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One of the most overlooked aspects of the eCommerce platform selection process is the deployment method.  After all, what good is an eCommerce website if you can’t get it out on the internet. And how you take your eCommerce channel live is an important decision. You can pick from hosting and maintaining in-house,  use one of several types of cloud models, or create a hybrid solution.

This article will help you understand what is a deployment model, the types of deployment models in eCommerce, the advantages and disadvantages of each deployment model, and provide the information you need to make an informed decision about what will work best for your business.

What is eCommerce Deployment?

Your website would never make a sale if it weren’t available on the internet. Shoppers must be able to find your website and access it.  Deployment is essentially how you make your eCommerce store discoverable and available for use on the internet.

ECommerce deployment also refers to the IT environment where the website, the back-end and the resources used to support the eCommerce platform are running.

Organizations can run their software on-premise (physically located in a building under the control of the business) or they can take advantage of off-premise resources (referred to as clouds).

Historically, deploying on-premise was the only way to use computer applications. However, with the rising popularity of the internet, cloud computing became a core technology used by millions of businesses all over the world. Cloud computing owes its existence to the original internet, ARPANET – the network established by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense to connect universities and defense research contracting companies.

deployment model history

ARPANET introduced the idea of a decentralized computing environment. By the1990s, the internet had arrived in businesses and households.  In 1999, Salesforce launched their first CRM product and used a novel on-demand software delivery model, now known as SaaS (software as a service). This new way of delivering software sparked a flurry of competition from Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. In 2006 Google’s CEO used the term “cloud computing” at an industry conference to describe this deployment model.

And that brings us to today. Businesses operating eCommerce websites can keep tech operations in-house or employ some sort of cloud computing. 

Popular eCommerce Deployment Models

Now that we’ve learned about deployment models, let’s look at the types of deployment models commonly used. Understanding the different models is crucial in deciding the best eCommerce deployment model for your unique situation.

On-Premise Deployment

This was the original way to share an eCommerce website (or any website for that matter) on the internet. With this method, your company purchases software or the license to use software and then you install it on your own in-house computers. You may have a server dedicated to this purpose or you may use an infrastructure that shares hardware resources with other applications.

On-premise deployment requires an investment in not only physical IT infrastructure, but you must also invest in the human assets necessary to maintain, implement, and customize the platform and the website as well as tend to the overall IT environment.

And because you are physically housing the data as well as the application, you’ll need to make sure the equipment and data are secure from physical tampering and electronic hacking and other malicious activity. Security concerns are the main reason companies opt for an on-premise deployment.

In a 2010 Mimecast survey of 565 IT executives in various verticals, 46% of respondents cited security concerns as the main reason for on-premise deployment. Today, enterprises in highly regulated industries, those that produce most of their data in-house, or those with extensive infrastructure already in place generally opt for on-premise deployment.

Cloud Deployment

The cloud metaphor was created when early tech engineers needed a way to indicate an internet-based network connection without describing the network itself. They drew a fluffy cloud and labeled it the internet. The name stuck.

Data and software packages are stored in servers. Instead of directly connecting to the server, the data and software are retrieved through the internet using web-based tools and applications like browsers. In other words, cloud deployment models imply that the software and data sit on computers located in another location. Today there are public clouds and private clouds. Clouds are used to support the following eCommerce deployment models:

IAAS. Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) outsources the infrastructure such as networking, storage, and servers to a third-party provider. These resources reside on external servers and are accessible through an internet connection. This model is generally a pay-as-you-go model, where you pay for the resources you use. Think of it like on-premise deployment, except you lease all the infrastructure from someone else in another location.  IAAS is recommended for businesses looking for the most control of the software environment. Examples include Amazon Web Service (AWS), Rackspace, and Google Compute Engine.

deployment model iaas

PAAS. With the Platform as a Service (PAAS) deployment model, you outsource the infrastructure, like IAAS, and in addition you outsource the software environment, including databases, middleware, runtime, and more. So, you basically manage your applications and your data and a third-party manages everything else. PAAS works for businesses that don’t want to manage their infrastructure and environment but still want to control their applications. Examples include AWS Beanstalk, Windows Azure, and Google App Engine.

deployment model paas

SAAS. Software as a Service (SAAS) outsources everything. All software, data, and services are provided through the internet. It requires minimal or no installation and configuration. You give complete control of your customer data, software and tech infrastructure to a vendor.  In return, you don’t need to concern yourself with the management, monitoring, and maintenance of any aspect of your software. Mailchimp, Dropbox, and Slack are all examples of SaaS.

deployment model saas

Hybrid Deployment Model

When you take cloud deployment and mix it with on-premise deployment you create a hybrid. This model provides the best of both worlds for greater customization, reliability, security, and stability. It is more complex and requires an on-premise IT team to conduct cloud and local resources like an orchestra. But it’s a cost-effective solution for companies that only need occasional cloud support for spikes in sales or traffic.

