With the rise of XAAS (Something-as-a-service) over the past decade, we’ve seen opportunities rise out of any niche you can think of. From Basic invoice-systems to entire infrastructure and platforms that you can just ‘get’ for a few bucks whenever you feel you require them.
I used to be a control-freak who wanted to host EVERYTHING on his own server. Want FFMPEG for a project? Ok, just get a VPS and build the source on your machine. Need socket servers? Okay, just install Socket.IO and build your app in Node.JS. And so on.
However, I’ve come to realize that I needed these tools for the sake of building something around a feature that required them and I ended up spending more time and money figuring out how to run a tool, rather than just build what I set out to build. So lately, I have started to use more XAAS tools and it has greatly enabled me to focus on the work I wanted to do.
One of my favorites was Parse.com. They provide you with a beautiful dashboard, an SDK for just about any platform that implements their backend API, file uploads and hosting, scaling, push notifications, cloud code (backend code), database hosting, all that in one convenient place. All of that for little or (in all of my cases) no money at all. No ads, no downtime, no low-quality-anything.
When you first start off and you build an app that has just a small audience, you don’t pay anything. But once you hit their limits (30 requests/second, more than 1.000.000 unique push subscribers, etc), you have to start paying. But come on: these limits are so high up there, once you have to deal with these problems, spending a mere 200-500$/month to keep your app afloat is not exactly a problem. I know a lot of people who’d love to have that kind of problem…
So all things considered: Parse was great. In fact it was so great, it was almost too good to be true. And as it turned out, it was. Yesterday Facebook (who acquired Parse in 2013) announced they were shutting down Parse and their services in exactly 1 year.
I talked to a few colleagues and friends about how to migrate away from Parse. I got a lot of suggestions as to ‘who else providing similar services‘ but my immediate feedback was always the same question: “yea, but what if they have to shut down too?“.
So I guess, the real question is: We trust these XAAS companies and providers. But if one fails, who says that others won’t follow in the same footsteps? What guarantees do I have that I’m not wasting yet more time, building my app/company/service on their platform right before they close up shop as well? How do I know I can trust you?
So tell me: What XAAS services are you using and how do you decide whether or not you can trust them enough to start building your app/company on their platform?