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What is Bring Your Own Cloud?

Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) is a deployment model that lacks the benefits of a fully managed SaaS and the clarity of a self-managed solution. It's a deployment model where the vendor deploys their software in a customer’s VPC, while the data lives in a cloud-based environment. BYOC can be operationally challenging to use and introduces additional complexities with an ambiguous shared support model between the vendor, cloud provider, and customer.

How does BYOC work?

How does BYOC work

Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) involves deploying a vendor's software in a customer's cloud environment, typically within their own VPC (Virtual Private Cloud), while data resides in that customer’s cloud environment. BYOC can be operationally challenging to use and introduces additional complexities with an ambiguous shared support model between the vendor, cloud provider, and customer. The shared responsibility model in BYOC means that while the vendor takes care of application-level tasks, such as updates and support, the customer is responsible for the security and management of the cloud environment, including network configuration, access control, and ensuring the proper integration of services. This division of responsibilities can lead to complexities in troubleshooting and support, as both parties must coordinate to maintain the system's security and functionality.

What is the difference between BYOC and SaaS?

BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud) lacks the benefits and simplicity of a fully managed SaaS, as well as, the clarity and clear responsibilities that come with a self-managed deployment. In a BYOC model, customers leverage their existing cloud infrastructure to run applications provided by the vendor, but with ambiguous infrastructure, security, and support responsibilities.

SaaS, on the other hand, provides a serverless offering that is fully managed by the provider, eliminating the need for customers to handle infrastructure or maintenance. This is becoming the de facto standard for most cloud services, whereas many BYOC deployments eventually pivot to a SaaS offering.

The best alternative to SaaS is a self-managed solution, which involves customers installing and managing the software on their own hardware or cloud infrastructure. This requires in-house resources for setup, maintenance, and updates but with clear costs and responsibilities and full control over their data environment.

Self-Managed Software BYOC

Self-managed Software

Self-managed or vendor software deployed on-premises, with clear vendor cost and responsibilities.

BYOC

Bring-Your-Own-Cloud (BYOC)

Vendor deploys on customer VPC with shared, ambiguous infrastructure and support responsibilities.

Fully-managed SaaS

Fully-managed SaaS

Serverless offering - best for eliminating operational complexity and minimizing risk.

What are some benefits and challenges with BYOC?

BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud) offers several perceived benefits, including enhanced flexibility and control over your cloud environment, allowing organizations to optimize their infrastructure according to specific needs and preferences. However, upon further scrutiny, there are underlying complexities with this solution.

While BYOC may suit tactical niche use cases, there are more sustainable long-term models. Relying on countless small clusters across numerous customer cloud accounts proves burdensome for both vendors and customers. Large-scale multi-tenant, SaaS-based architectures offer structural advantages, built to run many clusters across several regions in a highly available, highly scalable way. In contrast, BYOCs single tenant setup structurally requires the user to manually scale up and down based on capacity, which usually means over-provisioning and overpaying for infrastructure to meet peak demand.

BYOC’s shared support model comes with unclear responsibilities for security, support, and escalations Shared responsibility between the CSP, BYOC vendor, and your team creates confusion when it comes to security, reliability, and platform management. Without clarity around who’s liable for what, complications can become exasperated, especially when there’s an issue.

Security

Security responsibilities are ambiguous between vendor and user, while BYOC vendors often don’t have the capabilities required to implement security at scale.

Operational Burden

Customers may face restrictions in debugging and troubleshooting, while vendors may encounter limitations in accessing and remedying issues, leading to delays and service outages.

Infrastructure Scaling & Provisioning

BYOCs underlying single-tenant design doesn’t lend itself to durable and scalable architectures. Manual scaling leads to over-provisioned, underutilized resources.

Hidden Costs

BYOC pricing is based on a subscription to the software but excludes additional infrastructure, security, and networking costs.

Is BYOC easier to use than SaaS?

In a BYOC deployment, responsibility boundaries are often blurred, creating challenges for both the customer and the vendor. The Shared Responsibility Model involves the customer, the Cloud Service Provider (CSP), and the BYOC vendor, leading to potential confusion regarding who is accountable for what. This ambiguity can strain the vendor-customer relationship and result in poorer service quality. Unlike a SaaS, where the vendor manages all aspects of your deployment, BYOC customers may face restrictions in debugging and troubleshooting, while vendors may encounter limitations in accessing and remedying issues. When system failures occur, questions arise about responsibility, whether due to customer actions, software bugs, CSP issues, or inadequate hardware sizing. With a fully managed cloud service, there are clear responsibility boundaries.

Operational efficiency in cloud services is exemplified by large-scale multi-tenant architectures, offering benefits like excess capacity, elasticity, per-customer quotas, stable environments, standard instance, and storage types, minimized versions and configurations, and streamlined tools and access controls. In contrast, BYOC comes with a massive overhead, requiring support for numerous single-tenant on-premise clusters across various customer accounts with diverse hardware and software configurations.

BYOC's business model contradicts itself, demanding management of increasing clusters while seeking efficiencies to compete with other cloud vendors, ultimately failing to deliver the simplicity and scalability that characterize successful cloud services.

Confluent offers the auto-scaling of logical Kafka clusters without requiring the customer to wait for any physical scaling. The customer has an upper range for the size of the cluster (in terms of resources like throughput and connections/sec) implemented as a set of quotas/rate limits. Then the customer simply gets charged based on hourly consumption of what was actually used.

