How Many Servers Does It Take to… ?

Frankly, I couldn’t care less. Nor do your customers.

Today, technology and mobility open the door to a great many novel ideas. Some are temporary distractions but many do solve real problems for which customers are willing to pay.

However, the ability to create and deploy software is now much easier and moving towards becoming a commodity. What used to take 18 months and a team of 25 highly qualified developers just a few years ago can now be accomplished by one or two individuals from their dorm room.

The Cloud has certainly lowered the barrier of entry by doing away with a CapEx model, the need for an operations team and procurement lead times. But something else is the real game changer and it’s the immediate access to software building blocks that allow anyone to build a solution through the aggregation of existing parts.

The heavy lifting of a geo-localized app is simply provided by Google. You need social integrations? Just leverage any of the big networks APIs. You get one-click deployments to Amazon AWS. You’ve created the next mobile sensation? Let Apple and Google app stores instantly distribute it worldwide.

And if that was not enough, most if not all of these enabling technologies and frameworks are available for free to get you off the ground. This phenomenon is also known as ‘The Race to Zero’. You won’t pay a dime unless your product becomes successful, at which point it won’t be a problem to pay these providers.

Offloading Responsibilities

Totally novel ideas are few. Most will be a variation on a previous proposition. The field is so crowded that to get the spotlight, the newcomer needs to really stand out. And that takes a lot of thinking and designing. That’s a lot of time right there…

If you’re to do it alone or with a really small team, all of your energy needs to be focussed on what makes you different. That’s why you should consider taking advantage of everything that’s already out there. Even if there is the temptation to say it doesn’t do exactly what you want, 80% should be good enough as a starting point. Until you have so many users that the missing 20% is hurting you, just use what is immediately available.

This will leave you with enough throughput to really work on what it is you are proposing that is really important.

The brainCloud Accelerator

Cost savings are great, but time to market is king!

The Cloud can certainly accelerate execution but, today an almost unfair advantage lies in building your solution off a generic backend platform. Backend as a Service (BaaS) has initially been associated to client-side oriented apps such as games or social networks extensions. The approach took off rapidly as these segments tend to be under intense pressure to deliver innovation and do it quickly.

In the enterprise space, introducing a new commodity into your development toolkit is often seen as a tradeoff between acceleration and risks. I am willing to rely on outside help but credibility is key.

I see platforms like brainCloud as the next logical step after PaaS products like Google App Engine.

brainCloud backend services support gamification out of the box and other advanced features that can get you out of the gates really fast. Even if you are building an enterprise or a traditional consumer application, today many aspects of user engagement can be mapped onto gaming concepts. And this is where brainCloud shines.

If some features cannot fit directly into the brainCloud BaaS, or if your application outgrows some of its capabilities, it’s easy to extend the platform as they provide all the necessary hooks as lifecycle events. They are also running inside Amazon AWS, which just gives me the urge to use brainCloudas the front-end orchestration to a micro-services based architecture.

A thriving community around a common solution also provides for an acceleration factor where you can profit from contributed services, extensions and shared experiences.

I believe the DRY principle (Don’t Repeat Yourself) strongly applies here. And it just makes good business sense.

Am I willing to put that strategic enterprise app on a BaaS right now? Maybe not. But I’m totally ready to use this new commodity for a lot of smaller, shorter lived or non mission critical solutions. I’m also convinced that BaaS platforms will become the new norm faster than you can code yet another login screen.

Remy Gendron.jpeg

 

by Rémy Gendron, founder at INGENO

Learn more about us, how we build software and how we help companies deliver business value at ingeno.ca.