and numerous web meetings. It’s even published on-demand by lulu.com.
Since I’m in a commenting mood…this is interesting, and I’ve read other books like it that don’t pertain to software. Ther are some very valid points. At the same time, having developed and service a lot of software for construction, the problem is customers don’t mind buying the cow, if it let’s them have milk anywhere anytime. But what they don’t want to buy is the farm or have to go to the farm each time for a drink that tastes the same. SaaS is one method of not buying the cow, but you are buying the farm and the milk with limited options. With my developer hat on, what needs to happen is software needs an easier method of portable deployment. It actually needs a reliable cow for sale. So if your able to move the milk around, wherever you want, in a cow that is very reliable, then it’s fine to own the cow. Wthout putting the cart before the horse, lol, I think your virtualization vendors are going to help solve thus with hypervidors and things like OVF containers.