Makara, the PaaS company that helps you deploy your app on cloud and manage it seamlessly, is a heavy user of Amazon Web Services. Yesterday, I had a chance to attend a talk by Tobias Kunze Briseno, co-founder of Makara. He talked about how they are tapping into AWS for their needs and, in the end, he highlighted their top praises and gripes about Amazon Web Services. I thought this insight will be useful for other startups considering AWS for their needs and hence this post.
First, What is Makara?
Unlike PaaS providers like Heroku, Makara is a different kind of PaaS provider. They help you provision, deploy, manage, monitor and scale your applications in the cloud. It is not just about deploying greenfield cloud applications but also your existing applications into the cloud. If you have ever managed more than one server that runs web applications, you can understand that it is a messy and painful process. Makara’s plan is to take the complexity out of the operations and give you some kind of remote control for these processes. With Makara, anyone can be an ops person provisioning, deploying, managing, monitoring and scaling PHP and Java applications.
Even though Makara use and support different cloud providers, including Rackspace and VMware cloud, they are a heavy user of Amazon Web Services. From day 1, they relied heavily on AWS saving substantial amount of money. Based on their extensive experience with using Amazon Web Services, Tobias listed out their praise and gripes for AWS.
Top 5 Praises
Clearly, Makara likes AWS very much and they intend to continue with them in the future. Here are their top 5 praises
- Speed of Innovation
- Product-market fit
- Custom Kernels
Anyone who follows AWS will attest to the fact that the speed at which they innovate is amazing. Even though they have a huge market share in public cloud infrastructure services space, they continue to innovate at a faster rate. I will fully agree with anyone who praise their speed of innovation. Tobias also mentioned that the most useful feature for them on AWS is Templates which no other cloud provider is offering at this point of time. He also pointed out how easy it is to take snapshots on AWS.
Top 5 Gripes
Makara’s top 5 gripes are
- No durability in addressing
- No broadcast/multicast
- Only one address
- API slowness and terseness
- Ephemeral defaults
Some of these gripes are voiced by other AWS uses too. There are some third party services in AWS ecosystem that could help take care of these shortcomings. If I remember right, CohesiveFT offers support for multicast traffic inside EC2 cloud. But Makara’s gripes are based on non-availability of these features natively in the Amazon cloud.
I fully agree with the general sentiment of Makara and others about Amazon’s innovation rate and the fact that being the first mover in the space coupled with fast innovation has the potential to make their services industry standard which other cloud providers usually follow. However, with OpenStack project out in the wild and VMware closing their enthusiasm gap (you can forgive me for using this term because it is election season :-)) for cloud, AWS may not end up being the industry standard. Anyhow, the main intention of this post is to get feedback from AWS users about their own praises and gripes. If you are an AWS user, please add your thoughts below.