With more and more companies depending on externalized IT systems, the demand for cloud providers is growing exponentially. According to a prediction made by Gartner’s, the investment for cloud adoption in 2022 reached a staggering amount of $482B. Hence, it is not surprising that for majority of the businesses, cloud platforms have become a necessity rather than an option. As a result of this high demand for cloud platforms, businesses today have a wide range of cloud platform options to choose from. But in order to truly achieve their desired success, businesses must know how to choose the right cloud infrastructure. This is especially true for SaaS start-ups, because many of them often struggle to find the right solution to enhance their product/service offering.
In this post, we will take a look at the top seven factors that you need to consider while choosing the right cloud infrastructure for your SaaS start-up. We will also briefly take a look at how to assess your cloud needs and some of the various cloud infrastructure options available in the market.
Assessing your Cloud Needs
Before you zero in on the cloud platform for your business, you need to look at some basic criteria. The answers to these questions will help you determine whether you need to opt for a public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid model.
- Type of data to be stored – The type of data that you wish to collect and store will largely determine what type of cloud platform you need. If your data includes sensitive personal information, then you must look for private cloud services. But, if it is generic data, then a public cloud service will suffice.
- Software to be stored – The next criteria to focus on is what type of software you wish to store on the cloud. This depends upon your industry and business. Based on the software you wish to store, you can opt for public, private, or hybrid cloud solution.
- Business size – You must choose a cloud service that suits your business size and can accommodate your needs as the business grows. You also need to have a clear idea of how many people and devices will be connected.
- Budget – If you are not willing to invest too much, then you can check out some of the free public cloud services. Although private cloud services may cost you a fortune, they are worth the investment due to all the security features they offer which you will not find in public cloud services.
Cloud Infrastructure Options
Businesses today have the option to choose from several cloud infrastructure options, such as:
- Cloud Virtual Machines (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Serverless (Function as a Service) (FaaS)
- Low Code
- Kubernetes (K8) (Container Orchestration)
- Zero Code
7 Factors for Consideration
Here are the top seven factors that have an impact on the infrastructure of a SaaS application.
- Administration Overhead – The first factor to consider is the administration aspect, i.e., how well can the business manage the cloud infrastructure, how much manpower is required on a day-to-day basis, can the product be scaled in future, etc. If the product requires lot of customizations, then it will also need to be deployed multiple times. This means that he infrastructure admins will need to put in more time and efforts. For early-stage products, the ROI may not be very profitable. In such cases, it is recommended to for a PaaS infrastructure and FaaS for compute.
- Time to Market (TTM) – Fast development, testing, and release are the top three keys for a quick TTM. In such cases, focusing on coding and testing can lead to fast development to release in stead of focusing on provisioning and deployments. For such products, low code and no-code platforms are a good option.
- Agility – The next factor to consider is product agility. From amount of customization to new business needs to major changes to horizontal/vertical shifts, there are a lot of aspects that businesses need to consider. For example, if you are building a multi-tenant system with different customizations for different tenants, then you need to have an infrastructure in place which does not have to be changed for each and every request. So, it is recommended to opt for Serverless infrastructure for data services and for applications, FaaS or Serverless will get the job done.
- Control – The amount of control you will have over the infrastructure is very important. As a business, you will need more control if:
- There are several apps, databases, and services.
- You have a system where you need to set up hardware for your client.
- You either need to isolate runtime or data, or both for your tenants.
- You have an online service or API; your focus is to save your customers’ license, hardware, and administrative costs.
Although the best way to gain maximum control is through a physical machine or your own rack, it is not the preferred method today. Hence, it is recommended to opt for high-end dedicated instances. In such cases, from a long-term control point of view, it is best to opt for Kubernetes and avoid low-code, no-code, and Serverless platforms as they provide the least amount of control.
- Cost – Cost is without a doubt one of the most important factors to consider. Although early cost estimates may not be possible, there are some steps that you can take. For example, you need to avoid any fixed costs as much as possible, figure out break-even points, avoid premature optimization, etc. Another recommended tip is to opt for pay-as-you-go subscription and then scale up as per the business needs.
- Migration – Since the market always has newer and better cloud offerings, businesses should pay close attention to the migration factor. In some cases, you may have to migrate based on what your customer wants. So, ensure that you are opting for a cloud infrastructure that offer seamless migration.
- Integration – For SaaS start-ups, the integration aspect of their cloud infrastructure is absolutely crucial. You need to ensure that your infrastructure is fast, consistent, and reliable. Auto-scaled Kubernetes nodes and Serverless infrastructure are great options. If you wish to go ahead with a cloud-virtual machine instance, then be prepared to put in some time and effort in automating provisioning.
With such wide array of options available, it can a tad bit difficult for SaaS start-ups to determine and choose their desired cloud infrastructure. Ideally, it is best to look for Kubernetes which offer maximum control, cost optimization, integration, and future migration – all of them with minimal efforts. The next best option would be cloud virtual machines. It is recommended to avoid low code and no-code platforms as they are not very favorable in the long run, especially in terms of infrastructure costs, IT administration costs, and licensing costs.