Native Cloud vs. Fake Cloud

Nearly every CMS vendor will tell you they are ready to provide 100% full integration with the cloud. But are they really? Honestly? No. No, they aren’t. The truth is, many CMS vendors are far from being a native cloud service.

So, how can you tell the difference?

Most vendors come from the old world of legacy content management systems. And for the most part, legacy systems, whether commercial or open source, are not native cloud CMS applications operating as a software as a service. Most CMS vendors offering a cloud solution simply install their legacy software on a dedicated remote virtual instance somewhere in the cloud for each customer. Of course, hosting in the cloud and offering a cloud service are two very different things. Hosting or even application service providing is simply installing a software application on an individual, client-specific server. Even if this can be automated, somebody has to take care of each and every single instance installed. These are “fake cloud” systems. This is not what you need, because this multi-instance approach does not reach the economics of scale a multi-tenant application can meet.

The real difference between a native cloud and a fake cloud CMS is that a genuine cloud CMS is a true multi-tenant service, taking care of itself. There is no longer a need for a system administrator to install, run, update, monitor, create new instances, scale, and secure the CMS.

While some systems claim to be part of the cloud but still need to be installed and maintained, others are available on-demand without any additional work. Even if a vendor offers to provide such maintenance for you, beware. That type of work is time-consuming and error-prone. When you factor in basic human error, mistakes are merely a question of time. In a native cloud system all of this work is done by the system.

In the near future, the requirements for websites will increase dramatically.

More users. More content. More pages. More languages. More campaign management. More microsites. More landing pages, integration with CRM systems, marketing automation tools, and e-commerce software. More more.

Even if the IT department staff is qualified deep inside virtualization technology, it might be questionable if the needed resources are available due to on-going daily operations and other projects. Most IT departments suffer from a lack of resources. However, a common misunderstanding is that by installing a piece of software, a solution comes up that fixes all issues. Sometimes software only adds on to the problem.

A true cloud CMS runs on world-class data centers like Amazon Web Services and is distributed as a multi-tenant application over multiple physical locations called “availability zones”. Most commonly, true cloud CMS software also provides built-in content delivery networks (CDN) like CloudFront in order to further enhance content delivery performance. All data centers of a native cloud CMS are fully redundant, scalable, and monitored constantly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Uptimes of 99.9% should be expected.

Finally, a native cloud CMS can ensure security and compliance much more effectively than a handcrafted security solution trying to protect a fake cloud CMS on some remote server. Aside from the redundant cloud architecture of a true cloud software, all security aspects are maintained by the vendor, such as firewall, encryption, and permission-based authentication.

Asking the IT department what they think about these questions might not lead to the right answers, because with the “real cloud” the IT loses their operational monopoly while the “fake cloud” keeps IT in the game. Therefore, it is understandable why many IT departments prefer to keep their systems, because they “remain in control.” From a high-level organizational view, a “fake cloud” does not make sense at all. The trend towards “web services” from the “real cloud” will become the standard anyway.


Hosted CMS solutions that claim to be “cloud ready” are fake cloud CMS. They require large upfront investments for licenses, as well as intensive system administration efforts. Over the time this leads to painful upgrade cycles and a lack of scalability. A real SaaS CMS solution like Scrivito features multi-tenancy, seamless updates, and all required system administration operations are fully managed by the vendor. Real SaaS CMS come with pay-per-use plans without hidden costs for system administration or customizing. Only with such a real SaaS CMS you can benefit from the productivity gains, scalability, and cost savings.

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