How to choose hosting for your chat application

Anton Dyachenko
Anton Dyachenko
21 Feb 2020

Starting a new project our customers are focused on needed features and implementation timeline, but it’s also important to choose a way to host your chat application backend part. To ensure smooth performance and data security, your chat app needs a solid foundation. Neglecting this stage often leads to a range of problems.

Multimillion-dollar security leaks involving exposed credit card information, app login credentials, and other valuable data show the importance of secure data storage for any types of application.

It’s critical for chat apps providers to keep your customers’ sensitive personal information safe and sound. That depends on how you will host your data on the server or the chat provider will do this for you.

The importance of secure data storage

Secure storage reduces the risk of a data breach when confidential data can get in the wrong hands. It is a common thing for different industries and that is why it is worth paying attention to security.

Even the worldwide known giants face such problems. For example, in 2019, Facebook suffered a database exposing that affected 49 million Instagram
users and 419 million Facebook
users. In 2019, more than 267 million Facebook users’ IDs, phone numbers, and names were revealed to an online database that could potentially be used for spam and malicious attacks.

Google had to pay $7.5 million USD
to resolve a lawsuit caused by the data leak that revealed the private data of around 500,000 former Google+ users.

Ways to host your chat application

Hosting is a platform for storing and managing site or app files. You rent server space from a hosting provider and your application gets the necessary power and support ensuring its smooth 24/7 performance. Let’s see the default chat hosting options available for the QuickBlox customers.

Multi-tenant Shared server

Public cloud is the most common way to use cloud technology. All hardware, software, and infrastructure belong to the provider and is maintained by its specialists. A standard set of available services (OS images, WAF, mail, databases, FTP / SSH access) are ready for quick setup on it. Customers only rent the necessary computing power.

A multi-tenant cloud computing architecture allows customers to share computing resources. QuickBlox Shared instance account owners data is stored in individual space. Each client’s data is isolated and invisible to others.

Shared hosting is a good choice for small organizations, personal chat projects or businesses starting with a proof of concept.

Benefits

Multi-tenant hosting offers the following benefits for the users:

  • Cost-effectiveness

There is no need to rent or buy the whole server and maintain it – all the services come out-of-the-box.

  • Immediate start

To get started, just create an account – everything you need is already included in its functionality.

  • Scalability

You can easily upgrade and downgrade the plan if you need more or less resources.

  • Reliability

Cloud hosting providers care about the continuity of the services and guarantee Monthly Uptime Percentage of 99.99%.

Drawbacks

Since the public cloud is a multi-tenant environment, it is not suitable for all workloads. Certain applications and business functions have stricter requirements to performance, availability and chat security. The main drawbacks of multi-tenant servers are:

  • Less data control

With shared hosting, CPU, memory, and storage space are shared among the other tenants of the server. Shared server hosts will set limits on bandwidth and storage space. You won’t be able to use resources beyond the maximum allowed.

  • No choice of server location

Server location affects the speed of processing the API requests. That is why it is better to host your application close to your target audience.

  • Maintainability

The provider can force upgrades without your sign-off. Hardware and software updates and the downtime period will affect all clients at the same time.

  • No service SLA guarantee

By default, a Shared account hosting option does not come with a real Service Level Agreement and comes under the standard support.

Dedicated server (your private cloud)

Choosing a dedicated server installation for your chat application, you rent a private cloud. That means that all the resources will be provided only to your organization. You have full control of maintaining server software and any custom configuration changes.

Private clouds offer predictable workflow with QuickBlox SLA guarantee and full customization of software. That’s why they are the choice of big organizations, state-owned companies or institutions with defined security requirements.

Benefits

  • High reliability

A dedicated server provides the best performance and reliability.

  • Full server and data control

Since the entire server belongs to your organization, no third parties have access to your chat environment. You have full control over the sensitive data stored on the server.

  • Support under SLA

It ensures the client receives all the services available as agreed by the provider. Using advanced analytics, the provider is able to predict and prevent downtime in chat service delivery.

