Meet Jefferson Notaro.
Choosing the right cloud hosting solution for your start-up
Today, cloud hosting is a necessity for almost every business. The variety of cloud platforms can make it difficult to choose the right hosting solution, especially if you are new to cloud technology. Today we selected Jefferson Notaro, the CEO and founder of Functional Box, for an interview. This one can certainly serve as a guide to finding the best cloud hosting platform for your startup.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your career?
In short, my name is Jefferson Notaro, I am Brazilian and I am currently the CEO and founder of the company Functional Box. As far as my background is concerned, I studied Systems Administration and Technical Development in Brazil, and here in Europe I did two years of Computer Engineering and Economics with IT. I started my professional career in 1985, the main focus is trade with mutual benefit.
What about your project? How did you find or join this company?
Well, the story of Functional Box started in 2017. I was trying to organise time and place for one of my passions - fitness. I ended up building a small gym in my house, it was my own crossfit gym at home, the so called "home box". After a while I was faced with a problem of self-motivation and confusion about what workouts I should do. Another thing I noticed was that I was also interested in managing my diet. A number of questions arose in my head: Where could I find all this? Who could I talk to about it? Where could I get advice on the right fitness/wellness professionals to hire? And finally, how do I manage my budget? What subscriptions should I take out? We are currently developing all these features as well as a subscription system that will allow professionals to sell their products on our platform.
Can you describe the technical aspect of your project? Why did you choose AWS? What were the advantages and disadvantages of this choice?
As I have been a Python developer since 2003, I have been moving towards the Python ecosystem. I chose Django, REST, and the Postgres software stacks. The points with modules, middleware, networks are already well done in Django as well as in FASTapi, but Python/Django still remains our core technology. Also, we can't fail to point out a module that is important to us, that is the celery, where we develop the subscription system.
It was a bit expensive, even without traffic and users, we were paying a lot. The graph below shows the expenses for only a few weeks, less than a month. It was over $200/month.
In my opinion, it's a kind of "fashion", it's "great" to have your project there, it's quite necessary in today's IT world and the job descriptions always ask for AWS knowledge as well. I started the project alone, did the first deployment on AWS, and our CTO improved the environment. It's a very good platform, for sure, with a lot of options and interesting things.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what lessons did you learn?
I was shocked to hear what happened to the Talk app and the way they treated Trump, blocking him and not Al Qaeda and the Taliban, it was like, "UAU" What's going on? I didn't support Trump, I had a lot of opening points on him. This led me to do some research and I ended up realising that things are not what they say they are and that the 'fake news' story, a lot of the time, is more like unquestionable truths. They can't argue so they "force" the statements.
As a result, I lost my co-founder and, on top of that, the current state of affairs in big social technologies has made me leave AWS, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. Milton Friedman is my reference and socialism is social democracy. Socialist companies are not the best models of 'being' that I want for myself.
Even though I am a nobody and an insignificant company in the market, I value my freedom of speech, my freedom of mind and most importantly, I also want to hear from everyone.
How did you find Hidora? Why did you choose Hidora hosting for your startup? What were the advantages of switching from AWS (the platform itself, reduced hosting costs, support, etc.)?
Honestly, it was a nice gift 🙂 I read and didn't think twice, I saw that it would be a good option.
We found investors and they were waiting for our MVP to make a financial offer for the project. The CTO retired and I was still working for another company, not having enough knowledge about AWS. I looked for a host in Switzerland and my main goal was to get out of a socialist company like AWS. It was even better than I imagined, we got an incredible system with Jelastic, paying only for the actual consumption and being supported by real professionals. I was able to keep the illusion of having my startup and keep fighting for my MVP.
How did you carry out the migration (from a technical point of view)?
We had a meeting with one of Hidora's technicians and discussed the main points of the migration. He gave us the right direction on how to start and complete the application move step by step.
I created two environments, one for staging and the second for production. I could still use Docker Hub to implement my images.
I encountered some problems when starting my Celery / Beat / Task module on Django servers. It started complaining about RAM memory, so I tried to deal with backend best practices but finally I could easily scale it up with Jelastic's horizontal/vertical scaling feature.
It doesn't have any users yet, and I'm paying about 57 CHF per month for production. That's a very affordable price, it really helps when you're just starting out.
What are the next steps for your product? Evolution? Features?
We are working on the subscription system in the background. A number of improvements and more REST access points to use the new Vue FrontEnd are also under development.
As far as hosting is concerned, I would like to try the demo server using the cloning feature of the Hidora Cloud platform. I saw that you have the ability to create really great staging servers. I'm also interested in using Kubernetes on Hidora, I tried to start but it's definitely a more DevOps task and beyond my capabilities.
And the last thing, I still need to define a better CD to automate the deployment after publishing the image on the docker hub.
Your final thoughts
I hope that what I have to say can be useful to those who are in the early stages of development and launch of their product, choosing the right hosting solution. Thank you very much for the smooth migration, the excellent scalable cloud hosting, the very professional welcome, support and training!
Matthieu Robin is CEO at Hidora, an experienced strategic leader, a former system administrator who had managed and configured more environments manually than anyone on the planet and after understanding that it could be done in several clicks established Hidora SA. He regularly speaks at conferences and helps companies to optimize business processes using DevOps. Follow him on Twitter.