BYOC vs SaaS

Is BYOC more secure than SaaS or a self-managed solution?

BYOC secure

When it comes to data sovereignty and control, BYOC might initially seem advantageous because the data resides within the user's account but the reality is data still resides in a multi-tenant cloud environment, just as it would in a SaaS offering. The ability to revoke vendor access to data is not unique to BYOC setups but also exists in SaaS models through mechanisms like customer-controlled encryption at rest.

The security of both BYOC and SaaS models relies on a balanced approach, including just-in-time access and detailed logging. With a BYOC configuration, the responsibility to secure the environment falls squarely on the customer. This includes controlling access to other systems and services and investing in proper security scanning and monitoring oversight – costs that are often overlooked in the TCO calculation.

Implementing BYOC involves complexities and costs beyond simply setting up a VPC within one's account. BYOC necessitates private networking for inter-VPC connectivity, which introduces several challenges for the customer. In AWS, the free option of VPC Peering can burden network management with complexities such as updating routing tables, handling IP address overlaps, and addressing transitive peering limitations. Configuring security groups, network ACLs, and DNS resolution between peered VPCs adds to the complexity.

While BYOC may offer apparent data sovereignty benefits, mechanisms like end-to-end encryption in SaaS models ensure data confidentiality. Extreme closed restrictions on BYOC would hinder vendor accountability and service reliability, leading to inevitable concessions for debugging and emergency access. End-to-end encryption in SaaS offerings is the gold standard for data confidentiality and sovereignty, as it ensures that the vendor never has access to encrypted data.

Is BYOC more cost-effective than SaaS?

BYOC may seem more cost-effective but several cost considerations aren’t initially factored in. BYOC pricing is based on a subscription to the software. Customers still bear infrastructure expenses from the CSP and additional responsibilities like securing the environment and private networking. In contrast, Confluent provides a fully managed SaaS that encompasses all costs, covering underlying compute, storage, networking, security infrastructure, and support.

Additional cost considerations for BYOC:

  • Networking charges you pay directly to a CSP, at scale become the dominant charges of operating Kafka
  • BYOC pricing assumes you’re operating at 100% capacity of provisioned resources, whereas most of the time you will be over-provisioned
  • Individual workloads can be bursty or have hourly changes in demand which leads to poor resource utilization where you are paying considerably for wasted hardware
  • Single-tenant systems don’t benefit from flattened predictable load trends and instead must be oversized to handle the load peaks of their single tenants.
  • All the little costs, like networking, load balancers, etc. add up to a significant amount of spend
  • Cost is opaque and workload-dependent and could change at any time with future releases of the software
BYOC costs

How does Confluent compare to BYOC solutions?

Confluent delivers the most trusted, complete and cost-optimized data streaming platform for any use case

Over 5 million support hours of Kafka expertise

Responsible for over 80% of Apache Kafka commits

Operate over 30K clusters in Confluent Cloud

Committer-driven Expertise & Support

Confluent uses 5+ million cumulative hours of expertise to efficiently and effectively manage and operate >10,000 cloud-native Apache Kafka clusters.

Complete Data Streaming Platform

Confluent provides a complete data streaming platform that streams, connects, processes, and governs all your data in real-time, and improves your ROI by 250%.

Cost-optimized for any workload

Cost-optimal cluster types for workloads of all kinds, with heavy CSP negotiated discounts for all infra costs, networking, cross-AZ, and storage, reducing your TCO by 60%.

Confluent provides true deployment flexibility to span all of your environments

Seamlessly connect your data and apps everywhere they reside, across hybrid and multicloud architectures

Confluent offers true deployment flexibility to support hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. Confluent exists everywhere your applications and data reside, providing you the freedom to leverage a fully managed service on all leading public clouds, and self-managed software for on-premises workloads, whether on bare metal, VMs, or Kubernetes. Best of all, you can seamlessly connect it all in real time with Cluster Linking, creating a consistent data layer across your entire business.

Public Cloud

Leverage a fully managed service with Confluent Cloud

Powered by Kora Engine to be elastic, resilient, and performant.

Private Cloud & On-Prem

Deploy on-premises with Confluent Platform

Elements of Kora Engine provides cloud-native benefits and brings a complete set of security and productivity features.

Hybrid Cloud & Multicloud

Seamlessly build a persistent bridge from data center to cloud and across clouds with Cluster Linking

Top 10 in the Forbes Cloud 100

Leader in The Forrester Waveℱ: Streaming Data Platforms, Q4 2023

Leader in The Forrester Waveℱ: Cloud Data Pipelines, Q4 2023

Leader in IDC MarketScape for Worldwide Analytic Stream Processing Software 2024

Leader in IDC MarketScape for Worldwide Event Brokering Software 2024

Google Technology Partner of the Year

AWS Financial Services Competency

Microsoft Commercial Marketplace Partner of the Year

Morgan Stanley CTO Innovation Award

Enterprise Technology Innovation

Additional Resources

Good teams manage Kafka. Efficient teams use Confluent.

Tackling the Hidden and Unhidden Costs of Kafka

Easily Offload Operational Complexities to Make Kafka Go Farther, Faster

Understanding the TCO and ROI of Apache Kafka & Confluent

The Future of Cloud Services and BYOC