  • Choice of the server location

You are free to choose the best location for your dedicated server among the provider’s options. This flexibility allows you to get close to your customer base while adhering to the specific data regulations in a given geographical area.

  • Release management and software updates

Since the entire server is at your disposal, you can fully control the software installation, updating, and patching.

  • Quick Migration from Shared server

If you are currently using a Shared account, the QuickBlox team will help you to quickly migrate to the Dedicated Enterprise instance.

  • No internal DevOps resources are needed

QuickBlox DevOps team fully manages the installation and maintenance of the server. Thus, the client doesn’t need to spend resources on hiring their own DevOps team.

Drawbacks

  • A cloud hosting account is needed

This might be more time-consuming since dedicated installation requires signing Enterprise contract and discussing its conditions.

  • Infrastructure provisioning is needed

Since you have full control over the server, it is up to you to manage the software-related issues, such as installation, updating, and configuration.

On-premise installation

With the on-premise installation, you are fully responsible for setting up and managing your server infrastructure. You have your own physical servers located within the walls of your organization or in any data center. You are also responsible for server configuration and administration.

On-premise installation guarantees the highest level of security, since no third parties (including the hosting vendors) have physical and remote access to your servers. The on-premise installations are not as popular as dedicated clouds due to the complex and expensive management. They are mainly used by companies with the strictest security requirements.

Benefits

  • Enhanced security

The organization is in full control of the chat data locally, so no third-party provider has access to your data.

  • Full server and data control

With on-premise solutions, you fully control the process of server maintenance and chat data storage.

  • Choice of the data center location

The on-premise solution provides an opportunity to use your own data center that can be located wherever you need. You don’t have to choose from the provider’s options.

Drawbacks

  • Internal DevOps team is needed

With on-premise hosting, you will need an internal DevOps team that will manage the servers, predict and fix the technical issues. This will significantly increase your operational costs.

  • Full Infrastructure management is needed

In an on-premises environment, resources are deployed within the client’s IT infrastructure. The client is responsible for maintaining the chat server performance and related processes. On-premise hosting requires great investment in hardware and infrastructure.

  • More complex maintenance process, which leads to slower support

You will also need to continue to buy hardware and software licenses. If any issues occur, it will be difficult for your providers to assist you since they don’t have access to your servers.

QuickBlox options

QuickBlox offers its customers managed and self-managed shared and private, as well as an on-premise installation for their chat application. Let’s consider the possible hosting solutions for your chat app.

Multi-tenant Shared server

From your infrastructure to your end-user experience, QuickBlox allows maintaining excellent chat app performance. Using our Basic, Startup, and Growth plans, you get an account on our AWS-hosted instance with community & ticket support.

Enterprise dedicated cloud

For our Enterprise customers, provide the following options:

  1. Dedicated AWS / GCP / Azure / AliBaba cloud
  2. Flexible chat customization: number of users, devices, data retention, storage and traffic, attachment size
  3. Possibility to change chat app configuration according to your needs (HIPAA configuration, HA/DR configuration, advanced security and monitoring)
  4. Possibility to use software add-ons (conference call server, dedicated TURN server, custom identity provider, API integration)
  5. Personal account manager and prioritized support

On-premise installation

On-premise Enterprise instance is a deployment of QuickBlox chat software inside the customer’s data center. Compared with default Cloud hosting installation there are specific support and troubleshooting processes. In this case, the QuickBlox team is limited with access to the instance after the installation.

On-premise installation is a custom solution and it means that after software setup and testing we won’t have any access. We can discuss the best solution and what kind of support you will need to get.
Let’s summarize the pros and cons of all chat app hosting options once again.

Conclusion

Understanding your business needs and priorities is the key to making the best, most-informed decisions. QuickBlox has a variety of ready-made solutions to help your company with any type of deployment and keep your data secure. Contact us to discuss the best plan and custom options for your business needs.

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