Mid-May, at our team seminar, we realized that when we talk about Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), the “Serverless” trend, deployment automation, application maintenance, or just “Cloud”, many of our interlocutors are confused.
PaaS, Serverless… Clever Cloud?
They wonder what it’s all about, what it does in practice, and how it will change the way their teams are organized. If our customers are convinced, it is not always easy to get people beyond the “try it, adopt it” stage.
There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that these terms have most often been diverted from their original meaning, being used in all sorts of ways according to the needs of uninspired marketing teams. Over the years, we have seen players offering such services, allowing developers and ops to learn about them, without the rigor necessary to use them in production environments… or with complex offers, which can tend to lock them into a closed ecosystem.
The result is disappointing returns, which impact the image of our entire industry and can sometimes give the impression that PaaS “is not a serious business”.
Simplify and automate, assisting humans
But we are serious. When Clever Cloud was founded, our primary goal was not only to offer a “clever” product to those who want to deploy applications and keep them operational. We wanted to create a technical solution that met the market standards, that was easy to learn, yet production-ready, even in case of a slashdot effect.
We also had to make it clear how necessary these tools were: to simplify teams’ life, save time and focus on the essentials, get back to a situation where digital resources are densified, which has benefits both in financial and energy efficiency.
However, we still regularly hear that the trend towards PaaS or Serverless aims to make the “ops” profession disappear. In fact, behind what appears to be “No Ops”, we are preaching “Not Only Ops”, placing people where they are needed, where they bring expertise and create value.
This means offloading repetitive actions that can be automated, while reducing the complexity of tasks for both developers and ops, the mental load of managing their applications. How do you do this? By creating a platform where they simply work, constantly, in a secure environment, with simplified and automated update management.
To do this, we provide a set of runtimes, add-ons and solutions that allow teams to focus on the design of their applications and the way the different software bricks interact. This is accompanied by simplified deployment tools that can be integrated into continuous integration and development (CI/CD) chains. We also make application observability easy, so that our customers can always know what is going on and act accordingly.
This allows them to stay focused on their technical choices. They don’t have to worry about infrastructure issues, initiating server configuration, deploying VMs when they think it’s necessary, restarting everything in case of a problem, our tools are there for that. They allow us to do this on both our own and our partners’ infrastructures, based on over a decade of historical knowledge in terms of adapting the operation of services and applications to the load. Resiliency and multi-cloud are thus at the heart of our technical and value promise.
Values and commitments
To help people better understand these issues, we have historically chosen to explain what we do and how we do it, from conferences to podcasts, from blog posts to discussions with the public sector or journalists. We regularly explain the motivations behind the use of our technical bricks, what makes the cloud work on a daily basis, virtualization and containers, security, the points to watch out for, etc.
Above all, we have always wanted to be involved in the future of the ecosystem, whether by regularly participating in events, leading debates, joining organizations that defend our values such as Euclidia or the Open Internet Project (OIP), or by associating with French partners such as 2CRSi/Green Data or Kalray.
In this way, we have always advocated an open approach in our exchanges, but also by supporting open source projects, developing our own such as Sōzu or Biscuit, or seeking to work as a team with other European cloud service providers, editors and manufacturers.
More recently, we have also chosen to focus on more open hardware solutions, starting with those of the Open Compute Project (OCP). We are also exploring other avenues, such as open systems in the field of networking equipment, such as SONiC. One thing has always been our strength: talking truthfully.
Our first partner? Our customer
You could say that we are doing all this because “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together“. But we are mainly in an increasingly unbalanced cloud market, where we are collectively facing players as giant as they are hegemonic, and we believe that it is through the federation of efforts, good will and by pooling our capacity for innovation that we will win.
Our challenge is not to resist but to grow together. And we are succeeding on our own scale. Clever Cloud is thus able to lead all these battles and carry out all these projects with a team that is now composed of about 40 people.
Most of them are developers, ops and engineers who are there to design and improve our product. A product designed, developed and implemented in France (for the most part in the West), guaranteeing European values of data respect, openness and sovereignty. A form of cloud craftsmanship at the service of the industrialization of your applications.
Choices and a course made possible because we remain independent. Our growth is not ensured by a race for investors who must be constantly reassured and pleased while waiting to sell the company. Instead, we have chosen to grow thanks to our customers who pay to use our tools. They are our strength, ensuring our ability to invest in a better and better product. They allow us to offer a viable and efficient alternative that they benefit from every day.
This is also why we make it a point of honor to ensure a high quality of support, with a dedicated team, constantly listening, but also a strong involvement of our developers and engineers to provide solutions to those who trust us.
We have doubled in size in less than a year, strengthened our management team, reorganized and continue to recruit, not only developers. Because our platform would be nothing without the people who make our company what it is every day, who carry its word, who go out to meet our customers, and who make Clever Cloud a unique human and technical adventure.
Making Clever Cloud better known
One of our challenges, in addition to improving our platform, launching new features and announcing partnerships, is to make our business better known to DIY enthusiasts and developers as well as to more experienced profiles, but also to decision-makers and to those for whom the cloud is a somewhat foggy technology.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be going over the basics of deploying a site and an application, adding add-ons and the many possibilities of our platform, to make you understand how much fun it is to develop.