Jelastic keeps growing and transforming its product and business model. The community of our customers and partners spread around the world getting new faces and becoming even closer with longtimers. So today we’d like to recall what were the initial steps while creating the company and building the business strategy, as well as to share how the product developed during its lifetime, what users and partners problems the platform currently solves and how it is recognized by the community and market thought-leaders.
Where We Started. Core Objectives and Driving Force
Own experience showed 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 VPS to a cluster of instances with horizontal scaling and high availability.
Jelastic team built the initial prototype for 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, especially for Java:
- Too complex to manage, because there are so many different implementations of Java application servers, a huge number of libraries and configuration 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 anymore.
Another major issue in traditional hosting was a huge churn and migration from VPS and shared hosting to automated and managed modern clouds. Also, for smaller hosting companies it became even more difficult to survive on the market due to high competition from cloud giants with advanced technologies.
We decided to solve these problems and made crucial decisions:
- focus initially 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 utilization and replicating the initially built automation for various additional programming languages, such as PHP and Node.js
- target customers through the channel of local hosting service providers with their existing infrastructure and support
How We Grew. Main Improvements of the Product
Jelastic was founded in early 2011 and from the very beginning we positioned ourselves as a pure Java platform but step by step we’ve added support for PHP, Ruby, Node.js, Python and Go. This enables developers to deploy, scale and manage a wide range of applications in the cloud.
At the same time, we still maintain a major focus on Java programming language. The maturity and innovations of the platform technology was recognized by Java community with Duke’s Choice Award already twice (in 2012 and 2018). And Jelastic keeps working on improvements of JVM behavior during variable workloads for making resource consumption more cost-efficient while running in cloud hosting environments. We prototyped and sponsored development of a patch to OpenJDK which improves elasticity and enables automated vertical scaling of Java applications. The offered solution is already implemented in the OpenJDK 12.
From the beginning of the project, our platform was built to support containerization. So when Docker technology evolved, we already had a strong expertise in this sphere and seamlessly added support for the Docker сontainers within our platform. And recently, we also added Kubernetes cluster to the product line considering high demand from customers.
We’ve always worked with end users through hosting service vendors – never selling our own hardware but partnering with infrastructure service providers worldwide. Using this unique model we’ve managed to offer Jelastic as a public cloud in about 30 countries. We have also introduced a private cloud offering, and our platform can be now installed on premise or as a virtual private cloud on any IaaS. And finally, we moved to hybrid and multi-cloud options, so our customers can mix and match different cloud combinations and vendors managing multiple regions within a single panel.
The key ingredient of a solid multi-cloud strategy is the abstraction. Organizations need a governance layer which can provide this complete abstraction from the unique functionality of different cloud vendors and enable cloud-agnostic implementation without extra complexity. Such converging point between the company and clouds should be either aware of all cloud specifics, or combine standardized services from the required clouds and provide missing functionality based on the company needs. Jelastic multi-cloud management platform provides the required level of interoperability to ease the entry point and eliminate complicated processes throughout the project lifecycle.
What We Solve. Real-Life Challenges of Developers and Service Providers
Freedom of choice is the core idea 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.
ISVs and developers can deploy and run different applications almost instantly on Jelastic, with no code changes. The deployment can be easily performed using GIT/SVN with automatic updates, pre-packaged applications from marketplace, archives (zip, war, ear) right from the dev panel, built-in plugins for Maven or integrated popular IDEs.
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) without need to reserve them in advance. 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, automatic vertical scaling feature makes the cloud resource consumption really elastic and efficient.
Jelastic facilitates the process of reaching high availability and high performance by transforming the complex task that requires deep expertise to a simple automated step. Clusterization is an obligatory requirement for productions with high load and high uptime requirements (for example, for e-commerce projects). However, the configuration of a reliable cluster is not a trivial task even for experienced developers and system administrators. So Jelastic introduced out-of-the-box clustering to ensure that applications are highly available and scalable horizontally by default.
In addition, Jelastic created a marketplace of certified software stacks and popular applications that are optimized for scaling and high-availability (the most notable and popular are Enterprise WordPress and Magento Packs, Database-as-a-Service, Kubernetes-as-a-Service, and others). Such clustered solutions can be installed just in a click, so there is no need to waste time on servers configuration or complex setup of interconnections between cluster instances. Custom applications can be also packaged by users with the help of Cloud Scripting technology.
Our self-service portal with user-friendly UI includes an intuitive application topology wizard, deployment manager, access to log and config files and a marketplace with prepackaged applications and functionality for team collaboration. SSH Gateway is available for the direct access to the containers. Also, the Jelastic API and command-line interface (CLI) are open for automation of advanced CI and CD pipelines.
Some organizations need to keep data locally, inside the country to comply with different regulation laws. Jelastic partners with service providers across the globe for customers to be able to choose data center in the needed region to meet the requirements of the data protection rules.
Considering service providers, Jelastic is a ready-to-go cloud business platform for them. We let hosting providers differentiate among competitors by selling full-featured PaaS, Docker hosting, Kubernetes clusters, auto-scalable Elastic VPS and a wide variety of packaged clustered solutions (like Magento, WordPress, replicated SQL and NoSQL databases, etc) to their customers. Also, we provide all the needed tools to manage the platform, support customers, and monitor ROI growth.
For small service providers, we have a special reselling offer, so they can start the business even without own hardware or big budget for a full installation. They can get a separate region from already existing Jelastic service provider with the preferable location. As a result, they will get access to this specific region, ability to whitelabel this platform and sell under its own brand. Also, such smaller companies can focus on specific niche with our clustered solutions packaged for automated installation. For example, they can start offering managed WordPress hosting providing end customers with the required support and customizations.
How We Are Recognized. Awards and Mentions
Jelastic team is always pleased to be recognized as an industry leader: Duke Choice Technology Leader Award, Cloud Service Provider of the Year at Datacloud Awards, one of the major Public Cloud Development Platforms according to Forrester, etc.. These awards demonstrate innovation and sustainability of the product, and makes us more visible to the potential partners and clients.