What is the difference between a platform and hosting provider?

An interesting counter question was posed to me by Sinclair on SaasBlogs about the difference between a hosting 2.0 provider and a platform provider. Certainly got me thinking, on a number of fronts

  1. Why is the term hosting 2.0 negative? I’m not challenging Sinclair on that interpretation, that was my intent when in my first response. It’s just that the web.20 is positive and exciting. Enterprise 2.0 was too (for a while). Why not hosting? Isn’t a platform a logical evolution of hosting? It’s (potentially)  disruptive and it uses many of the same thought patterns around facilitation and user based configuration?
  2. What IS the difference between a platform and a hosting 2.0 provider? In the link above I think its intent. But it’s more than that too. Platform providers have something more valuable than hosting providers. Hosting providers (as good as they may be) are quite literally 1.0. They may have made incremental enhancements but it’s built to service an older world. Where’s collaborative dynamic interaction? Whereas a Platform provider (if they’re worth their salt) has coalesced a bunch learning’s to deliver something better. I posted some time ago about the potential benefits of collaboration on development. A platform is the epitome of this. They’ve done the hard yards, been through the pitfalls and have come out the other side with the (astute) realisation that they now have something infinitely more valuable than an optimised hosting solution, they have knowledge and experience. (By the way, its astute because they commercialised it)
  3. Platforms also come with a bunch more functionality. The multi-tenant nirvana that many service providers have been trying to develop in a box. With all of the plugs, webservices and Service levels expected. Nice work.
    Platforms ARE there to facilitate. When you put you app in a platform if forms part of the solution. The collective outcome is something entirely different from hosting. Hosting is static, siloed, old school.

Again, i’m guessing but it’s an interesting (potentially semantic) discussion that could be applied to a much wider context (like the whole 2.0 movement)


Posted by Paul

Leave a Reply