In our previous post “What Silicon Valley has taught us About Startups”, we discussed the shift in tech and development. In this post, I’ll talk about the closure of Parse (a startup success) and how to move forward. Parse is a cloud app platform provider that enable developers to build their applications and not have to worry about rebuilding backend functionality for every mobile platform.
Parse, a Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS), was acquired by Facebook in 2013, prompted hundreds of thousands of applications built around Parse. I mean why not? Parse offered an excellent free tier model, and it’s easy to use and integrate. The acquisition alone was enough to make people leave their current provider and sign up for Parse. At the time of Parse’s acquisition by Facebook, co-founder Ilya Sukhar reassured users that Parse was “not going away”. “It’s going to get better,” he wrote. “We are excited about the future of Parse”. So it came as a big surprise when Facebook announced Parse will be no longer be available after January 28, 2017.
The shockwave of the Parse closure has sent a stir throughout the industry leaving many development studios (including our own) wondering where to go from here, and what are the best solutions to offer our clients? Is it worth getting into bed with another service provider like Parse only to have the carpet pulled out from beneath our feet once again?
Facebook has never directly come out and said why they are halting Parse but my guess is low profitability. Parse’s closure seems to be a reflection of the times, no more of the glory days of startups procuring a ridiculous amount of investor dollars and sustaining hyper-inflated burn rates. We’ll see more investor dollars go into areas outside of software-only applications and services. However, the people at Parse are making the ending easy, a Parse migration guide is available, and co-founder James Yu said in a blog that in addition to the Parse Server tool (introduced last week), Parse has teamed up with Heroku, Amazon Web Services and MongoLab on extended solutions.
Facebook has open-sourced the project now, so hopefully, we see the Parse server project continue and even thrive. Many will be counting on it! There are a plethora of Parse alternatives, here are 15 alternatives to Facebook’s Parse, but at the same time you have to ask yourself, can you afford to have this happen again?
There is a range of other options available to the development community, and now more than ever cutting out the middle man and going straight to the cloud yourself is starting to make a lot of sense. You might as well run your infrastructure on the same platform Parse was on, AWS (Amazon Web Services).
Granted this option is not for everyone, some of the knowledge prove allusive to the inexperienced while others may not have the time or resources available to have an in-house solution. However, if offering a solution to clients which is free from a volatile startup market, while being able to retain the same feature reach experience as a product like Parse, then starting your cloud implementation might be a reliable solution.
Which cloud is for me?
2015 was the year of Amazon, technology industry analyst Ben Thompson wrote ”AWS [Amazon Web Services—the company’s insanely profitable cloud computing division]. AWS should prove as an attractive solution to those clients who are tech savvy and concerned about the backend of their applications because it’s here to stay.
AWS may be pricey, but the proof is in the pudding. They offer the most robust feature rich solution on the market.
If AWS seems to be an overkill solution, there are other options like Rackspace, Linode or Digital Ocean; even AWS Lamda is worth considering. Moving forward shouldn’t be too difficult with all the great preexisting software available to us.
Don’t get caught again
With so much fragmentation existing today it is hard to decide what tool is right for the job. Will the one you pick be around in two years?
If resources, technical knowledge, and a cloud provider are available, it’s possible to protect one’s business operations from future sudden inconveniences like the Parse’s closure.