Friday, July 27, 2012

How do you explain Platform as a Service to a 'Normal'?

Last night I received a letter via our Support page that forced me to think a bit. The summarized text read:  

"If I purchase your product do I solely own it . Is this a situation where I will need upgrades and add on's and you will be wanting personal information each time. I want to own my db software."

I think that the concept of Platform as a Service or Software as a Service is a bit befuddling for 'Normals'; those that use the web, but do not grasp the complexity of the environment.

My response (edited a bit) is below. How would you explain Cloud Software to a Normal?

"Maybe I can clarify your comment & questions a little. 

Younicycle (online) is similar to leasing an apartment in a large building. You don't 'own' the apartment, but essentially pay for someone else to make sure that the apartment and its contents are safe, the heat, electric and air conditioning work and that when you go to the apartment building, don't discover that the entire building has somehow gone missing.

We are the guys that make all of that work, with servers, applications code, database, etc. People work full time to keep everything in good shape. I guess you could say that we are working in the basement, doing code updates and we usually apply these Updates (upgrades) to ALL accounts 1x per week, but we do all of that work in the basement and ideally, you won't even know the mini-upgrade occurred. We couldn't do this work from inside an apartment because the code is in the basement. This is our 'working layer' and it is where WE live.

So you don't 'own' the apartment - but you do own all the Contents of that apartment. At least we hope you do. If someone (example) pirated a video and stored it inside their Younicycle Account, then they'd be 'storing stolen goods'. If the owner of the video was able to prove that it had been stolen, well, that wouldn't be good.

Now, if you don't like that, but still like the functionality, then you can buy your own Server (hardware) and you can install a 'small' version of Younicycle on your own box, but you'd better know how to do all the work in the basement - and I can tell you, it's very complicated. Debian Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, Php + an enormous number of other types of files. All of them need to be maintained and updated. When even one of them requires an update, it can break 6 other items.

Also, though the distinction is a little muddy for most of us, no one 'owns' a database. Instead we license a database and there are many types of licenses. We use PostgreSQL for Younicycle, a powerful relational database system - but we don't own it. No one does because it is Open Source.

To reiterate, you own what you put into the account + the stuff you make within the Account, but we own the building. Hopefully that clarifies Younicycle, at least a bit."

How do you folks explain Platform as a Service? I'm listening ....

No comments:

Post a Comment