In recent years, the cloud has had a profound impact across the world. Where previously organizations would provision expensive data centers to host applications for their staff and customers, now everyone has an unlimited amount of computing power and scalability within the cloud. This has had a particularly profound impact on marketers as deploying technology and services has become easier than ever for both production and experimentation.
One company at the center of this revolution is Bitnami, headquartered in San Francisco, California. Bitnami builds a range of “stacks” that make it simple for people to choose an application or technology (such as WordPress, Drupal, SugarCRM, Mautic, or others) and deploy it to the cloud (or platforms) of their choice. Bitnami has, for all intents-and-purposes, opened up the cloud and applications to audiences where it was previously unavailable.
Bitnami was co-founded by Daniel Lopez and Erica Brescia in Seville, Spain. Brescia just so happens to be my wife and given that the company has been going from strength to strength, I sat down with her to share more about Bitnami and how it can help marketers.
An Expansion of Focus
While Bitnami may be rocking the cloud today, the story didn’t quite start out that way. Historically, Bitnami were previously known as BitRock and primarily built installers that software companies could use to install software more easily.
“At BitRock, we saw first-hand how impactful having a great installation experience was for our Independent Software Vendor (ISV) clients. They often saw their installation-related support requests cut in half and huge improvements in the number of times their software was downloaded,” she says.
Brescia and Lopez both sniffed opportunity in the air, particularly as the cloud was gaining traction both with adoption and technical capabilities.
“These insights from BitRock led us to build out the Bitnami catalog, starting first with native installers, then virtual machine images, and eventually cloud images as cloud computing services such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) became more popular.”
Of course, the technology space hasn’t stood still and now the industry is increasingly excited about so-called “containers” (methods of splitting up different pieces of technology) that make your infrastructure even more scalable and flexible.
Bitnami is unsurprisingly providing containerized images for key container technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes.
Experimentation and Agility
As infrastructure technology such as the cloud and containers have evolved, this has not just offered benefits for scaling out systems and services, but it provides an environment where organizations can more easily experiment and play with technology.
As with any new technology, the early days of the cloud have seen some fragmentation, but Bitnami has played a key role in mitigating these issues.
“One of the benefits of using Bitnami is that you get a consistent environment across all of the different deployment formats that we provide,” she says.
“A marketer can start by installing an app on their local machine and then get exactly that same application stack, configured the same way, for the major cloud platforms. This makes it easy for teams to collaborate and also to move applications between environments.”
Of course, this does raise an important question that astute readers may have: with so many clouds available such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and others, how does a marketer pick the right cloud to deploy these services to?
Brescia has some insight here.
“I think the most important thing is to understand your priorities and level of technical competency,” she says.
“For someone who doesn’t want to have to worry about managing their database, managed services can be extremely helpful. Of course, everyone should also truly understand their start-up cost, as well as how their costs are likely to grow over time. And I think ease of use is also an important thing to look for, along with access to support.
Her guidance is wise. It is always important to assess the technical implications, costs, maintenance, and failure conditions when deploying new infrastructure.
Brescia’s Recommendations for Marketers
Before we wrap up, I asked Brescia for her recommendations for some essential tools every marketer should explore for their toolbox. With over 130 apps in the Bitnami catalogue, she struggled to narrow down some key recommendations but shared these:
WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! – “Every marketing team needs access to great content management systems (CMSs). Applications like WordPress have grown from simple blogging platforms to complete and easily-extended web platforms. Drupal and Joomla! are also popular CMSs.”
Mautic – “Mautic is a tremendous marketing automation system that offers a range of powerful functionality for marketers and organizations.”
Of course, if you want to explore the full catalogue, you can go here.
A Bright Future
While Bitnami certainly has a bright future ahead, the real opportunity here are for people such as yourselves reading this.
Technology used to be complicated, expensive, and time-consuming to deploy and use. It typically depended on specialist skills, risky and expensive programs, and limited benefits for smaller organizations.
With the cloud, it is simple to experiment, deploy small production services, and then scale to huge deployments. Bitnami provides a handy way to not just dip your toes in, but to then bring consistency across multiple clouds and deployments, whatever your side.
I recommend you check out their catalogue, experiment with Brescia’s recommendations above, and most importantly…play. I think you will be stunned at how much opportunity is at your finger-tips.