When Webscale was founded in 2013, the question of whether or not the public cloud was the natural home for ecommerce was still a hotly debated topic. Today, that argument is over, and the cloud won!
For many, the next topic for discussion is whether or not to go the DIY route (managing your cloud infrastructure with an in-house team) or to employ the services of a provider who specializes in managing cloud infrastructure on behalf of their customers. Providers of this nature are certainly not all created equal, but we'll come to that in a bit.
There is no disagreement that DIY offers you total control over your cloud hosting and application lifecycle. Still, the cost savings are potentially more a perception than a reality for many.
To successfully carry out a DIY approach in the public cloud, IT teams at merchant organizations need the skill set and training to manage complex infrastructure and a multitude of integrations, not to mention the ecommerce application expertise to tie it all together. Above all, the organizational leadership will require considerable bandwidth to focus on cloud strategy as much as the core business strategy needed to succeed as an online business.
To put this into context, managing your infrastructure means you will be entirely responsible for knowing how to leverage the immense resources of the public cloud – tools, services, and add-on solutions.
You will have a la carte/bundled security and performance optimization products, potentially priced at a high premium. How will you compare these with other solutions in the market if they fail to meet your expectations and make the right procurement decisions? Regarding support, your cloud provider will not have any application-specific expertise, so support tickets may take time to resolve and impact your customer experience.
Monitoring traffic and security incidents, backups, and disaster recovery, tracking compliance, scaling and optimizing your cloud infrastructure as your business grows, and keeping your web application(s) patched and secure. Everything will fall on your shoulders.
It's a lot, so before deciding to embark on the DIY track, you need to ask yourself:
- Does my business have a dedicated IT team of cloud experts? Do they require training on the public cloud? How long would it take to train them, and how much will it cost?
- As the business grows, what if we develop a need to have applications in different public clouds? How do I decide which solutions to procure for enhanced security and performance?
- If technical support is not as responsive as the business would like it to be, who can offer timely help?
Choosing the right cloud provider – typically AWS, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or Microsoft Azure – requires experience and in-depth knowledge of their computing, storage, security, database services, pricing model, bundling, and more. As a result, many merchants may struggle to decide which is best suited to their business, opting for the best brand and most popular among their peers.
Once you have decided on your public cloud provider, migrating your application is not an overnight exercise. It requires careful planning and resources to avoid unplanned downtime and loss of revenue and reputation. Depending on the complexity of your web application(s), migration can face numerous obstacles and consume both time and resources.
If this all sounds challenging, it's because it is. While many enterprise-class ecommerce brands have been successful, they have the resources and budget to allocate. Small to mid-size merchants are more likely to employ the services of cloud delivery or hosting partner services.
If that provider is cloud-agnostic and able to deploy anywhere, they can recommend a cloud provider based on your specific needs, geographies, etc. They will also support the migration and ongoing management of your cloud infrastructure. The digital agency you worked with to build your site is typically an excellent resource to consult when considering your options here.
Webscale manages thousands of ecommerce storefronts, across many cloud providers, in more than 12 countries. As a result, we ensure that our customers never have to worry about their infrastructure. Instead, they get to focus on growing their business.
We have redefined cloud migration with a new standard for simplicity and predictability. Our migration process is unique in that it manages application configuration, network requirements, instance details, and the overall deployment and maintenance discipline as a 100% software-defined infrastructure.
That's a mouthful, but it means that with these highly defined DevOps workflows, we can move cloud migrations from months to weeks, even days if needed, depending on the project size.