Software vendor, SaaS or IaaS - doesn’t matter which. Platform.sh really is the killer app for you!

Kieron Sambrook-Smith
25 May 2016

“Really ?” I hear you asking yourself. “Hell yeah” I say….after all, we are helping global software companies into the cloud, we are giving hyperscaling hosters the ‘fast growth sizzle’ they’re looking for, and we are opening up new channels to bigger markets for SaaS providers.

Your next question of course is “Sounds too good to be true, you need to tell me how”, so here goes…

SaaS vendors are creating whole new channels to market - Let’s start with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), where one size actually does not fit all. For 10 years the multi-tenant SaaS model has been the best way to manage large numbers of customers with similar needs, but difficult to accommodate the edge case, or even entire sectors with a specific need. Making an application configurable for anything, AND uber extendable is pretty difficult, and so you just can’t accommodate everybody, and consequently there is always room for more vendors in the same space. However, in this day and age, it’s all about who can grow the fastest the quickest, and if you have something new and exciting, you need to reach out as far as you can, before the hard-to-reach corners of your market become occupied by copycats.

So how does Platform.sh change all that? Well, we allow founders, CTOs and the guys who actually have to design application architectures, to solve the problem of managing many potential variations of their SaaS offering. If you can keep control of the base copy (in the Drupal world they call this a ‘distribution’), then you can give it to partners who specialise in their chosen sector (retail, finance or manufacturing for example) to enhance and deploy to the end client. And at the same time you are able to update the global customer base with security fixes and generic feature changes all at once, and with no risk. Attention all SaaS vendors not yet thinking about the possibilities a whole new tier of development agencies could bring your business. You should start to do so, because the copycats already are, and they’re calling it “a new business model”.

Software vendors who want to do ‘The Cloud’ properly - Some of us have tried it already (I speak from experience), some of us have failed (luckily not), and everybody else has thought about it seriously. For those of us selling licenced copies of our application, it really is the wild west out there. Customers do all sorts of strange things to make it work the way they want, especially in the open-source world. Mostly, you can’t even see what they’re doing, so how is it cost effective to offer them all 1) help resolving problems they created in the first place, 2) generic feature updates, or 3) protection against zero-day exploits and so on? It’s not cost-effective, unless you charge them a great deal of money, which of course they’d rather be spending on something else. Some of them begrudgingly pay up, and some go down a different route and suffer accordingly.

However, if you can apply those same Platform.sh principles around controlling the core code - because it sits within your brand new cloud offering - then you can update it without risk, and let anybody buy it and make it fit-for-purpose. “Wow, another new business model!” I hear you say. And you’d be right, because until now, the only other way to do this safely was build a multi-tenant SaaS, where of course one size does not fit all.

Hosting vendors, even those with an IaaS offering - If you’re selling commodity hosting, you have to differentiate in some way, or struggle with margins. The usual answer - if you can - is to find large sums of money to build an IaaS. Or… leapfrog the competition and white-label our PaaS. Platform.sh is a PaaS that sits on (OpenStack etc.) and automates all your worries away. Much faster application development velocity plus zero systems administration for your customers, and a much smaller operations teams for you. Just go sell the sizzle, pretty compelling huh? And for all you hyper-scalers out there, acquiring market share and better access to the new ecosystems seems to be a strong driving force here.

So what’s our secret sauce ? The latest code management, lifecycle automation and containerisation technologies are critical ingredients, mixed in with Platform.sh (our very own second-generation PaaS) to keep code, files, services and data in lock-step through the development and deployment process - no application failures, no performance problems, no downtime. So, that’s all I’m prepared to say for now, aside from this powerful combination of clever ideas and technology seems to be unlocking enormous amounts of technical and business potential amongst our very loyal customer base, which incidentally numbers 2,500 SMEs in the 2 years since launch. To find out more just contact us or [me directly] (kieron@platform.sh).

By the way, if you are wondering who these large customers are, the list is as long as my arm (well down to my elbow anyway). Just so you don’t think we’re showing off, I’ll name the two you know best: Magento Commerce and Microsoft Azure :). Need I say more.