How to Choose an SPI (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) Service Provider. Part Three

Welcome to the third and final part of my this blog series about choosing an SPI provider. During the previous two posts, one and two, I’ve discussed a number of issues and attributes you should consider before selecting an SPI provider. In this last piece, I’m going to give some recommendations based on my experience, references from people I trust, and what I see in the industry. I’m going to start from the bottom up, so let’s talk IaaS.


Joyent: This is by far my favorite IaaS provider, as I think they are most definitely underrated. Their pricing is simple, their platform is built on SmartOS, and they employee Max Bruning. Who wouldn’t want to us this service? The answer should be no one. I love SmartOS and all that is has implemented from the Solaris realm of operating systems such as Zones and ZFS. If you are looking for an IaaS, you should definitely consider these guys.

GoGrid: Finalist for LinuxWorld 2008 Product Excellence Award, Cloud-Infrastructure Category in OnDemand 2012, enough said.

RackSpace: Even though they are big, this company still seems very employee driven.

CloudScaling: I love the technology behind this company, and although they’ve had some struggles, I believe they are a company to watch.

BlueLock: I think this company has taken a unique approach as an IaaS and are delivering services in a way no one else in the industry is. Definitely a company to consider.

Amazon AWS: I’m actually not a fan of AWS. We are using them at my current company and I do not care for their pricing model or their service. Obviously, they are the industry leader, and offer a solid service, but I don’t think they are a bang for buck provider. I would rather give a shot to one of the little guys because they are going to work harder and longer for your business.


I have a huge concern about using PaaS environments, as the abstraction from the OS and hardware creates a massive gap. I believe using a PaaS to build and host an app would make it much harder to move to a dedicated data center than the it would to do the opposite. Nonetheless, it’s a very popular way of getting your apps to the masses, so here is my two cents on the matter.

Engine Yard: I’ve personally worked with Engine Yard before and I think they are an incredible company. Their support and engineering teams are top notch and extraordinarily accessible. My only issue with EY is that they live in the AWS cloud.

Red Hat Open Shift: I’m not necessarily a fan of Red Hat (all Debian/Ubuntu here), but what can you say, it’s Red Hat. No one get’s fired for buying Red Hat and Open Shift has been making a lot of noise in the industry lately.

AppScale: This company is actually more of a framework running on top of the Google App Engine. I’ve not personally used them, but I’ve heard good things. Additionally, it’s hard to go wrong leveraging Google.

Heroku: I know Heroku has gotten some bad press over the last couple years, and it was rightly deserved. However, I was recently at a startup and watched them build out an app on Heroku, and it was a beautiful thing.

Cloud Foundry: I was actually recommended this PaaS by a colleague, and after a preliminary eval, I can say it’s worth giving a look.

Now that we’ve covered IaaS/PaaS, it’s time to cover the big one, SaaS. The thing about SaaS is that you have different apps for multiple use cases. Here today, I’m going to cover monitoring, logging, and APM.

SaaS Monitoring

CopperEgg: This little company is becoming, or at least seems to be, the status quo in SaaS based monitoring. I’ve been told by a number of tech centric companies in Austin that they are using this platform. Per my resources, the CopperEgg agent installs in 10 secs and just works.

DataDog: DataDog approaches monitoring in a little different way as it is more of an aggregator of multiple monitoring sources, than a source itself. Nonetheless, it has a lot of cool and useful visualizations and puts a lot of relevant data sources to work.

LogicMonitor: This platform has a legacy feel to me, however, it provides you with all the necessary metrics to cover your bases. Although it provides you with everything you need, it may not be everything you want; and what I mean by want, is that the interface just seems lacking, but it’s still a contender.

SaaS Logging

Loggly: This is the little engine that could in the SaaS logging arena. Loggly is not fancy, and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of an on-premise solution, but it gets the job done, and done well.

SumoLogic: Again, nothing fancy, but it will get the job done. I prefer Loggly over SumoLogic simply because they have a beaver as a mascot. Actually, that’s not true; I prefer Loggly because I have better experiences with it, but the beaver is still cool.

Splunk Storm/Cloud: I have no idea what Splunk is doing; I use to work at this company and honestly, since IPO, they seem completely lost. I can say for certain they have broken their culture and alienated a lot of original Splunkers by bringing two levels of middle management from BMC and the like and putting them in place between the Splunkers and senior leadership; as well as creating an HR department full of mindless corporate drones. Everything that made Splunk successful is slowly slipping away and in just a few years it will be like every other tired, weary, and unimaginative corporation; they might as well be HP, IBM, or CA. Their enterprise on-prem offering is still the status quo of log management, but their strategy for their cloud platforms seems convoluted. However, they are still Splunk and they are still the industry leader; we’ll see how long they can stay on top.


AppDynamics: AppDynamics is as good as it gets when it comes to APM. In my opinion, they are the best enterprise SaaS APM solution out there, and they’ve put a glass ceiling on the number two contender.

New Relic: I feel that New Relic is leading the charge in APM in the SMB market, but will not be able to compete with or overtake AppDynamics at the enterprise level.

AppNeta: I know absolutely nothing about this company other than I’ve been told in three different conversations that I should check them out, all from people I would consider industry advisors. So, if you are considering APM, take a minute and go check them out. Good or bad, let me know what you think.

That’s all for now, and I hope this at least exposes you to some options you weren’t aware of. Please keep in mind that everything here is my opinion and is based on my two decades of experience in the tech sector and recommendations from people that I consider industry professionals. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *