Kimi Mahajan

Kimi Mahajan

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Determining the Best Hosting Provider for your Drupal Website

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Jan 15, 2020 10:08:49 AM

With websites playing a major role in determining customer needs and impacting business sales, a second’s lapse in loading can make a customer think twice about staying on the website. 

As per Amazon’s findings, it stands to lose up to $1.6 BILLION per year if their site was slowed down by just one second. 

A reliable and fast web hosting provider can play a crucial role for your business to retain online users. 

While looking for a hosting provider for your website, what qualifies as the best solution? Does CMS specific hosting really have an impact on website performance?

Let’s find out! 

Why Drupal-Specific Hosting?

Drupal specific hosting is safer and better as it is more compatible out of the box and comes with a bundle of other benefits: 

1. Easier Installation For Quicker Website Building

Choosing Drupal-specific hosting providers helps with quick 1-click installs which can be completed within minutes. It’s best to to opt for CMS friendly web hosting solutions to sync up easily.

2. No Further Cost Associated

A Drupal specific host can provide a server infrastructure that is specifically optimized for running Drupal websites at no extra hidden cost.

3. Flawless User Experience

The benefit of working with Drupal-specific hosting is that it can notify you of any website performance issues or of any upcoming minor or major release and assures seamless user experience.

4. Strong Community Support

Drupal Community support for your website as well as your hosting provider with a plethora of huge libraries of modules and extensions can support you if you get stuck.

What are Drupal Web Hosting Requirements?

It is essential to choose a hosting provider which can match the setup of the CMS you’re using. 

With Drupal being a  CMS which has numerous modules running, it would need a hosting solution which can offer a huge spacing model. A basic Drupal site will need around 2 GB of RAM and 10 GB of total storage, MySQL 5.5 or higher for Drupal 8 and MySQL 5.0.15 or higher for Drupal 7. Also, the core installation takes about 100 MB on the web server, depending upon the modules, themes and content needed for your website. 

What Qualities Determine Best Hosting Provider?

 

With multiple options of popular web hosting available out there, choosing the right Drupal hosting can be a humongous task. Not just fast server speeds, but qualities to look in a hosting provider include robust security, one-click Drupal installs, migration assistance, scalable hosting, daily backups, and which come with Drupal utilities pre-installed. 

We have curated a list of things which you should consider in the hosting provider for your website. They’re listed as follows:

 

    • Higher Uptime Percentage: While choosing a hosting provider, ensure that it has a reputable uptime percentage, preferably above 99.5%, which shows how much time your hosted website will be online for its users. A weak server and unstable network connections of a hosting provider can often make your website offline.

    • Better Page Load Speed: Server speed is different than website speed. There’s no use optimizing your website if it is sluggish on the server it’s hosted on. With only 3 seconds to catch a visitor’s attention, you don’t want to lose one with a slow server response time. To stand out amongst million websites on the web, a super-fast loading website can transform a visitor to a customer.
       
    • Reliable Customer Support: This is an important aspect for your web hosting and should not be overlooked. Your provider should offer support on emails, chat, phone and much more and should have a responsive reputation in their support department. 
    • Automated Backup Restore: A good host will ensure daily website backup of all content, files, and code in case of unpreventable accidents.
    • Standard Development Workflows: An ideal Drupal hosting solution will usually come with three environments (dev, stage and live) in the cost of the subscription. Dev environment is used only by the development team to build and test new features, stage environment for bug fixes before they are launched to your live/production site, live environment being client facing with live content
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Well, who doesn’t want an affordable and reliable web host? 

Srijan’s Recommendations For Drupal Website Hosting

We’ve chalked out a list of some of the best Drupal platforms that are trusted and proven to provide the best service for small to enterprise business.

AcquiacloudimageAcquia Cloud platform tops our list of the best Drupal hosting providers. A trustable name in the hosting industry, it is not only secure and compliant, but also is improved to be able to support Drupal 8 sites. The provider has a huge support staff and is the most preferred channel for big names like BBC world.  Its starting price for small businesses is $141/month and ranges to $795/month for mid-size businesses. Users could try the free version before deciding to go for it. 

Pantheonimage

Pantheon offers a competitive price for Drupal hosting with uncompromisable performance. Makes your Drupal run faster, this hosting provider handles traffic spikes without any hiccups. Big names like Apigee, Tableau rely on it and stands strong based on user reviews. Offering in-built dev, staging and live environments, it is developer friendly provider helping them deploy code securely, using a continuous integration workflow. Its most popular plan starts from $114/month and is apt for traffic-intensive websites.

 

Sitegroundimage

Siteground hosting provider is tailored as per your Drupal website needs. Well backed by Drupal experts, the plan comes with an easier start, alongwith 1-click Drupal install and no-downtime for your website. Here’s a list of its amazing features:

  • 30 daily backup of website
  • 100% security from attacks
  • 24/7 uptime monitoring
  • Latest technology hardware used
  • 24*7 Drupal expert support available

It offers affordable hosting plans starting from $3.95/month. 

AWS offers a cloud hosting platform for your Drupal website. Its extensive computing power and faster content delivery can help your businesses scale and grow rapidly. It offers various services to host Drupal 8 in a distributed environment.

It is considered best for medium to large enterprises. You can check the pricing details here and use the calculator to see if the cost suits your budget.

A2hostingimageHigh powered hosting to meet your needs, it offers 20 times faster speed for your Drupal website at four affordable plans for shared, reseller, VPS and dedicated server hosting. It is optimized for speed and performance, with Drupal being pre-installed with every hosting plan. Here’s a highlight of what it offers:

  • Fast servers for a supreme user experience
  • Friendly and knowledgeable support team available 24/7/365
  • Completely risk free money back guarantee
  • 99.9% uptime commitment

While there are numerous providers for hosting a site and some of them appearing just tailor made specific to unique needs of Drupal sites, if you need assistance in deciding which one suits your needs, contact us. Experts at Srijan can guide you to opt for the best hosting solution as per your Drupal needs.

Topics: Drupal, Cloud, Planet Drupal, Enterprises

Prepping Up For Apigee Developer Portal Migration To Drupal 8

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Dec 31, 2019 4:07:39 PM

As APIGEE end of support for Drupal 7 in May 2020 is combined with Drupal 7 end of life in Nov 2021, developer portal are not left with many choices - migrate to Drupal 8 or continue with Apigee’s integrated portals. 

For a custom Drupal 7 developer portal, migrating to Drupal 8 comes as a natural choice. In this blog we will understand why it is so important and what should be on your checklist while migrating to Drupal 8.

Benefits of Migrating Your Developer Portal to Drupal 8 

With continued effort of the Drupal community for its long-term sustainability and more effortless adoption, complete re-architecturing of Drupal 8 has made it different from the previous migrations. There are many ways why Drupal 7 can put your developer portal at risk

Drupal 8 with its performance-enhancing features and modules can turn your developer portal into a speedy and high performing one. Let’s look at what makes Drupal 8 the best version to be on:

  • Drupal 8’s adoption of Symfony framework has made it all the more better. Symfony’s robust, flexible and high-performance framework allows for easy scalability of a website.
  • BigPipe Caching lets you segregate your page into different sections which gets rendered as they become available, enhancing website’s performance and speed.

Source: specbee

  • Drupal 8 is PHP7 ready, which is twice as fast as PHP 5.6. It is capable of enhancing the performance of your developer portal to about 110%, with reduced memory usage.
  • Talking about Drupal 8 themes, they are responsive, making your developer portal look great on almost any device. 
  • Drupal 8 is equipped with CKEditor, which lets you preview your entered content quickly as well as an in-place editor that lets you edit blocks, content, menus, etc. right on the same page.
  • SEO will not be a concern anymore. Drupal 8’s built-in powerful SEO modules, like SEO Checklist, PathAuto, Redirect, and MetaTag can help boost your developer portal’s SEO. 
  • Not to forget about Drupal 8’s out-of-the-box multilingual support, which can help boost language-based views of your developer portal.

Planning Your Migration - Your To Do Checklist

It is important to follow the best approach for the migration process. Having spent too much time on building the right content for your developer portal, you would not want to drop your stats without a proper plan. Content migration becomes a significant decision for your business. 

When you think of developer portal migration to Drupal 8, you need to look into enhancements to the front-end features such as smartDocs API reference documentation, theme editor enhancements, default portal theme and content enhancements, quick start and how developer accounts are managed using the developer identity service.

To ease the process of migration, maximum time should be spent on planning. If properly administered, this will further bring down the number of hours spent on the actual migration. Though content migration is a tedious task, however, strategizing it well in advance will make the developers smoothly execute the process.

One would need one of these two steps to migrate their developer portal to Drupal 8:

 

  1. For minimal custom implementations on Drupal 7 portal, have Apigee Developer Portal Kickstart ready to migrate Drupal 7’s configuration and content.
  2. Follow custom migration approach for heavy customizations of Drupal 7 portal. For this, Apigee Edge module can help in connecting Drupal 8 Portal to Apigee and use Drupal 8 Migration API to migrate the Drupal 7 implementations to Drupal 8 Portal.

 

Now, let’s take a look at the pointers to consider before migration:

 

  • Take Backup

It is always a good practice to take a backup of your entire website before starting with the migration process. This can be done with the help of Backup and Migrate module to create a database dump to save all your Drupal database tables into a single file download, to be later used for restoring at a later stage. 

Enabling Backup and Migrate Module

  1. Navigate to Administer > Modules
  2. Select Backup and Migrate in the Other block
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Configuration

Configuring Backup and Migrate Module

  1. Navigate to Administer > Configuration > System > Backup and Migrate
  2. Download a backup of the default (Drupal) database by clicking Backup now. 

It is recommended to download a backup prior to updating or installing modules.

Backup to Server

Create a private directory to store backups on the server by following the below 3 steps:

  1. Navigate to Administer > Configuration > Media > File System
  2. In the Private file system path field enter sites/default/files/private
  3. Click Save configuration

 

  • Quick Roundup of Functionality and Content Check

Having a quick yet thorough check of the website for the entire set of features and functionalities of your developer portal will give you an idea of moving on from irrelevant ones. Do check if you want to drop off with any content or content types post analyzing them. This is the time when the need for new content types arises.

Like content types, it is important to figure out which of these fields should be migrated. You should check which of the fields are important in your existing site and which of them are no longer relevant for the new site. Examine the number of users logging in, reviews, ratings, views and other taxonomy terms too.

In this way, you get a chance to completely revamp the architecture of your website.

  • Move Content Securely

Migrating web content is an integral business decision where you must take precautions to avoid any security breach or data theft. Ensuring your database and development infrastructure is up-to-date with the latest upgrade, wiping out all your data including user accounts from database infrastructure and not sending database dump via unsafe channels are few things which need to be kept in mind.

  • Prepare a Backup Plan for Theme Mismatch

Up until Drupal 7, PHPTemplate has been the default Drupal Theme engine. But Drupal 8 uses Twigs (part of Symfony2 framework) to render pages in a highly flexible and secure way. It won’t allow your existing (D7) theme to port directly to D8. Note that no single module can move your existing theme to Drupal 8.

Upon migrating the developer portal, custom CSS styles will be overwritten. So the new default theme needs to be applied along with custom CSS styles manually post migration.

  • Search Modules upon Migration

Drupal 7 core modules and many contributed modules are now available in Drupal 8 core. While most of them are automatically upgraded, a few modules will need manual upgrade as they are not mapped to the same Drupal 8 module or are now segregated into different modules. 

Due to Drupal 8’s revamped architecture, if you’re unable to find a particular contributed module in Drupal 8, you can:

  • Simply archive the module’s data, or
  • Find a similar community module sharing common functionality, or
  • Hire a developer and get a custom module built with the required functionality

However, when it comes to custom modules, you need to port them in Drupal 8. You can hire Drupal developers who can help you with porting the modules.

 

All you need to do the following things before migrating the developer portal to Drupal 8: 

 

  1. Prepare the Migration script for Drupal 8 considering the number of developers on Drupal 7 portal, capturing all the custom field data attached to a user entity. Do a parity check on Drupal 7 portal users with the new Drupal 8 portal and list all the extra fields needed to be created on the new portal. Migration script should execute avoiding the API call to Apigee to update a developer.
  2. Sync Developer apps and developer API products with Drupal 8 via Apigee Contributed module. If there are any custom attributes attached to app or API products as dependent, this should be processed via custom migration script.
  3. Migrate Open API spec’s documentation content on developer portal to Drupal 8 Portal via Drupal 8’s Apigee Catalog module or DevPortal Module. Migration script should write the documentation pages to new Drupal 8 portal, based on the option chosen to present doc’s on Drupal 8 Portal.
  4. Migrate any other monetization related configuration (triggering get or post data to Apigee) to Drupal 8 via custom migration script. 
  5. Implement customization done on contributed Apigee Devconnect module newly on Drupal 8 Portal and the data related to this implementation should be processed via migration script.

Wrapping it up

Migrating your developer portal to the latest version is a difficult decision to make. However, it proves to be a brilliant decision once you get a secure, accessible, modern, and responsive website, which suits your needs and stays compatible with updates for years.

For a successful migration that keeps in mind all these steps, you'll need to work with experienced developers. Our team of experts can help you in migrating your developer portal to Drupal 8 to future proof your digital presence, solve your queries around API security and provide a range of services around API designed with a strategy tailored to your success. Contact us today.

Topics: Drupal, Planet Drupal, APIGEE, API Management

Customized Progressive Web Apps Solution With Drupal

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Dec 9, 2019 5:40:47 PM

With users expecting reliable, fast and engaging experiences from apps they use, even a short lapse in loading time is convincing enough to move onto its next available alternative.

An app loses 20% of its users for every step between the user’s first interaction until the user starts to use the app.

Nowadays, Progressive Web Apps are offering higher customer engagement bringing better mobile experience, thus offering better business financial gains than the native apps. Drupal proves to be a great platform for creating PWAs. Let’s understand the what and why of PWAs and how native-app like experience can be delivered on your Drupal site.

What are PWAs?

Progressive Web Apps combine the best of the worlds of mobile and web functionality. With application-like interface, PWAs offer the same engaging experience of a native app, but with the convenience of a web browser.

PWAs are quick, don’t need to be installed and once added to a smartphone home screen, they continue to upgrade silently in the background. It would not be wrong to say that they are web pages which ‘live’ on a user’s home screen.

pwa infographic

Unlike an app, a user doesn’t necessarily need to find, download and install a PWA. They can immediately start using a PWA upon finding it.

Here’s a quick round up of its amazing features:

  1. Device independent: They can work on any device, taking advantage of existing features available on the device and browser.
  2. Responsive: PWAs are responsive and fit the device screen size.
  3. Appearance: A PWA looks exactly like a native app, and is built on the application shell model, with minimal page refreshes.
  4. Instantly Available: A PWA can be installed on the home screen, making it readily available.
  5. Secure: Because PWAs reside on a user’s home screen, they are made to be extremely safe by hosting over HTTPS to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.

You can take a feel of PWA yourself by navigating to mobile.twitter.com and access the fast and responsive PWA of Twitter, which has the capability to work even offline.

example of PWA for twitter

How Does PWAs Benefit?


Native apps have been useful for eCommerce conversion as they are known to perform 20% better than websites. However, they are costly to create and are a risky investment as they need to be found in an app store, downloaded, installed and then used.

Here’s a typical consumer app funnel for native apps:

This graph clearly shows there’s a 10–30% dropoff in every step starting from finding the app in the app store to sharing it in the network.

gartner prediction for PWA by 2020

Gartner predicts that progressive web apps will replace 50% of general-purpose, consumer-facing mobile applications by 2020.

PWAs have an edge over native apps in terms of boosting user retention as a user prefers easy to use less data consuming app with improved performance and usability, rather than its website. As per Google Developers, the conversion rates for AliExpress and Safari increased by 104% and 82%, respectively, upon using PWAs.

Housing.com opted for PWA to increase their average page-load time to bring a significant boost in the conversion rate. Also, poor connectivity and the prevalence of low-end devices was hindering its growth.

housing.com example

The development team of Housing.com then built a PWA called Housing Go, which helped a 38% increase in total conversions, with visitors spending 10% longer on the site, many of them returning often.

But should every web app be a Progressive Web App? And if yes, even a native app functions similarly. Then what’s so unique about PWAs?

To decide whether to go for PWA or not, it is important to identify your customer base and their action trends. The needs should be analysed before opting for PWA, such as cross browser support, most often used functionality which needs to be facilitated in offline mode.

How Do PWAs Work?

Developers can create this functionality with the help of Service Worker and Web App Manifest specification.

pwa working

Source: Bluechili.com

The 3 components of a PWA are:

App Shell: App shell is stored and served from the cache and provides HTML, javascript and CSS to power your application UI.

Service Worker stores the resources in the browser cache when the page loads for the first time. It returns the response to the user post checking the cache when the user visits the app next time. A component of JavaScript code, it manages push notifications and helps build a web application which can work offline.

Web Manifest is a config JSON file which has the metadata of the icon for the installed app, related background color, and theme of the site when downloaded.

Adding Progressive Web App Functionality To Drupal Through React

For Drupal 7 websites, the functionality can be implement by simply enabling the Progressive Web App module. For Drupal 8, one needs to customize service workers apps and apply an easy patch (check the issue). Once done, then go to admin/config/system/pwa and configure the settings. This will implement the 'Add to homescreen' functionality to your website as shown below:

pwa add to homescreen

Add to home screen option available on the website

Though PWA can be developed with front end frameworks like Angular, React, etc., we at Srijan make it possible by creating custom blocks using Drupal 8 Block API. This can be done by embedding React JS application file in its library file.

This way, we place our react block on required space on the same Drupal page, so the entire page doesn’t have to be React or Drupal only. 

The advantage of using this approach is that it doesn’t unnecessarily increase the load of the application, and makes it load quickly and smoothly. Also, it doesn’t hamper SEO rankings.


We help ambitious enterprises modernize their web experience and build digital solutions. Contact us today to explore the possibilities and get the conversation started.

Topics: Drupal, Architecture, User Experience and User Interface

Why Should Your Organization Opt for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Nov 29, 2019 1:29:00 PM

Businesses are getting rid of keeping data in traditional data centers and physical servers and are migrating to innovative and reliable cloud technologies. With several benefits of cloud computing including anytime data access, enhanced disaster recovery, improved flexibility and reduced infrastructure staff burden, enterprises are developing more cost-efficient applications with higher performance and more effortless scalability.

IaaS, one such cloud computing model, has made lives of both enterprises and developers simpler by reducing their burden of thinking about infrastructure.

But, how do enterprises know if they need to opt-in for IaaS?

Understanding Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS refers to the cloud services offered over a network allowing businesses to access their infrastructure remotely. A perfect fit for any size enterprise, it offers the advantage of not having to buy hardware or other equipment, and easily manage firewalls, IP addresses, servers, routers, load balancing, virtual desktop hosting, storage, and much more, cost-effectively through a scalable cloud model.

It gives organizations the flexibility to spend only for the services used, which gives an edge to IaaS cloud computing over traditional on-premise resources. The businesses find it easier to scale by paying per usage from an unlimited pool of computing resources instead of wasting resources on new hardware.

Understanding Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Why Opt For IaaS Cloud Model?

IaaS is beneficial for organizations for a number of reasons. Let’s discuss its benefits in detail-

Usage of Virtual Resources

Your organization might never have to think of investing in resources such as CPU cores, hard disk or storage space, RAM, virtual network switches, VLANs, IP addresses and more, giving you the feeling of owning a virtual datacenter.

It allows multiple users to access a single hardware anywhere and anytime over an internet connection, keeping their users on the move. And in case even if a server goes down or a hardware fails, its services aren’t affected, offering greater reliability.

Cost Savings With Pay-As-You-Go Pricing Model

With metered usage, enterprises need to pay for the time when the services were used and avoid fixed monthly and annual rental fees and any upfront charges. This is beneficial as it leads to lower infrastructure costs and also prevents them from having to buy more capacity to have a back-up for a sudden business spike. IaaS providers gives users an opportunity to purchase storage space, wherein they need to be careful as the pricing may differ with providers.

Highly Scalable, Flexible and Quicker

One of the greatest benefits of IaaS is the ability to scale up and down quickly in response to an enterprise’s requirements. IaaS providers generally have the latest, most powerful storage, servers and networking technology to accommodate the needs of their customers. This on-demand scalability provides added flexibility and greater agility to respond to changing opportunities and requirements. Also, with IaaS the process of time to market the product is much more fastened to get the job done.

High Availability

Business continuity and preparing for disaster recovery are the top drivers for adopting IaaS infrastructure. It remains a highly available infrastructure, and unlike the traditional hostings, even in case of a disaster, it offers its users the flexibility to access the infrastructure via an internet connection.

With a robust architecture and scalable infrastructure layer, organizations can consolidate their different disaster recovery systems into a virtualized environment for disaster recovery, for securing their data. This stands as the perfect use case for IaaS.

By outsourcing their infrastructure, organizations can focus their time and resources on innovation and developing new techniques in applications and solutions.

How Do You Choose Between IaaS, Containers or Serverless?

The next question you might have is how to make a choice between opting for IaaS cloud computing model, containers or serverless model?

Well, the one thing they all share in common is that they simplify the developer’s life by letting them focus only on generating code. Let’s look into the differences:



 

IaaS

Containers

Serverless

Features

Instantly available virtualized computing resources over the internet, eliminating the need of hardware 

Contains application and associated elements needed to run the application  properly with all dependencies

Broken up into functions and hosted by a third-party vendor

Use Case

Organizations can consolidate their disaster recovery systems into one virtualized environment for backup, securing data

Refactoring bigger monolithic application into smaller independent parts, eg: splitting a large application into a few separate services such as  user management, media conversion etc.

For applications which do not always need to be running.

Vendor Operability

Cloud vendor manages infrastructure

No vendor lock-in

Vendor lock-in

Pricing Model

Cheap

At least one VM instance with containers hosted is always running, hence costlier than serverless.

Pay for what you use; cost-effective

Maintenance

User responsible for patching and security hardening

Not maintained by cloud providers; developers are responsible for its maintenance

Nothing to manage

Web Technology Hosting

Can host any technology, Windows, Linux, any web server technology

Only Linux-based deployments

Not made for hosting web applications

Scalability

More

Less

More 

Deployment Time

Instantly available

Take longer to set up initially than serverless 

Take milliseconds to deploy

 

IaaS is the most flexible model and suits best to the needs of temporary, experimental and unexpected workloads. Srijan is an Advanced AWS Consulting Partner. Leveraging AWS’s vast repository of tools, we can help you choose the best option for outsourcing your infrastructure for you to achieve your business goals. Contact us to get started with your IaaS journey.

 

Topics: AWS, Cloud, Architecture

Avoiding Common Pitfalls During Vendor Selection

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Oct 25, 2019 3:22:44 PM

Choosing a service provider to get your job done is something which many of us do on a regular basis - at home or at the workplace. Whether it is choosing the right broadband provider, the vehicle insurance company as homeowners or choosing the right coffee vending machine. 

Selecting a vendor that can offer a solution to meet your software or service-related needs is as crucial as choosing a partner for your business. It is a critical decision for an organization as the right vendor will have a considerable impact on the success of your business, and a wrong one will be nothing more than a hindrance.

When Selecting Your Vendor

When choosing a vendor, it is necessary to ensure that both the vendor and you understand the business, outcomes, and expectations to avoid wastage of resources. 