Pros and cons of each eCommerce deployment model

Every B2B eCommerce situation is different. That’s why it’s important to explore different deployment model types to determine which model works best for your company. Understanding the pros and cons of each model helps with the decision-making process.

On-Premise Deployment

Are you ready to take full responsibility for the IT environment?

Pros. An On-premise deployment gives users absolute control over the data and the software.  Because everything happens in-house, businesses manage data and control the backup process without an internet connection. If your business operates in a highly-regulated environment, such as in the medical or financial industries, this is the best option to ensure compliance with applicable government rules and regulations regarding data.

Cons.  On-premise deployment may appear to have reduced upfront costs, but the implementation cost is always much more than just the license fee. You need to factor in costs for hardware as well as hiring and training personnel. Then there’s costs for customizing and upgrading the application. In a head-to-head comparison, there’s fewer hidden costs with a cloud solution.

cloud vs on premise deployment model

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In addition, on-premise deployment requires you to take full responsibility for disaster recovery. This is not an insignificant consideration, because disasters happen and it is not an easy task to set up and maintain the disaster recovery processes.

Public Cloud Deployment

Is the idea of out-sourcing your eCommerce infrastructure and application more appealing? Then a public cloud deployment may be the best option.

Pros. Public cloud deployments are a cost-effective option for many medium-sized businesses. In most instances, the initial setup fees are small, and the monthly fees are less than the cost to maintain the equipment and software and pay IT employees.  With a public cloud, you share responsibility for disaster recovery.

Cons.  The downside of a public cloud is the potential for security and privacy issues. You may not have the level of protection you require. Because you share resources, you may have scalability issues in the future. You will find fewer customization and networking configuration options. Also, a multi-tenant configuration may slow your application’s speed and performance.

Private Cloud Deployment

Private cloud deployments offer the benefits of a public cloud while allowing businesses to keep their data in-house or protected in a private cloud server.

Pros. This deployment provides the security of on-premise deployment with the convenience of cloud computing. You retain control of hardware, applications, and data.

Cons. With great control comes great responsibility. That means responsibility for the application, infrastructure, personnel, and security. When it comes to disaster recovery, you are on your own.

Hybrid

Humans have been hybridizing plants and animals for centuries. Today, we hybridize technology to achieve the best of on-premise and cloud deployment for greater customization, reliability, security, and stability.

Pros. A hybrid cloud / on-premise approach may prove to be the most cost-effective option for many businesses. Because companies have more control over their resources, they can achieve greater efficiency and better control costs.

Cons. The hybrid environment brings greater complexity. Data compliance may become an issue and you may encounter more implementation issues than with one of the more traditional cloud setups.

Difference Between On-Premise vs. Cloud Deployment

Are you a visual learner? Then this chart is for you. Let’s compare the different deployment models in the most key areas.

On-Premise Cloud Hybrid
IT Team Required to maintain software, hardware, and infrastructure Not required for SaaS. Some necessary for IaaS and PaaS instances Required for on-premise and private cloud
Costs Higher initial costs

Ongoing costs for server hardware, power usage, maintenance, upgrades, physical space for servers

Low initial costs

Monthly service fees

May cost more than on-premise over life cycle

Higher initial costs for on-premise

Pay as you go for cloud

Setup Greater control over setup

Adding users, instances, and upgrading more expensive

Adding users, instances, and upgrading is easier Quick and easy for cloud

Greater control over on-premise

Updates Responsible for updating systems manually

Greater control of update process

Risky with complex customizations and integrations

Latest updates applied automatically

No risk of compatibility issues

Less control of the update process

Greater control of updates on-premise;

Cloud updates applied automatically

Customization Greater control of customization

More complex customizations possible

Adjust services based on specific needs

Vendor support during customization

Less risk and more reliability

Fewer opportunities to customize or adjust services

More freedom to customize on-premise;

Less freedom to customize in cloud

Hardware Control and access to physical hardware No access to physical hardware Some access to physical hardware
Compliance Responsible for compliance requirements Latest security directives, certifications applied automatically Data in cloud stays compliant automatically

On-premise compliance is not automatic

Security Greater control of security

Responsible for all security, data breaches, server failures, disaster recovery, backups

Vendor takes care of all security, backup, and disaster recovery On-premise security for sensitive data

No need to worry about security in cloud

Reliability Easier to optimize processes and build in safeguards Vendor communicates reliability and guarantees uptime Responsibility shared with vendor
Scalability Not easily scalable, especially during demand spikes Scales up and down with business demands Must move on-premise data to cloud for scalability

Which eCommerce Deployment Model is Right for You?

