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Four foundational principles that guide SaaS architecture for TAFE

When discussing what SaaS architecture will work, it’s often not useful to make direct server to server comparisons. As any IT team working in TAFE will know, it’s not that helpful because every application a TAFE utilises has its own unique set of trade-offs and own use cases. 


But it can be useful to consider guiding principles. Most modern SaaS companies make use of a few architecture principles. They ensure things like system availability, resilience, speed of service, and other factors that support business sustainability and user experience. 


As broad principles, ReadyTech considers the below as guiding principles for our development. 


1. Cattle not pets 


The need for scale has driven a move away from treating servers like individual ‘pets’ - with all of the problems that high touch approach can come with, like the burden of special physical hardware configuration for a server – towards treating servers like ‘cattle’. 


Modern SaaS infrastructure treats arrays of largely interchangeable servers consistently without specific configuration for individual servers and manages them on an infrastructure as code basis. This means consistent configuration, reliable deployment and scalable architectures. 


2. Multi-availability zone 


Rather than relying on a single physical location (with the risk it contains for the continuity of a TAFE’s data), the multi-availability zone approach houses data in multiple locations, so it can survive even a total failure or disaster in one zone – a very rare event in itself. 


For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) divides its regions into Availability Zones, each with its own power, cooling and network connectivity. This creates  'isolated failure domains’ that safeguard systems that are running workloads in more than one Availability Zone. 


3. Scalable architecture 


Architecture scalability is an important consideration for TAFEs who want to ensure they can grow and have their infrastructure capacity met consistently, regardless of the demands or traffic that they (or pools of customers using on the same shared remote services) have.


SaaS solutions can scale horizontally on the front end dynamically as user demand requires. This means more machines are effectively made available as necessary and work together to support demand growth. As a result, scalability limits will never be reached by a TAFE. 


4. Measure service health, not server health 


Monitoring server health can provide some important data for a SaaS provider, but it really is just a fraction of the picture. Instead, it’s more useful to monitor the services running a SaaS system for their health and responsiveness to ensure a good user experience is maintained. 


SaaS principles for the future of TAFE 


TAFEs are increasingly choosing true cloud SaaS to support their modern requirements and better student experiences into the future. The above four principles will be underpinning service promises to TAFE teams who are moving to the cloud now and into the future. 


Find out more about how ReadyTech supports TAFEs with next generation student management technology. Click here