The vendor selection criteria may vary depending upon the organization but it is a must to include them in the inventory management plan. 

1. Assess Your Requirement

Before choosing any vendor, first, analyse what your project or organization want from the vendor. Hiring a vendor can greatly reduce your operational cost and effort in creating the product by yourself. You should document what your expectations and needs are from your vendor. This will greatly benefit you to outline the benefits of hiring a vendor. Later on, when deciding on between vendors you can compare these expectations with their offerings so that you’re able to match what you need from them and what they can offer.

2. Check The Offered Product

Next, you will have to do your own research and identify which vendors can provide you with the right solution as per your requirement. Provide an introduction of your business, a summary of your requirement for a one-on-one discussion. Demo the products to gain insights by porting a sample of your company's data into the available products to test out the entire workflow and know whether it will work for your organization or not. This will give you a fair idea of what will the product offer and how the system would be integrated into your company's existing business processes. By this stage, after you test the product, you will be able to weed out vendors to understand their profitability for your business.

3. Ensure Product Complies With Security Standards

It is important to check whether the offered product complies with your organizations’ regulatory standards, in terms of how data is kept and stored. Ensure that the vendor takes up the onus of helping you with the security and regulatory compliance of the product.

4. Review Past Performance

When you’re done evaluating the right solution for your project that falls within your organization’s budget, you should consider investigating the past performance of your chosen vendor and take the final decision. Consult the online business references to see their past reviews. However, it’s possible the vendor you're looking is new and untested and may not have online reviews. In that case, you can ask for third-party referrals. And in cases where vendors do get negative reviews, it is important to see how professionally they deal with them. 

5. Total Cost Of Ownership

By now, you will be left with 3-4 vendors and you will be deciding to go with one of them post this crucial stage of judging the total cost of ownership involved. You will have final discussions with your shortlisted choices on the upfront costs involved and the long-term cost of maintenance. The costs should be compared with all competitive choices to evaluate they fall within the organization’s budget. Also, this is the right time to mention whether you’ve any special requirements and needs from the vendor. Provide as much information as possible so as to select the best vendor in terms of price and service.

It is a time-consuming process for the project manager to know which vendor will deliver the well-maintained, scalable product as promised and at an affordable cost. And no matter how much you strategize, you won’t know whether you found a reliable vendor, until you give them a chance to prove. And when you feel the decision makes good business sense as vendor delivers exactly what you’re looking for, you need to nurture the relationship with them as you do with your employees.

Topics: Project Management, Enterprises

3 Most Common Mistakes To Avoid While Migrating To Cloud

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Oct 25, 2019 3:00:39 PM

As we mark the onset of 2020, 85% of enterprise workloads will be a cloud-based, says Forbes. 

But, rather easier said than done, migrating to the cloud is quite a challenging task, which might make you rollback entirely in case of any pitfalls, putting to waste the time and efforts.

However, the complex task of migration can be simplified by thorough planning and evaluation. Let’s look into the three most common mistakes which can be avoided easily.

1. Not Enough Research When Planning the Cloud Provider 

The decision to implement the right cloud provider is crucial to the success of migration. Hence, the decision should be taken wisely, considering your application demands, scalability and flexibility needs and meet compliance considerations.

It is not just essential to bring the business-critical applications to the cloud, but also find a future-proof solution to map future growth. Hence, it is advised to conduct a detailed study on existing IT infrastructure needs and identify a suitable cloud service provider accordingly. 

Due to yearly commitments with a vendor, this may result in long lock-in periods which may not give the flexibility to change later on. Hence, for a seamless migration, it is important to determine all these factors at an initial stage.

mistakes_migrating_to_cloud

2. Migration Without Right Resources

Cloud migration can be quite overwhelming for organizations, leaving them completely dependent on cloud service providers. 

In-house cloud experts may handle the applications in the right manner and help in the smooth migration. They are responsible for taking important decisions such as opting to move low impact web applications rather than critical applications and eliminate any possible impediments. They are the first to secure applications from any vulnerability as leakage of any confidential information can cost millions. 

Cloud-experts are responsible for developing a proper proof of concept (POC) demonstrating what is aimed out of the entire migration process. Outlining the entire process will allow any unexpected issues or errors to be investigated as well as resolved and will also help in optimizing cost. 

3. Not Sufficient Cloud Migration Knowledge

It is mandatory to possess the right knowledge on migration, as not every application can be simply be migrated to the cloud. It might just require structure re-architecting. It is important to differentiate between the two and analyze when exactly to rehost or refactor, as reverting back can be extremely costly. 

mistakes_while_migrating

It is important to consider strong internet connection for the complete migration as cloud computing revolves around the web. Considering that the gradual transition to the cloud might mitigate risks and will make the migration process simpler is a myth. Transition can only be simpler when enterprises make the shift swiftly and focus on early adoption as the sooner the new platform is migrated, the lingering questions are solved in less time.

Also, the data protection needs to be taken into account and still needs to be protected even if the cloud provider is compliant with HIPAA and PDI DSS. The first thing to do post cloud migration is to secure the data.

Even though adopting cloud technology is a step to prevent from falling behind the league, organisations need to create resilient strategies to future-proof the entire migration process. There’s a need to understand that rushing in the process is no solution, even though the cloud migration process seems much favorable to avoid unwanted issues. It is better to understand the nitty-gritty and then execute the process with the right resources.

Contact us and we’ll help you understand the in and out of cloud migration as per your business needs.

Topics: Cloud

Open API Economy - Right Time For Banks To Flourish

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Oct 25, 2019 2:39:38 PM

Banking and financial institutions are experiencing some drastic changes with the introduction of API in the Fintech ecosystem. So much so, that the APIs are termed as key enablers to create new value chains and empowering owners of financial data.

While this has accentuated the opportunities for delivering more customer-centric services, regulations and directives are disrupting the understanding and decisions. Let’s understand if it is the right time for retail and corporate banks to opt for API centric ecosystem?

