Something you may have heard lately is the phrase “hosted software.” What exactly does this mean? How is it different than regular software? This article will try to explain hosted software and some of its benefits over traditional off the shelf software.
Traditional Software Production
We should start by explaining how regular off the shelf software gets to your computer. First programmers write code. This gets turned into a CD, which you could use to install the software. This CD is then replicated and packaged at a large manufacturing plant. The finished software packages are shipped to various stores through a distribution network. Once at the store, you can go buy the software and take it home or to work. The software then needs to be installed on your computer. Finally with the software installed you can begin to use it. Typically you don’t think about the steps that happen before the software gets to the store, however each of these steps is quite costly. Those costs must be paid for, by you, when buying off the shelf software.
Most things you purchase are physical, and must use a similar process. A new shirt must go from the cotton plant, to the factory, to the store, and all the many steps in between. On the other hand, with software things change quite a bit. No longer are we limited by physical constraints. Thanks to the Internet digital information, such as email and software, can flow freely.
Hosted Software Production
Hosted Software starts the same way, with programmers writing code. Instead of creating a Software CD for production, the software is installed directly onto a server. A server is a computer that is given a specific task such as running a website, or in this case running software for you. Just as you would use a website, you can now use the software that is running on the server. So hosted software is simply software running on a special server that you use from your computer.