Meteor and Galaxy – JavaScript Development and Hosting Without the Hassles

Written by: , Dec. 20, 2016

An Interview with Rohit Bakhshi, Galaxy Product Manager, Meteor Development Group

Meteor is an open-source JavaScript platform for developing modern web and mobile applications. It includes a key set of tools and technologies as well as a curated set of packages from the Node.js and general JavaScript community. In addition, they offer pay-as-you-use hosting via Galaxy, which is a hosting platform-as-a-service (PaaS) built specifically for Meteor apps. Rohit Bakhshi discusses these technologies and also explains their pricing model and why a development tool company is also in the hosting business.

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HostAdvice: You’ve been involved in a lot of successful technology companies, both startups and established companies. Tell me a little bit about your experiences.

I've been fortunate to build my career upon learnings and experiences at successful companies. I started as a software developer at Accenture Technology Labs, where I learned to architect and build mission-critical solutions for enterprises using modern web technologies and data platforms. After Accenture I joined Hortonworks as part of the product team. We built a successful software business selling open source data platforms to the global enterprise market.

HostAdvice: OK – on to Meteor. What attracted you to join Meteor?

I joined Meteor at the point where the framework was used by developers across the world, and there was a huge commercial opportunity because of the size and passion behind the Meteor community. For me personally, there was a significant product management leadership opportunity and challenge of figuring out what global app development product teams needed; and correspondingly how to build a suite of useful SaaS developer tooling/platforms for our customers.

Meteor also gave me a chance to get back to my original passion for app development.

HostAdvice: What exactly is Meteor? Why do we need another development platform?

Meteor is one of the world’s most popular app development frameworks (#1 on Github). It is used by developers who want an easy way to quickly build and deploy modern apps that have real-time features. In recent years, JavaScript has emerged as the dominant app development language for both servers and clients. However, pure JavaScript and Node.js may be inconvenient to use by developers accustomed to all-in-one frameworks (e.g. Java, .NET) due to a highly fragmented ecosystem of open source libraries and tools. Meteor is an opinionated way to use the best parts of JavaScript to build great apps without trading off developer productivity or requiring developers to be experts in distributed systems.

HostAdvice: How do you define your market? Who is your specific target audience within that market?

Whether Meteor is used to build a B2B SaaS product or a B2C consumer site, developers at startups and Fortune 500 companies alike have embraced Meteor as their JavaScript framework of choice.

HostAdvice: You also offer hosting services for Meteor applications. It is rather unusual for a development tools/platform company to get involved in the hosting business. Why did you do that?

We built the Galaxy hosting platform to specifically address the needs we’ve heard from the Meteor developer community. Since Meteor is a modern, real-time app dev framework, traditional hosting options fall short when it comes to delivering a reliable deployment experience that scales. Also, most developers that use Meteor are product developers, not devops experts. As a result, they’d rather spend their time building their app vs. managing their own cloud hosting infrastructure.

HostAdvice: While your Meteor software is open source and freely downloadable, the pricing for support seems quite expensive, starting at almost $16,000 per year. Why is that?

Since Meteor developer support is an ongoing professional service vs. a technology product, it’s priced similar to a long-term consulting retainer vs. a typical SaaS product. When compared to the support packages of other notable open source companies (e.g. Mongo, Cloudera), you’ll find that Meteor support pricing is very competitive. Companies are willing to pay for official vendor support to accelerate development and also ensure their development teams are implementing best practices to ensure long-term app scalability and security.

HostAdvice: How many active customers do you have today? Where are they mainly located?

The Meteor framework has been installed by over 500,000 developers around the world. We also work with thousands of commercial customers who use our Galaxy hosting platform and/or paid Meteor developer support plans.

HostAdvice: How would you describe your typical customer?

Our typical customer is a team of professional developers looking to build modern apps using JavaScript. Often, these apps have real-time or reactive characteristics which are common in today’s consumer websites and B2B SaaS products. Whether you’re building the next Uber or Slack, Meteor and Galaxy are technologies that can help get you there faster.