Rising Trends in the Banking Industry

The open API economy is accelerating competition and innovation within the banking industry by creating new demands for banks’ business strategies. It is creating a wave for leading future banks to focus on their end customers and deliver new products and services through collaboration with business units within or outside a bank, across the industry to accelerate their market position.

Europe has taken the lead in API banking space with the Payment Services Directive(PSD2), directed to regulate payment services in the European Union and European Economic Area. It aims to increase pan-European competition and non-banks participation in the payments industry for increased consumer protection for online payments with strong customer authentication. PSD2 has been implemented to prohibit the use of non-transparent pricing methods for international payments to make the customer aware of the real costs involved.

The new regulation will, therefore, help to make international payments as straightforward and secure and will be more competitive offering greater choice for consumers. Its purpose of building a clear and comprehensive set of rules to existing and new providers of payment services will ensure greater efficiency, choice and transparency in a harmonised payment market.

open-api-economy

This digital market trend of open APIs will reduce costs of operation through higher competition, and bring about a new host of products and services through innovation leading to improved customer experience, increased transparency, modernize legacy technology, meet regulatory requirements, and generate new revenue. Banks will witness fragmentation with new competitors entering the market and potentially disintermediation from their customers.

Market disruption, client evolution and regulatory changes in open banking revolution are clear signs in banking and corporate world that customers are being presented with the high-end competition, innovation, and payment mechanisms. 

The Modern Era of Open APIs and Microservices

With the emergence of open API economy, there is a gigantic increase in the number of new entrants entering the financial services markets. Banks are opting for API-first strategies to define their business model, by facilitating their customers to have on-demand products and services. 

Financial Technologies (or simply referred as FinTechs) have disintermediated banks where end-consumers are confident in engaging with a variety of financial transactions, lending or depositing. Bigger technology giants too are advancing their game in the financial services business and exploring the possibilities by entering the payments market and preparing for further disruption.

open-api-economy

Open API banking has lead to an interesting era of banking transformation. Now, banks are adopting short- to long-term strategies to accelerate value delivery through FinTech partnerships. 

However, for its foreseen successful adoption, banks would need to establish the right operating model to drive profitability, ensuring that security standards are conformed with changing business model. As non-banks start accounting for most chunk of customer interaction, banks may find it difficult to differentiate themselves from them and convince customers to buy their services. Hence they would need to refine their data strategy to ensure its maximum leverage.

The banks are adopting microservices-based architecture for application development. It is an approach to which a large application is built as a group of modular services (with a specific business goal) which communicate with each other through open APIs using a well-defined interface. They have the ability to assemble as required to deliver complex functionality, and can scale independently.

The benefit of building microservice-based digital banking solutions is that the entire system won’t be down if one service fails. 

Microservices has brought down monolithic-based applications, focussing more on building agile and scalable solutions. Companies have started shifting towards agile delivery and devops as they would want to move from struggling with legacy applications holding back digital acceleration and innovation. 

This is the time when open API banking combined with microservices-based architecture will define success for banks.

Microservices based web applications are more agile, resilient and scalable. In the current scenario, when banks are seeking to accelerate the digital value propositions at lightning speed for flawless customer experience, opting for microservices approach is the fastest way to accelerate this transformation.

However, banks would need to strategize and will have to rethink their operational support, delivery methodology, and required skills to upgrade its people, process, and technology to enhance their core offerings.

The rising open API economy represents a great opportunity to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly complex and customer-centric marketplace. Despite the strategic and operational challenges, leading corporate and retail banks should realize that the time to act is now.

Topics: Financial Services, API Management

Create Once Publish Everywhere with Drupal

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Oct 25, 2019 2:30:06 PM

Long gone are the days, when cellphones were used just for calling purposes and desktops were switched on to browse the web. Today, information and entertainment can be accessed from anywhere and from any device.

According to Pew Research, over 95% of people currently own a cell phone, out of which more than 70% are smartphone users.

Users expect the best possible accessibility and functionality no matter what platform they're on. Let’s understand how Drupal solves the challenges inherent to this evolving model of content consumption with the concept of Create Once Publish Everywhere.

Understanding the Approach

COPE is a content management technique allowing content creators to add content in one place and repurpose it multiple times for different mediums.

It is important for enterprises to manipulate their content strategy as customers engage with the content they’re interested in across different touch points as per their needs.

So it’s beneficial to consider COPE approach while developing a web application. This revolutionary concept allows a considerable amount of work to be done in minimal time, effort and resources.

 

Marketers need to strategize for publishing content to this huge list of channels by treating content more like data. It’s no use conceptualizing content in the form of html pages, as this doesn’t apply to all forms of content available today. For example, through a smart speaker, you can book airline tickets, book a cab or pay your bills easily. The interaction with this conversational UI cannot be displayed through an html page as it has no visual display or screen.

It is important to understand that a smart speaker and a website do not understand and respond to the content in the same way.

Streamlining their ability in reaching out to their customers on their preferred device will allow enterprises to better scale their marketing efforts. Instead of html, enterprises need to transition towards structured content model by organizing digital content into independent fields so as to incorporate COPE across numerous channels.

On the other hand, the structured content approach could complicate an organization's digital strategy. This can lead to over dependence on Drupal as the platform for content distribution.

Drupal’s Solution to COPE

Drupal can provide a solution for your enterprise for content distribution to multiple channels by powering every instance of your digital system by adopting an API-first architecture.

Through API-first technique, the central web service would interact with a variety of applications to exchange data over a network. Drupal allows the API-first approach while decoupling the front end and using another cutting edge technology for the presentation.

Enterprises may implement a decoupled strategy to leverage Drupal as a service layer to drive complex digital ecosystems, or to provide front end teams with popular JavaScript framework capabilities or to use Drupal to power data to multiple touchpoints.

Drupal can provide the right solution to every problem, and an API-first approach could work when it is necessary to utilize technologies outside of the Drupal context.

