The startup life is certainly an exciting and equally terrifying time. Having been a founder, as well as a consultant to many fledgling companies, I wanted to provide some best practices around designing and implementing technology strategically that won’t hinder the growth or efficiency of a new company. Let’s take a few minutes and go over some top tips for ensuring that the proverbial house you’re building has a solid foundation that won’t crumble when success comes your way.
Set Up Hosted Services That Will Scale With Your Business
Have you ever run an email server? I have, and it’s not my idea of a good time whilst trying to do the hundreds of other things that a founder needs to be doing. Thankfully, in the last few years, the advent of SaaS and Cloud computing have brought us things like G Suite by Google or Microsoft Office 365. The key advantage to partnering with a vendor to outsource this part of your stack is that all of the nitty-gritty tasks like deliverability analysis, user management, and maintaining the email server itself.
This isn’t limited to email hosting services either; consider the version control for the code that underpins your product. Do you want to be the sole person responsible for maintaining a private GitHub server or project management suite like JIRA? Thankfully, there are SaaS providers for just about everything you need to build a fledgling business.
Define Pragmatic Naming Conventions From The Start
It may seem like a pedantic thing to think about when you have a small handful of servers out there in the wild, but there’s a good chance that some time in the future you’ll have more of them. With more servers, you’ll want a solid naming scheme so you’ll know what’s what out there.
By sticking with a naming convention, the process of naming future machines becomes that much easier. As organizations grow, so does the stack that keeps those organizations up and running. Automation and containerization of services naturally benefits from this kind of organizational effort as machines are constantly being spun up or spun down depending on needs.
Select a Wide Array Of Vendors
If recent trends with regard to resiliency and digital transformation have been the harbinger of anything, it’s shown us all that having all your eggs in one basket can lead to some heartache if that one vendor has a problem. There’s been an alarming trend in the industry, mostly ushered in by the consolidation of players in the field, of Cloud providers advertising themselves as a “one-stop shop” or an “ecosystem”. While the convenience of having all the resources you need at your fingertips behind one vendor’s control panel seems nice, consider what would happen if that vendor’s resources became unavailable. Not pretty, right? When selecting a Cloud hosting provider, CDN, or SaaS provider, it’s essential to understand their underlying stack to ensure that there are no single points of failure.
Application Delivery Exists At The Core
Revisiting our theme of building a solid foundation for a moment, let’s consider Application Delivery as the footings that underpin that foundation. Having an extensible, resilient, and reliable Application Delivery framework to harden everything I’ve covered in this post is absolutely critical to allow a frictionless path to scalability. At NS1, we are taking the domain name system (DNS) to its logical extreme as we meld a 30+ year old protocol with the intelligence, context, and scalability of today’s web applications. Without a solid Application Delivery platform at the core of your infrastructure, the challenges and uncertainty that have typically crept in during the process of scaling will show up. While DNS itself might seem like a pretty cut-and-dry thing, which it essentially is, it’s also the entry point to everything outside your four walls that you, your employees, customers, and users will interact with first. Don’t skimp on the basics, and the rest will follow with ease.
For more information on how we can help bolster your infrastructure needs, not only for the here and now, but also for the great unknown that will expose itself in the inevitable march of time, feel free to contact us for a helping hand. Also, our Developer Hub is chock full of great information that will help you make informed choices around scaling your business.