Business enterprises looking to add real time communication functionality to their apps via ready-to-use chat APIs and SDKs face some challenges when trying to decide where to host their application. While many CPaaS (communication-platform-as-a- service) organizations provide communication features desired by the enterprise customer, they are unable to meet their specific hosting requirements. Most CPaaS organizations don’t offer much choice. If you use their chat API then you are restricted to hosting your application on their own managed cloud. This can be an issue if you need to host data locally or within a specific geographic location, require HIPAA or GDPR compliance, or have other industry specific security needs that require you to maintain ownership and control of your own customer’s data.
At QuickBlox we provide the convenience and tools of the cloud with flexible hosting options for our enterprise clients that ensure that both business and security needs are met. QuickBox provides feature-rich ready-to-use chat APIs and chat SDKs to support the seamless integration of live chat, instant messaging, audio and video calls, file sharing, screen sharing, push notifications and a host of other features into your application. Furthermore we can host your application wherever you want. We understand the particular needs of enterprises around security, compliance, scalability, and customization and that’s why we can deploy our software according to your preferences.
In the following we will outline the benefits of our dedicated Enterprise hosting plan, and highlight some key considerations when determining the best hosting solutions for your business app.
Like many CPaaS organizations, QuickBlox provides subscription plans on a shared cloud where customers building video or chat applications can store their data separately but share computing resources. While these plans are suitable for many SMBs they are less than ideal for larger enterprises.
For our enterprise level clients we offer a dedicated instance of our software which can be installed in a cloud environment set-up and managed by Quickblox, or, more usually, in a dedicated hosting environment set-up by the customer with a cloud provider of their choice, but managed and maintained by QuickBlox. For a full description of our Enterprise Plan see Part-1 and Part-2 of our blog “Benefits of being an Enterprise Plan Customer.”
This dedicated plan means that a dedicated software instance of QuickBlox is deployed for the customer on their own cloud account, providing them with their own dedicated resources. There are other numerous benefits for the enterprise customer. They have direct access and control over their customer data. Their instance can be specially configured for HIPAA and GDPR compliance and additional advanced security add-ons are possible so that chat messages remain secure. Also they are guaranteed a higher level of performance and reliability because their application is not going to be negatively impacted by the activities/traffic of thousands of other shared users. This ensures a positive user experience of their chat solution.
Shared plans are still great for enterprises to explore our services. Many enterprise clients might want to start off testing a POC or MVP on the shared cloud. Enterprise plans unlock further business value with additional security and functionality add-ons like video conferencing as well as software customization for their real-time chat apps, which is not covered in the shared cloud subscription plans.
Most business enterprises with real concerns about data security or subject to compliance regulations, normally want to ensure their infrastructure is maintained to high standards. Regulations in some countries may not even allow the usage of multi-tenant cloud services potentially hosted overseas. For these customers, having their own dedicated cloud account becomes a necessity.
While there are many reasons that would persuade a business enterprise to opt for dedicated cloud hosting for their messaging app, a decision still needs to be made about which is the best cloud hosting provider to choose for their communication infrastructure. Here are three factors to consider:
The first factor to consider is what requirements will your communication infrastructure need? Do you, for example, expect a large volume of data storage and hence need significant disk space for your data? Or do you require a low-latency network of servers ready all around the globe for your communications? Or perhaps you need the communication infrastructure to integrate easily with other systems you already have in your enterprise?
Exploring the requirements of your video calling or instant messaging app is crucial when deciding which cloud provider to use. Check with your developers what disk, bandwidth, integrations, security, monitoring, compliance, and other features your enterprise application needs before going further in the process.
A second factor to check is the cost and pricing model. Some cloud providers can become costly over time. They also differ in regards to how they charge customers. Some charge based on usage, like AWS, while others have fixed plans and limits.
Finally, look at what ready features the cloud hosting provider offers your enterprise. If you are already hosting most of your technical infrastructure on AWS, then it would make sense to also host your QuickBlox communication infrastructure on AWS so that all your systems are billed and managed in one place rather than with multiple vendors. However, if you are providing high bandwidth consuming services – there are other hosting options with cheaper data transfer rates & bandwidth so a hybrid cloud hosting model between cloud providers can provide a better solution.
This becomes more important for integrations. You may need to link QuickBlox with some of your other systems which are already built on another cloud provider, so you wouldn’t want to make the process too complex and complicated. You may also want to use other parts of the cloud hosting features with your communication infrastructure later on. So, it is not just the hosting features themselves that matter, but also what other features are available in the same cloud network when you need them.
QuickBlox supports hosting with all the major cloud platforms including Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, AWS and many others. Each one of these platforms has its pros and cons and a careful evaluation should include the criteria explained above. The QuickBlox team can deploy the server API instances to any of these cloud providers based on the enterprise customer’s wishes. For careful evaluations of these services see our blogs, AWS vs. GCP, AWS vs. GCP, Vs Azure vs Alibaba, and Azure vs Alibaba.
AWS (Amazon Web Services) is the largest cloud provider in the world and powers almost half the Internet. They have more than a hundred web services for various tasks (AI, ML, computing, routing, DNS, hosting etc), so it would be convenient to build other enterprise applications on the same platform. However, AWS could be costly in the long run since the way of calculating billing is based on usage charts and on a number of other factors, rather than a fixed monthly price. Hence, thorough research on costs is required before use.
Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, are very good alternatives to AWS. In terms of compliance, provided services, and geolocations they stack up well. Another alternative is Alibaba Cloud, which is a good option for the Chinese and Asian markets. Enterprises focusing on China and the Alibaba Cloud, being Chinese-based, are different from the other providers in this regard. Their prices for services are competitive, so they are definitely worth checking out.
QuickBlox also supports on-premises deployment for self-hosted chat apps for our enterprise customers.
On-premises means a private cloud or private server deployment, software which is deployed to the enterprise’s own hardware servers rather than a public cloud provider like AWS and others. In this way, QuickBlox’s dedicated instance of their software is completely managed and run locally on the enterprise’s own servers.
This type of hosting can be good for governments and larger enterprises and organizations wishing to completely localize their communication infrastructure. Because the server API instance is locally managed, no access to additional resources from the outside Internet is needed, hence data privacy and secure communication are guaranteed. A self-hosted chat solution provides optimal security and is particularly attractive to agencies requiring maximum privacy for their infrastructure.
Not all CPaaS provide on-premise deployments. In fact, QuickBlox is one of the few communication providers to offer these deployments for enterprise customers. Most other market competitors support only public cloud deployments.
When building a messaging application for your enterprise it is essential to consider carefully the benefits you have to gain hosting your application in a dedicated cloud account and consider the strengths and features of various cloud providers. Most importantly it is essential that you partner with a CPaaS provider who can support your specific hosting requirements. QuickBlox offers both shared, dedicated, and on-premises deployment and we have installed software instances with a range of popular and less well known public cloud providers. To find out how we can assist on your communication journey, contact us today.