Drupal gives the ability to make COPE a reality by providing the following:

  • Fields - to present different information such as image, video, product, text, select list, etc on the website
  • Content types - to make data more atomic for reuse
  • Views - to create lists of content curated by content type
  • Entity reference - to dynamically pull content from one page into another
  • View modes - to present the information in different formats on different pages
  • Services - to make information available to apps and feeds

API-first or decoupled architecture is considered among the most popular solution to create flawless digital experiences. The approach gives developers the flexibility to innovate as well as ensure future-proof builds that don’t require re-creating the entire feature.

Big names like Netflix have benefited from the decoupled approach in publishing content to every device which a user uses.

Drupal’s Distribution : Contenta

It’s often a challenge for non-drupalers to go for decoupled Drupal and enjoy the benefits of COPE as programming with decoupled Drupal is only for Drupal developers.

But, now the Drupal community has come up with a way to make it easier for them to leverage the power of decoupled drupal hassle free with Contenta.

Contenta is a stable API-first Drupal distribution adapted to make lives of non-Drupalers simpler and help them leverage Drupal 8’s outstanding capability for building decoupled application. With the help of built-in kits assembled with needed tools and configuration and demos, it can help to create cutting-edge apps in almost no time. After all decoupled Drupal should benefit everyone to its full potential.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KiMgk4wx2c

Keeping in mind the expertise in the subject, Contenta is simple and easy to use along with easy to understand documentation to refer for help and is fully-equipped to build an entire decoupled application without any external help or dependency on a front-end technology.

You can take up any front-end technology to go for with Contenta. So if you’re a front-end developer and are in search of a powerful back-end CMS for that impressive app that you’re planning to develop, you’ll just need to install Contenta and see for the out-of-the-box collection of your preferred front-end powered app examples that Contenta delivers by default.

Srijan teams can help you empower your marketing ability to reach out to enlarged list of customers and leverage Contenta to build decoupled applications for your enterprise. Reach out to us with your requirements and let our experts work on your needs.

Topics: Drupal, Planet Drupal

Why Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the answer to high-performance hosting

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Sep 24, 2019 3:10:00 PM

Running, compiling or configuring your web application on a single virtual server instance can be complex as well as time-consuming.

However, with new technologies emerging and evolving, the entire cloud computing process is getting simplified.

Let’s understand how Forbes has termed Platform as a Service (PaaS) to be the dominant cloud service model and why it stands as the best suited solution for your high-performance hosting needs.

Understanding Platform as a Service

PaaS service delivery model has evolved from Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud offering. It allows the customer to make use of virtualized servers by not purchasing them directly but renting it so as to design, develop, test, deploy and host a web application.

PaaS vendors offer the following along with the cloud offering:

  1. Specific software development tools such as source code editor, a debugger, a compiler, and other essential tools which developers needs to build their application.
  2. Middleware which acts as an intermediate between user-facing applications and the machine's operating system.
  3. Operating system for developers to build an application.
  4. Databases to store data and for developers to administer and maintain them.
  5. Infrastructure to manage servers, storage, and physical data centers.
paas-offerings

Why choose PaaS over IaaS and SaaS?

Before comparing PaaS with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and SaaS, it is important to understand what each service means and how it helps users achieve their goals.

Let’s understand each one by comparing them with modes of transportation.

On- premises IT infrastructure is like owning a car. When you own a car, you take the responsibility for its maintenance.

IaaS is like renting a car. You choose the car as per your own preference and drive it wherever you wish. And when you think of upgrade, you can simply rent a different car. SaaS is like taking a public transport, wherein you share your ride with other fellow passengers with a common route.

However, PaaS can be thought of opting for a cab, wherein you don’t drive the car by yourself, but pay the driver to take you to your destination.understanding-cloud-offeringsNow after understanding what each means, let’s compare IaaS, PaaS and SaaS on the basis of what service you manage (✔) and what you don’t (╳).

Services

IaaS

PaaS

SaaS

Applications

Data

Runtime

Middleware

Operating System

 Virtualization 

Server

Storage

Networking

Examples

(AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure

AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Google App Engine

Gmail, Google docs, GoToMeeting

 

As per Gartner, global public cloud services market is expected to grow to over $383 billion by 2020.Global Market of Public Cloud Services

Perfectly suited for software developers, PaaS helps them deploy applications and test and manage them without needing all the related infrastructure.

It’s very different from the traditional forms of web hosting like shared or Virtual Private Server hosting, wherein the developer has to take up the responsibility of ensuring the production environment is good enough to host their application and set up the application server, database, run-time platform, set up server configuration and many more, before beginning to code.

With HTTP caching servers, PaaS ensures faster application loading and eliminates issues like latency and downtime even if one server goes down. Applications can be deployed to the servers with a single command. It is useful for high-traffic websites (when your server may be under heavy load) which have performance issues in a shared environment.

PaaS can be thought of as a multi-server high performance solution which virtually distributes the web traffic across multiple terminals, keeping your site performance at peak.

High speed hosting services not only improves the user experience of your site, but they also have a positive impact on search engine ranking and users are likely to stay longer on the site as the site speed and resource delivery will be quick.

Here are 5 advantages that PaaS offers over other cloud offerings:

1. Helps Build Applications Quickly
PaaS allows developers to build applications quickly than they would possibly build, configure, and provision with their own platforms and backend infrastructure. With PaaS vendors providing web servers, storage, networking resources, it allows them to gain instant access to a complete software development environment, without any need of configuring or maintaining them and focus mainly on delivering projects speedily.

2. Minimal Development and Cost-Effective Approach

PaaS services offer templates and code libraries to allow rapid development by providing prebuilt backend infrastructure and other resources. It offers new capabilities to your in-house development team without hiring additional staff, thereby reducing costs associated with development in building applications from scratch.

3. Easy Collaboration on Pre-Built Sophisticated Tools
PaaS offers advantage over traditional hosting in a way it lets developers in distributed teams to collaborate. It allows them to create applications using pre-built software otherwise expensive development tools to develop, test and reiterate.

4. Scalability and Future-Proofing

The reusable code not only facilitates easy app development and deployment but also increases the opportunity for scalability. This allows businesses to scale and modify their product or processes efficiently and focus on core business initiatives rather than maintaining underlying IT infrastructure.

