Taking On-Prem to the Cloud
Before cloud computing was widely adopted, software products were installed on local servers, in what is known as on-prem installation. These installations were sometimes a major headache for IT departments: ordering computers, installing the right OS on them, then installing the software, followed by the need to maintain that installation; forcing companies to become professionals in fields that were out of their core business.
With cloud computing being widely available, the natural evolution became SaaS products. In SaaS, the software is installed in the cloud, and users can use it without the need to install and maintain. Instead, installation and maintenance are the service provider’s responsibility. Now, companies can focus on what they are actually meant to do.
But not all companies aspire to rely on cloud services for all of their needs. Consider a traditional bank - while cloud solutions are widely adopted across many industries and organizations (like NASDAQ, Capital One and NASA), some conservative institutions like certain banks still tend to refrain from changes. While storing their data in a secured, managed server farm they own is something they are familiar with, cloud computing presents a new, uncharted territory. Such clients would still prefer having an on-prem solution.
However, not all is lost.
Here at BlazeMeter, when we first met with such clients, we thought about developing a traditional on-prem version of our product. We’ll wrap all of the product in a box - or rather on a disk-on-key, we said, and the clients would be able to install it on their local server farm. However, such a version would not enable our customers to enjoy the advantages a SaaS solution has: benefiting from the latest version, frequent software updates with the most recent features, reduced maintenance fees, the ability to conduct large, complicated calculations in the cloud, etc.
As SaaS experts and shift left leaders, our DNA forced us to stop for a moment and remind ourselves of our core axioms: ‘Shift Left’ is all about developers and their ability to develop and test fast; BlazeMeter is agile, fast to respond to market demands and to changes; open source solutions such as JMeter and Selenium are the top testing tools in the market.
How can we maintain all of these benefits and still provide a perfect solution to our clients’ security needs? Can’t all worlds be combined?
Understanding Our Customers’ Pain Points
If you wish to provide the perfect solution to your customers, you must perfectly understand their needs. So we went back to the customers and asked them what their exact pain was. What was it that they couldn’t do with our SaaS offering?
The answer was “secured data”. They couldn’t have their data go to the cloud.
“What if we give you a solution where your data stays on premise, but everything else goes to the cloud?” we asked.
“ Well, that’d be perfect. Is that possible?” they replied.
Now that was a good question.
Finding the Right Solution
So we sat down and decided to build something new - a hybrid innovative solution combining SaaS & on-prem. It took some rounds of discussion and brainstorming to understand what should be done where; which data can go out of the premises and which couldn’t; what should the perfect flow be so that SaaS advantages can still be applied, with the security level for data of an on-prem solution. After reviewing, going back to the drawing board for fixes and cycling back some more, we had a winning solution.
We already had a solution for running tests behind the firewall. This solution was an agent installed on a local machine, allowing it to communicate with the cloud solution, run the test and send the results. Based on that, we developed a new component, with the ability to filter the data and separate the non-secured from the secured parts.
Sensitive data, like users information, sensitive endpoints and business data, is kept behind the firewall. While non sensitive data, such as statistics for latency and response time, is uploaded to the cloud with hashed labels for number crunching, big data calculations and anonymized reporting. Privacy is maintained as the names of test steps, error messages and other sensitive data, such as test scripts and logs, never leaves the internal network. We did it - customers can benefit from SaaS while keeping their data on premise. We dubbed the solution “Private Cloud”. Read more here.
Here's how it works:
This project reminded me some of the most important basics of product management: Take nothing for granted, strive to understand your customers’ exact pain, don’t be afraid to break paradigms. Find the right market fit and don’t be shy to play on your strengths. They usually drive the right value for your customers.
To learn more about how BlazeMeter’s Private Cloud is fit for your needs, request a demo here.
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