Through years of experience working with B2B sellers, we’ve learned that every use case is unique. That’s why we develop Oro applications to deploy anywhere. Some of the common use cases that we’ve seen include businesses in healthcare, governmental, or financial industries where it’s important to maintain tight control over data and processing. These companies often find it is easier for them to maintain compliance with regulations such as HIPAA with an on-premise setup or a private cloud rather than looking for HIPAA-compliant public clouds.  

By deploying Oro products on-premise, they retain maximum control over the data and the application to keep regulators happy while still meeting the online needs of their customers. From start to finish, they retain absolute control and flexibility while still enjoying application support from the Oro team.

On the other hand, companies that operate in less regulated spaces or those that lack internal IT resources find that a public cloud deployment type works well for them. These companies may need to get to market as quickly as possible and prefer outsourcing application support, operations, and disaster recovery. A SaaS-based model with cloud deployment provides the flexibility to customize their website and still get their eCommerce store online quickly without the need to invest in IT equipment or staff a new function. Read the Guide to the OroCloud for more information.

And finally, we’ve seen companies that need a hybrid deployment to control data and scale up and down as their needs change. Companies with a seasonal business may not want to pay for more infrastructure than they need at any given time. In this instance, a Hybrid approach right-sizes their deployment at all times.

The deployment model that is best for your business is the one that meets your needs for flexibility, security, and ease of use and maintenance. No two companies are the same, that’s why companies deploy their websites using different methods. 

OroCommerce Deploys Your eCommerce System Anywhere

OroCommerce gives you the freedom to deploy without limitations, supporting the deployment requirements of your unique business needs.

  • If you need a cloud eCommerce solution, you are free to deploy OroCommerce on a public cloud like Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or any other public cloud solution. This may be the best approach if you currently have other business systems deployed on a public cloud. 
  • If you currently operate your own private cloud and want to utilize it for eCommerce, OroCommerce deploys there as well. 
  • For a turn-key approach, use OroCloud for a complete managed hosting experience, optimized for your Oro applications.
  • If you require extensive data control and security, deploy OroCommerce on-premise.
  • Oro also supports hybrid models that employ multiple cloud solutions, a combination of private and public cloud, or on-premise deployment with cloud resources and services.

Questions and Answers

What are the different types of deployment models?

There are 3 major types of deployment models: On-Premise, Cloud, and Hybrid.

On-Premise deployment means everything associated with the eCommerce website, from the data to the application to the equipment, is physically located in a building occupied by your company. Your company’s IT department is wholly responsible for the infrastructure, the data, and the application.

Cloud deployment means the infrastructure, data, and application code are located someplace else. That “someplace” may be under your direct control, or it may be under the control of a company you contract with for services. The former is referred to as a Private Cloud and the later as a Public Cloud.

A Hybrid deployment uses a mixture of On-Premise and Cloud deployments and is as individual as the use case requires. For example, for security reasons you may opt to keep data on a Private Cloud and use Public Cloud servers to process in a Public Cloud while keeping sensitive information in your own data center. 

Are all Cloud deployment models the same?

No, Cloud deployments vary by the number of tasks/responsibilities that are outsourced. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) outsources networking, storage, and servers to the cloud provider. Platform as a Service (PaaS) deployment models outsource the infrastructure as well as the software environment, including databases, middleware, and runtime. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model outsources all aspects of the website from data to application to infrastructure.

What is the most common deployment model?

A Public Cloud is the most used deployment model in eCommerce. It provides scalability and outsources many of the IT functions.

What is the best deployment model for B2B eCommerce?

The best deployment model for B2B eCommerce is the model that best meets the unique needs of your business. Every business has different needs. As shown in the business cases above, different companies place priority in different areas. The best deployment model for your eCommerce business is the one that provides the security, reliability, functionality, and flexibility you need to support an eCommerce channel. With OroCommerce, you gain the flexibility to deploy anywhere and change your deployment model at any time.  

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