5. Cross-Language Support

PaaS cloud services support developers to build applications on multiple programming languages.

How is PaaS different from Serverless Computing?

PaaS and serverless computing are similar in a way where a developer has to worry about working on code, and the vendor handles all backend processes. However, it is different from serverless computing as mentioned in the below table:

Features

Serverless Computing

PaaS

Scale

Automatically scales

Will not scale unless programmed

Startup time

Instantaneous

Is running most of the time to be available to users

Offerings

Do not provide development tools/frameworks

Provides development tools/frameworks

Pricing Model

Precise

Not precise

Any demerits?

However, before taking the decision to opt for PaaS process, it is important to understand your business needs in order to find a solution that is a good fit.

Firstly, the decision for PaaS providers should be taken wisely as you might not be able to switch the vendor after an application is built. Each vendor may not support the same languages, libraries, APIs, architecture, or operating system used to build and run applications. Although it is possible to switch PaaS providers, the process can be time consuming and may even result in rebuilding the application to fit the new platform.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the external vendor will store most or all of an application’s data, along with hosting its code and may actually store the databases via a third party. So it is important to test the security measures of the service provider and you should know their security and compliance protocols before making the decision.

Srijan can help you take the truly strategic option of opting for PaaS out of various options, so as to potentially deliver more with better functionality. Contact us to get the conversation started.

Topics: Cloud, Agile, Architecture

Headless Drupal - What it means for marketers

Posted by Kimi Mahajan on Sep 17, 2019 3:56:00 PM

If your website is on the right CMS, it becomes easy to create marketing campaigns, drive leads, and tell your brand’s story to the world. However, making content available on every new device in the market accessible to a user becomes a challenge for marketers.

Headless Drupal may sound exactly what a marketer needs - a platform that helps content reach any device a user uses. Yet, there are some significant problems that it poses to the marketer. Let’s understand them in detail.

Revisiting Headless Drupal

A traditional Drupal has a back-end (stores the content) and front-end (which decides the delivery of that content). Now as there is no limit to devices accessible to users, brands need to go beyond just delivering content on websites and web apps.

With a pure headless CMS, tightly coupled front-end is removed, and it delivers content through an API anywhere and on any device (commonly referred to as API-first).

Headless Drupal offers faster functioning than traditional Drupal and offers highly responsive and fast websites ensuring rich user experience.

When the user interface is decoupled from the CMS, the logic for displaying content on each device is on the front-end and its native tools are responsible for controlling the user experience.

How Headless Benefits Marketers?

It is important for marketers to be where their customers are and send the right communication, on the right channel, at the right time. Here are the 3 benefits of headless Drupal to marketers:

1. Platform Independent Communication

Headless Drupal CMS offers great flexibility to marketers as they can deliver one piece of content in multiple formats – to a desktop, smartphone, app, VR devices, smart speakers, and smart appliances. It saves marketers a lot of time previously spent creating and optimizing content for different devices.

2. Freedom on Content Display
Marketers prefer to use headless as it offers choice over how your content appears on the frontend, with extra security over traditional Drupal. JavaScript frameworks has gained more traction due to the demand for more flexibility in the front end. Its emphasis on client-side rendering offers a more engaging and dynamic user experience.

3. The Faster, The Better
Decoupled Drupal is also faster as the logic for displaying the content is decided by the front-end interface. As marketers are in a constant urge to impress the existing customers and at the same time attract new ones, a faster site helps them in engaging with customers as fast as possible.

Why it is Not Marketers’ First Choice?

Though headless Drupal has been beneficial for developers, but is it valuable to marketers as well? Below are the reasons why marketers, despite its advantages, don’t prefer to go for headless Drupal.

1. No Preview Available

With no presentation layer in a headless Drupal, marketers are not able to create and edit content with a WYSIWYG editor as they would with the traditional Drupal. The most challenging part is they can’t preview their content before publishing to their audience.

2. Dependency on Developers

With headless Drupal, development teams can create a custom-built front-end to customize the layout and entire design of individual pages.

The marketers will have to be fully dependent on developers to carry out tasks for conversion optimization purposes, which proves to be an inefficient solution for them.

3. Marketers Have to Manage Fragmented Environment

Today’s marketers have to engage with their audience in real-time, publish content in line with the latest trends, launch landing pages, deploy microsites, track progress, monitor data, collaborate with advertising campaigns, and much more.

A headless Drupal makes the marketers manage content workflows, form building, and microsite deployments. Managing everything at such a huge scale, soon creates an expensive and hard to manage ecosystem. Not only it complicates the life of a marketer, it also gets in the way of creating a seamless and connected customer experience.

4. Impacts the SEO

Marketers lose standard SEO functionality on adopting headless Drupal for their content strategy and will eventually have to invest additional time and cost for Drupal SEO development.

What It Means For Marketers?

Marketers can consider going for decoupling Drupal when they want to publish the content on more than one platform such as multiple websites, various front-end devices or when they need real-time updates of a site where performance would be killed by using traditional Drupal.

However, if their requirement is to manage a responsive website, headless Drupal won’t be beneficial and will slow down time to market. And, also the costs involved are too high.

Solution For Marketers - Progressive Decoupling

Decoupled Drupal loosely separates the back-end from the front-end, creating an architecture which serves perfectly to both developers and marketers simultaneously.

As a marketer, you can benefit by its user-friendliness and the API-driven omnichannel delivery capabilities. The content layer separated from the presentation layer allows marketers to have an authoring experience that feels familiar. The presentation layer above the API layer allows for seamless integration and blending of different tools and technologies.

So to conclude, headless Drupal isn’t for everyone, and in many cases sticking with a traditional CMS or choosing decoupled Drupal is the best option.

If considering decoupled Drupal strategy seems intimidating, Srijan can help you connect with the experts to help drive your marketing strategy with it. Contact us to get the best out of Drupal.

Topics: Drupal, Planet Drupal, MarTech, Architecture

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