Hassle with Infrastructure When All You Want Is Creating A Great App
We are developers and have been using Heroku for deploying applications. It is a great concept in the sense that it save ourselves a lot of hassle in provisioning/managing infrastructure. Basically we upload (or `git push`) our code to the remote end, Heroku will detect the application type, deploy the server, and make it up and running with a domain name.
When we deployed applications in China, we see no such solution, and we thought "Hey, isn't it cool if we could bring a similar service to China?"
Building A Platform-as-a-Service Targeting for Chinese Market
Building on top of Docker container technology and Redhat Openshift platform, we launched a PaaS solution facing mainland chinese developers.
On the user interface side, we build a ruby on rails app for users to sign up for the service and manage their resources (containers with different CPU and memory allocation). Then there is a API connecting to a backend platform that could provision new server resources, creating the necessary containers, and return the end-point information back to end-users.
This platform empowers developers/startups to:
- focus on validating their startup ideas, building their products instead of managing their infrastructure.
- when their users grow, the pain come when they have to scale up the server. With our platform, we handled auto-scaling and offer them flexible pricing policy on scaling- up and down.
- For business owners, we provide professional service on managing the applications hosting for them.
- For developers, this means they could focus on writing code, instead of managing the infrastructure, which is rarely the expertise of them.
Great Learning Experiences in Building a PaaS Platform And Running A Startup Business
After 5 months of development, we launched our PaaS service. Within 4 months of launching, we have signed up over 1,300 users, and launched over 400 applications on our platform.
This is one of our startup attempts, and it allows us to attend various pitching events in Hong Kong / Mainland China, and exchange ideas and concerns with developers and investors in China. Although we have to terminate the project at the end due to lack of funding, this was a great learning experience in many sense for us. We love building product and running a business that could help people. We will continue on the journey in future.