Timely digitalization becomes a driving force while competing in modern business. But this process is not that simple, and McKinsey research tells that 70% of digital transformation initiatives don’t reach the stated goals. As a result, large companies with long history can easily fail in favor of “born digital” newcomers.
In order to successfully go through this complex and often daunting process, organizations often seek assistance from service providers experienced in this field, such as DATEA. On one hand, we consult and develop businesses focussing on organization, processes and digital transformation. On the other hand, we develop agile digital tools (software) that helps our customers to make their everyday business life easier. DATEA company is based in Villach in the south of Austria and targets the customers in different industries across Europe.
Below we will share the details on how our project works from a technical perspective, what hosting is used, and in what way Jelastic PaaS helps us to deliver services to our clients in a fast and high-quality manner.
Spring Boot and MySQL Backbone
Most of our projects follow the same system structure combining Java application servers (Spring Boot), HAProxy load balancers and MySQL databases.
As a database server, we mainly use MySQL CE. For future projects, we may consider switching to MariaDB, because it has some useful improvements compared to the MySQL CE server, and is fully compatible with it.
For web-applications, currently we exclusively use Spring Boot containers. All our production projects are running on Jelastic hosted Spring Boot servers connected to our databases. Additionally, several web-applications are using Rest-Interfaces to communicate with each other. For test projects or non-official releases, we use a small development environment where we run Spring Boot with .jar files and embedded Tomcat server.
All our production Spring Boot containers on Jelastic have a HAProxy load balancer. We use those load balancers to easily manage our SSL certificates with Let’s Encrypt and for internal domain routing to the right projects.
From software side, we use the following tools:
MySQL Workbench for managing our local databases
PHPMyAdmin for managing our hosted databases
IDE for Web-Applications: Visual Studio Code with Spring Boot plugins
IDE for Android / JavaFX: IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition
The main advantage of choosing Java for our environments is that it has a good connectivity and the possibility to present data on various platforms, like in no other programming language (platform-independent).
Our backend logic is running on several Spring Boot containers, which provide our frontends with data from databases.
As we are developing not only web-applications, but also Android and JavaFX applications (Linux, Windows, MacOS), choosing Java as our main programming language was the only rational consequence.
We can easily reuse code on all supported platforms. This makes it much easier to maintain and refactor our source code. Additionally, we can better focus on the programming part itself, because most of our developers are familiar with the basics of Java and we do not have to spend hours on training sessions for different programming languages.
By sticking to Java, we are able to improve our risk management, because we already have a very good expertise with Java projects and therefore we can better estimate the efforts and risks of different user stories.
For future projects, we may consider integrating Kotlin as a second programming language, because it could possibly simplify coding for us.
Cloud Platform Choice
Before we started using Jelastic, we had installed a very simple Tomcat server for running our Spring applications. As native Tomcat server without any other infrastructure has a very limited possibility for configuring and scaling single web-applications, we started searching for alternatives. We realised that by using Spring Boot instead of the plain old Spring we can provide working prototypes to our customers much faster.
Our main goal was to simplify the configuration, the maintenance and the deployment of our web-applications from the technical perspective. We searched through the internet for different possibilities to host our Spring Boot environments. Because there are already plenty of different cloud services, which all potentially fit our needs, we had to figure out which of them have the best price-performance.
The following benefits made us decide on Jelastic PaaS
The best point with Jelastic is that we have the possibility to choose between different hosting providers which offer Jelastic as a cloud service. This made it simple to compare different prices and test some of those environments before we had to go with one of them.
In order to evaluate performance and support, we use the following factors while choosing our providers:
Response Time to Tickets
Quality of Responses to Our Tickets
Downtimes while Running Projects
Scalability of Hosting
Documentation of the System
In our opinion, Jelastic makes it easy for providers to fulfil these factors and they can focus on the smooth operation of a data center.
As a result, currently we are running the applications across three Jelastic service providers. The reason of our multi-region hosting strategy is that we aim to have a zero-downtime for the projects even if there is any major problem in one of data centers. Our systems need to be available at any time, as well as a working backup system is more than essential. High-availability is the most important factor for most customers.
Hidora is the main Jelastic service provider we currently use and are very happy with. They offer great support and have a small productive team based in Switzerland. GDPR is no issue there and the data center is 100% Swiss based, which satisfies even the most critical customers as Switzerland is well known for high security standards. What absolutely makes us happy with Hidora is their way of satisfying customers – we are in good contact with the whole team and they support us whenever we need anything. High standard of support and transparency have been success factors for DATEA for years now, and we appreciate if our provider also represents these values. Our experience shows that if the support works flawless, the whole hosting works well.
MassiveGrid is our first fallback provider with data centers in the USA, the UK, Singapore and Germany. We are in the process of testing and setting up backup workloads on their infrastructure. So far there were no failures and we expect long-term partnership with good support.
MIRhosting is our second fallback provider. They have servers in the Netherlands and Russia. Their hosting cost is significantly lower compared to others, but the location of infrastructure and our need for more personalized support made us prefer other service providers for running production applications.
Considering price-performance ratio, a cheaper provider is needed for our test environments, as well as for fallback and backup environments. We want to be flexible in testing and be able to prioritize different applications. For example, internal projects are of lower priority and we can limit the resources and connected costs. In addition to automatic scaling and pay-per-use pricing model, this makes our development even more affordable and cost-efficient.
From a performance perspective, we are fine with all our providers – scalability is so easy in Jelastic that there should not be any issue.
Also, it was very important for us to have a provider, who takes care about the changes in the EU data privacy law and is compliant with the GDPR, as most of our customers store their data within European Union.
In conclusion, we’d like to highlight that Jelastic PaaS helps us to be in pace with fast changing technological world and satisfy our customers on their way to digitalization. Simplified cloud management lets us easily create an efficient digital operation across multiple projects, automation speeds up innovation and updates, while multi-region deployment ensures high-availability and opens new customer markets. As a result, the platform releases our time and budget for more business-oriented tasks and directions.