HostAdvice: Who are some of your biggest customers?

We work with a variety of commercial customers from around the world that include venture-backed startups, consumer internet websites, and Fortune 500 companies. The best part about Galaxy is that teams can get started by deploying small Meteor apps for less than $1 per day and eventually scale up their production deployments for millions of users - all on the same platform.

meteor customers

HostAdvice: Who do you see as your main competitors?

There are many hosting options for developers to use to host Meteor apps including bare metal cloud infrastructure-as-a-service providers like Amazon Web Services or general purpose PaaS (Platform as a Service) solutions.

HostAdvice: How do you see your tools as different as and/or better than theirs?

Traditional hosting providers (e.g. IaaS or PaaS) either require significant amount of devops work and/or working with vendors that aren’t optimized for Meteor applications. Built using the latest Docker and Amazon cloud infrastructure under-the-hood, Galaxy frees developers from doing complex devops or relying on other PaaS providers that don’t understand Meteor. See how Galaxy compares to both types of alternatives here: https://www.meteor.com/hosting

meteor devops

HostAdvice: How do you see the web development process and market evolving in the coming years?

It is a great time to be building software applications. Developers at startups and large enterprises have more choice than ever to select the right platforms and tools to build a diverse set of modern applications. The pressure to ship great apps faster is only accelerating, so the challenge for most development teams is keeping up with modern architectures and the overall pace of open source communities. Meteor and Galaxy were both designed to address these requirements and lets developers focus on building apps, not infrastructure.

HostAdvice: How many employees does Meteor have today? Where are they located? How do you manage the communications with your remote employees?

Meteor has approximately 25 employees worldwide. Although our headquarters is in San Francisco, we do have a number of remote employees too. We take great pride in integrating our remote team with what’s happening in our HQ office - we do this though a combination of state-of-the-art videoconferencing technologies, collaboration tools like Slack, as well as a cultural emphasis of including our remote teams (e.g. recording meetings people can’t attend due to time zone differences).

meteor teams

HostAdvice: What are your future plans for Meteor?

We’re excited about the future of both Meteor and Galaxy as we continue to invest in open source and commercial products in the coming year. Beyond the technical investment for these initiatives, we also focus on delivering community programs for our open source developers and commercial users in the form of developer events, conferences, tutorial content, and online forums.

HostAdvice: Going back to your involvement with startups, what general advice would you offer today’s startups?

There’s never been a better time to be a startup entrepreneur. It’s easier than ever to build software apps to test new ideas, iterate quickly, adapt to changing markets, and access best practice resources to grow and scale a new company. Since we work with many ambitious companies who use Meteor for their core product development, we’re always looking for feedback on ways to improve our products and services to help entrepreneurs be successful. We look forward to partnering with the next generation of software startups for years to come!

HostAdvice: How do you see the world of startups changing in the next few years?

As software technologies and access to early-stage funding has made it easier for to launch new startups. Meteor’s tools and services help play a role in this important startup motion: shipping fast, iterating faster. The winners in the future will be decided by teams that can move and iterate the fastest to capture large markets.

HostAdvice: How many hours a day do you normally work? What do you like to do when you are not working?

The exciting part of being part of a fast paced startup is that no two days are the same! The work hours fluctuate, especially as we launch new products and go through the different phases of market adoption. Meteor as a company happens to bring together people with diverse tastes in music, food and world travels. I have a soft spot for listening to live jazz in different cities, as well as enjoying dark roast coffee wherever I can find it.

meteor team-trip

HostAdvice: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

We look forward to working with developers through our open source Meteor framework as well as Galaxy production hosting and support solutions! Learn more today at www.meteor.com.

 

Jackie is the Chief Content Manager for HostAdvice.com, responsible for managing, editing, and developing high quality content for website. His background includes software and website development, as well as online marketing (i.e. SEO. PPC, CPA, etc.)

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"Meteor and Galaxy – JavaScript Development and Hosting Without the Hassles"

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