Given the fact that the launch of the next generation of Click&Go services is near, I think it is the right moment to share with you what we are trying to achieve and the problems we are trying to resolve with it.
As some of you may know, we earlier made an attempt to have a partially automated “platform” for our customers with more modest needs like single servers and with option for self-management. At that moment, we considered that the best way to achieve this would be through a partnership with an able third-party provider. So, we integrated a white-label “application supermarket platform” with multi-cloud capabilities and hundreds of applications supported. However, it failed to work for us. The reasons were:
- Performance: Performance cannot be traded for extra but unhelpful features.
- Bloated processes: Backups or restores were too heavy and took too long.
- Too much choice: This can be bad some times.
- Operational difficulties: There was a lack of visibility into the whole network.
While our relatively lesser automated but extremely streamlined Power Cloud service continued to flourish, our Click&Go v1.0 was advancing sluggishly while requiring substantial efforts. Therefore, we decided to progressively build our Click&Go platform by utilizing the experience we were raking up through our Power Cloud service.
Given the blazing fast nature of the Cloud industry, all these changes occurred just 3 months ago.
Click&Go: A Power-Packed Promise
At Cloudways, we believe in providing ease to our customers. With the all-new Click&Go, they will now have the power to choose. While our Power Cloud service is for robust cloud performance, there are many who have simple needs. Click&Go will provide the same robust performance for which Cloudways is known for, at an affordable price. Now, let us review the key ingredients of the upcoming Click&Go service.
The clear success behind Power Cloud is its solid performance. It plays a vital part in our formula of success. We believe that if you can’t offer good performance, then you are a failure. That is why performance is at the heart of everything we do. Drawing from our extensive experience with real world customers, we have developed an extremely optimized web stack. This web stack is optimized for the Cloud environments and is extremely important for any cloud migration to succeed.
Convenience is our motto. This is what we have always been trying to provide and it is something that truly creates value.
So, what does convenience mean? To put it simply: Building something that adjusts with you and covers as many of your needs as possible as opposed to something that you need to adjust with. This is the problem with many modern PaaS offerings as my partner Aaqib Gadit very eloquently exposed in a recent article. Many PaaS offerings are no more than rigid enclosures into which you must fit, so a standardized (and sometimes very good) product can be offered to the masses. This may be good for some people but it is not good for everyone.
However, we try to address convenience in two ways through Click&Go:
- Getting as close as we can to pure infrastructure (IaaS). This simply means that we offer dedicated cloud servers with all their freedom and flexibility. There shall be no high layers of abstraction compromising your control as we think the modern visualization comes with an adequate level of abstraction. This, when paired with cutting edge automation, configuration and orchestration tools, will enable you to easily manage a huge farm of individual servers. DevOps will therefore be a savior! The fabric that ties the new Click&Go service and provides the “platform” to offer additional services to our customers (in other words, convenience) comprises of a set of amazing DevOps tools. These simple, yet extremely powerful tools allow us to have a global vision of resources and services while allowing each customer to have his very own small, customized world.
- We address convenience in a unique way. We have observed that people do not just need a good managed hosting provider. They need more than that and we saw this early during our Power Cloud service evolution. They need mail services, they want to know how much concurrent users their site can handle, they desire to get PCI compliance, they need best-of-the-breed DNS services, and they may want a thorough security review of their site. This is the kind of convenience people desire and this is exactly what we stands for. After seeing a great demand for these services, we introduced a set of useful add-ons for our Power Cloud clients. This spirit of providing convenience will continue as our new Click&Go service starts to establish its ground.
We are certainly not in a hurry as we want to listen to our clients once our new service starts taking its baby step. Therefore, we will commence our operation with a few apps (and not hundreds); the ones that we have gained more experience in our PowerCloud environment—and for that we have built a perfect cloud stack.
Staying true to the spirit of simplicity, we will begin Click&Go with one cloud provider, i.e. Amazon Web Services. Though we can deploy our services on other cloud providers, but AWS provides the best cloud hosting experience. We believe in keeping it sophisticated and simple. This is why we will take one step at a time.
For this tricky, yet crucial part, we needed an approach that allowed both low-level customization and high-level configuration and orchestration. We didn’t want to surrender flexibility for our customers in order to achieve visibility and control over the whole network. With so many tools and approaches and ways to achieve this (where many are bound to fail), it was a daunting task.
We finally made the decision and are pretty confident of having chosen the right one. While a master-less puppet approach gives us a bottleneck-free way of configuring thousands of standalone servers, mcollective gives us the necessary “network sense” to be able to link the custom local server world with the standard global network one. Surely, this is paired with other tools for monitoring and logging. Therefore, the popular Linux philosophy of “the right tool for the right job” is applied.
As aforementioned, all-new Click&Go will be for clients with more basic needs. These clients are different from the ones who come with to us with problems related to our fully managed (and more expensive) Power Cloud service. For such customers, we provide solutions like auto-scaling, disaster recovery, high availability, etc. What we did not want to do was to cut the wings of clients implementing their ideas on top of Click&Go when their ideas grow and succeed. For this we have designed a seamless upgrade path from Click&Go to PowerCloud. It is glitch-free because the underlying tools are the same for both platforms. This will open the door for Click&Go clients to a new level of service which will cater their growing business needs; all within a similar environment, dealing with the same people, and with the same core values of convenience and performance.
All in all, what you have read portrays our implementation plan that we have devised after learning some very important lesson from the feedback and experiences shared by our clients. Indeed, not everyone is in the need of a managed service or a customized environment. We understand that there are many who are capable of DIY (doing it yourself) in a standardized and streamlined PaaS.
However, the truth is that there remains a large chunk which prefers a more tailored approach. These people do not have the time and skill to run a PaaS environment. Moreover, there are some people who are looking for something different. We are catering to the latter two kinds of people. We believe that is our niche. So, if you match the picture, do give us a chance!
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Pere Hospital (CISSP & OSCP) is the CTO and co-founder of Cloudways Ltd. He has over two decades of experience in IT Security, Risk Analysis and Virtualization Technologies. You can follow Pere on Twitter at @phospital and read his blog at www.perehospital.cat