What startup companies need first and most of all is one thing: sell their product.
If the product is not yet ready to sell, the startup must set its goal to finish developing it, so they put it on the market to bring in positive cash flow. They need to get their core business rolling, and cash flowing into the company. All else is subsidiary.
SEE ALSO: Top 3 PaaS Providers For Startups
The Ultimate Cloud Computing Stack Serves the Needs of Startups
If a startup needs to finish developing their product, they need the stack. If their product is ready to market, they need a website, a content management system and contact management system for their sales team.
And they need to access it quickly, easily and inexpensively.
That's the beauty of cloud computing for startups. In the old days they had to analyze their hardware needs and network needs, hire network engineers and systems administration, budget for servers, operating systems, databases and enterprise resource programs. It took a lot of time and money.
The Basic Cloud Computing Stack
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - hardware and operating system
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) - software development tools and operating systems
- Software as a Service (IaaS) - software program
The Infrastructure as a Service Layer
Hardware is expensive, and the network engineers and systems administrators who understand and maintain it even more expensive. Cloud service providers have lots of hardware. With the cloud, you take advantage of the economies of scale of their business model and rent their infrastructure. That means you're receiving full access to the servers as if they were your own physcial machines.
Services includes hosting your domain name server, load balancing and automating provisioning. You choose between HTTPS, TCP or HTTP. It handles the network and virtual machines.
You pay for access to IaaS by usage, like a utility. What you pay is a current expense. That's a big accounting difference between paying for physical servers to host everything yourself. That is a capital investment which the IRS and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles require you to depreciate over years.
With IaaS, you let the cloud provider worry about the physical equipment and ensuring uptime.
Another big advantage is scalability. As your business grows, you just use more IaaS computational power each month. You don't have to shop around to buy a new server. You automatically match your usage as your business needs more storage and bandwidth.
Platform as a Service Layer
A PaaS gives you the tools needs to scale, maintain, and deploy your applications without the hassle of dealing with server configuration. A PaaS serves a layer above the physical/virtual servers that allows for non operation people to own their own code as it moves through its lifecycle. This can greatly increase efficiency as developers spend less time worrying about infrastructure and more time focused on building better applications. Furthermore, developers are less reliant on operations to push their code through to production which can increase application velocity.
A PaaS is can also be delivered via webbrowser. Like IaaS, it's scalable. You use and pay for only what you need, and yet as your demands grow with your business, you use more. A good PaaS also has failover and load balancing baked in. PaaS also allows multiple users to access the tools at the same time, thereby supporting collaboration between members of development teams.
One example of a PaaS platform is Heroku, which uses Ruby on Rails to serve as a web development platform. Another is Apprenda, for Java and .NET.
Software as a Service Layer
These are programs which, like all cloud services, you lease, or pay a subscription fee for. The service is generally hosted by the provider, and you access it over the Internet. This allows for great flexibility. You and your team access your business from the office, at home, while eating dinner out, in an airport, from a hotel room in London or Tokyo or anywhere else with Wi-Fi. You can use your regular PC, a laptop, mobile phone or tablet.
The SaaS provider handles all the details, such as maintenance, security patches and upgrades. They support Application Programming Interfaces to integrate other software programs being utilized by the business.
SaaS is great but in some cases businesses are required to host certain programs and data in-house. This makes SaaS a non viable solution for many organizations that need their application and the data that lives within to be behind their own firewall.
Examples of common SaaS include your web hosting, email, Enterprise Resource Planning modules, customer relationship management, and web content management. That's all on the same utility or pay-as-you-go model. Start small, scale up as your business flourishes.
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