Freedom of choice, automation and personal approach to each client - three main pillars that help Jelastic cloud business stand out at the continuously developing IT market. HostingAdvice.com talked to Jelastic CEO to find out more details about company business formation, trends that influenced technology choice, and factors that made the product competitive. Below you can find a full interview with Ruslan Synytsky to get a better understanding of Jelastic aims, achievements and upcoming plans.
What was going on in the market when Jelastic launched and what were the goals for differentiation?
While working on different projects, I noticed that companies spend a massive amount of human resources on the configuration of application servers and databases, ongoing maintenance of the infrastructure, security updates and, of course, architecture modernization when the project is growing, for example, going from standalone to a cluster mode.
We built the initial prototype for our own needs and then figured out that there is a high demand for such a solution among other developers. At that time in 2010 it was an early stage of PaaS adoption, so the choice was limited. The market had a good offering for Ruby from Heroku, but it was difficult to provide PaaS for Java due to a variety of reasons:
- Too complex to manage, because there are so many different implementations of Java application servers, a huge number of libraries and options to go with. Multiply it on the choice of possible databases people use and it gets even more complicated. As a result, the level of the support team should be advanced and thus more expensive.
- Too heavy (consumes a lot of RAM) to make its usage cheap or at least cost-effective for startups, small projects, SMBs. Initially, Java was not designed for elastic environments, as a result, it reserved resources even if they’re not needed at the moment.
Another major issue, which we discovered in traditional hosting, is a migration of customers from self-managed infrastructure to automated managed clouds. Also, for smaller hosting companies it became even more difficult to enter the market due to a high competition from cloud giants with advanced technologies.
We decided to solve these problems and made crucial decisions:
- focus on Java to solve the complexity of its servers management and make Java hosting cost efficient
- use containers as underlying virtualization layer for increasing efficiency of resource usage and replicating the initially built automation for various programming languages
- target customers through the channel of local hosting service providers with their existing infrastructure and support
As a result, in early 2011 Jelastic was founded as a pure Java platform (“Jelastic” is the acronym of Java and elastic). And eventually, we’ve added support for PHP, Ruby, Node.js, Python, .NET and Go.
Considering the network of service providers, we started with two (in the USA and Germany), and currently grew up to 60 data centers in 28 countries.
Can you identify any trends or challenges your team has had to stay ahead of to remain competitive?
Throughout the development of our PaaS solution, we witnessed increasing interest in container technology and multi-cloud availability. And some of our initial architectural decisions made it easy for us to keep up with the modern trends:
- From the very start, we built Jelastic on top of containers (Virtuozzo), so when Docker technology evolved, we already had substantial expertise in this sphere and smoothly integrated this standard into the platform.
- Initially, Jelastic was created as a platform for service providers to offer public cloud and managed services around it. But considering that it could be easily installed on bare metal or any IaaS, we coped to launch private and hybrid cloud options rather fast. Afterward, some technical adjustments and partnership with globally known cloud vendors helped us to provide a multi-cloud implementation.
Your solutions cover a broad range of needs — from cloud hosting and managed PaaS for businesses to Docker and Java hosting solutions for developers. Is there an underlying tenet connecting all of your services that attracts and retains customers?
Freedom of choice is the core tenet that goes throughout the whole Jelastic technology and ecosystem. Customers can choose between various solutions and services, ways of management, hardware and its location to host the data, cloud hosting providers to get support and so on. They are not stuck to a single vendor, and as Bruno Souza (Brazilian JavaMan, Jelastic advisor, and user) told once - “the freedom of leaving gives me willing to stay.”
One of the distinctive features I’m especially proud of is automatic vertical scaling. Many companies don’t do routine checks to see how much capacity they are using, so in most cases, they are overpaying for resources that never get used.
We implemented a unique ability to get the required number of resources (RAM and CPU) on-the-fly. This is fully managed by the platform and performed automatically within the stated confines. In this way, customers won’t over-allocate beyond what is needed, especially during low-use or idle times. In combination with the pay-as-you-use pricing model, this feature makes the cloud resource consumption really efficient.
If you had to quantify the #1 benefit Jelastic delivers to businesses, what would it be?
Jelastic Multi-Cloud PaaS successfully combines several benefits increasing team productivity, saving time and money, as well as improving performance and security of users applications. This is a solution for ISVs, service providers, telcos, and enterprises needing to speed up development, reduce the cost of IT infrastructure, improve uptime and security. The platform automates creation, scaling, clustering and security updates of cloud-native and traditional applications with zero code changes required.
As you’re updating products, adding features, and putting new ideas into production, how much of the process and discussions are based around adapting to the newest trend and listening to customer feedback?
Our pipeline is always built based on customers and partners requests, as well as emerging solutions that most likely will be demanded by users in the near time. Currently, the platform is full of advanced features, and we give much attention to enhancing and polishing of already existing functionality. This makes existing users and partners happier. But at the same time, we understand the importance to keep up the pace with modern IT world, so as soon as we believe in a new rising technology, we try to come up with the appropriate solution.
What’s on the horizon? Is there anything coming down the pipeline that you’re personally excited about or anything you’d like to highlight from a marketing perspective?
As usual, Jelastic has a rich set of plans. Currently, we are actively working on enhancing and spreading scalable and clustered packages for businesses. Such popular applications as WordPress and Magento are already implemented and available for automatic installation. Further, we’ll make these solutions populated among hosting providers as an extra product line and a better way to provide managed services.
During the upcoming months, Jelastic is going to launch own version of managed Kubernetes hosting package available for automated installation across multiple clouds and on-premise with no vendor lock-in. The customers can start from one instance and grow up to thousands, manage the workloads via intuitive UI, as well as automate the DevOps processes with open API and Cloud Scripting. This solution also meets the needs of those who are interested in building managed hosting business around Kubernetes services.
In addition, we are working on self-deployment of the lightweight version of Jelastic PaaS. As a result, customers will be able to install the platform automatically on the hardware or the cloud of their choice. Among the first implementations, there will be installations on top of Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Digital Ocean.
Moreover, in the nearest time, we plan to launch the official release of Go language support extending the list of Java, PHP, Ruby, Node.js, Python and .Net.
Is there a company ideology you’re most proud of, or perhaps, a little-known fact about your team culture that contributes to your success as a brand?
Jelastic team is a cohesive family of professionals. I remember the days when we were staying for several nights or even all weekends in the office to complete some part of the work. From the very start, we were addicted to the happiness and satisfaction of our customers and partners. Currently, the team is growing and extending with new talented people, so I’m proud that we keep that initial dedication to the common goal. And it is always pleasant to get feedback from clients that we provide not only advanced technology but also an exclusive level of support.