Strikingly is an online platform that allows users — with little or no development experience — to simply create mobile optimized websites within minutes. Born out of Y Combinator, the famed Silicon Valley seed accelerator, Strikingly takes a mobile-first approach to empower users to easily create enhanced websites for viewing across all devices including desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
Originally founded in 2012, the company has grown in leaps and bounds, doubling the size of its team in the past year to about 300 employees. In the new year and beyond, Strikingly's goal is to continue expanding its client base throughout Asia, and introduce new features to help users easily build websites with more design options.
Yet to become the easiest website builder around took some serious work and dedicated partnerships — it took teaming up with the robust infrastructure of Alibaba Cloud and the reliable tools of HashiCorp to help get there.
From serving students to serving entrepreneurs, a fundamental component of Strikingly is the strength of Alibaba Cloud's integrated suite of cloud products, which provide services for large and small businesses, individual developers, and the public sector in over 200 countries and regions. By harnessing — and improving on — the latest cloud technology and security systems, Alibaba Cloud has tirelessly helped platforms like Strikingly work to connect them with customers all over the world.
Another key building block for Strikingly lies in Terraform, an open source tool by software company HashiCorp that enables the platform to safely and predictably create, change, and improve infrastructure. Accommodating the necessary applications for Strikingly also codifies APIs into declarative configuration files that can be shared across team members, treated as code, edited, reviewed, and continually updated.
"HashiCorp tools enable enterprises to provision, secure, connect and run any infrastructure for any application. Partners like Alibaba Cloud help us provide those capabilities to customers all around the world."
— Burzin Patel,VP of Alliances at HashiCorp
This multi-pronged partnership helps Strikingly find increased success in the lucrative and challenging cloud-based online ecosystem.
By powering itself via Terraform, Strikingly is able to capitalize on having a small team manage hundreds of thousands of machines every day due to reliable automation. Terraform essentially gives the platform the ability to foresee what changes will be applied to particular specs. But, more importantly, the key automation differentiator lies in how existing spec changes would or could be affected in the overall success of the platform.
This precognitive QA allows an easy split between production and testing, and enables Strikingly to operate within a fundamentally bigger cloud-based ecosystem with relative ease. The underlying code from Terraform to Strikingly's platform is written in a declarative manner, meaning that instead of having to tell the code what to do, teams simply tell it the final result and it will figure out what to do by itself. This leads to easily scalable goals while providing a level of certainty that other products simply don't offer.
Without Alibaba Cloud combined with its technology partner HashiCorp, Strikingly wouldn't be able to have the reach of a true disruptor.
In the key step to becoming a truly international product, Strikingly chose to build a fully localized product in the Chinese market using Alibaba Cloud, one of the world's top cloud providers. Alibaba Cloud provided the best solution to the main problems faced by Strikingly — it has the biggest potential to have more global integration for users, making it the easiest, strongest choice at every turn.
Alibaba Cloud's robust computing platform infrastructure works hand in hand with HashiCorp's Terraform to implement automated operations and maintenance, which gives Strikingly the flexibility and reactive on-demand capacity it needs to powerfully compute in the cloud. One wouldn't be able to function successfully without the other.
Also, because cloud computing foregoes actual physical servers, there is less work to maintain that infrastructure for developers, which gives an edge-up over competitors.
Alibaba Cloud's customized support allowed HashiCorp to rapidly build out Terraform's capabilities, which, in turn, benefits customers due to easily interchangeable products from Strikingly. HashiCorp's partnership with Alibaba Cloud is a step towards offering a product suite that supports organizations transitioning their infrastructure into the cloud on a global scale. As the collaboration with Alibaba Cloud continues and grows to cover new services, HashiCorp will provide the workflows to adopt these technologies.
The Chinese Market offered up some unique challenges. As a local business attempting to break out internationally as a disruptive website building platform, obtaining an ICP license in China was very important to not only the business, but users as well. Alibaba Cloud's built-in and easy-to-follow ICP application process helped Strikingly's user experience immeasurably.
The smooth ICP application process provided by Alibaba Cloud allows all users to seamlessly use this process to apply for ICPs for their own domains, which would otherwise be a time- consuming hassle for non-technical users.
In fact, Strikingly switched from another cloud provider to Alibaba Cloud because the previous network did not offer the same type of robust infrastructure and reliability. Alibaba Cloud's network is a one-stop-shop for all involved, making the management of the whole ecosystem broken down into in easy phases. Alibaba Cloud's size, reach, expertise and familiarity offered total convenience for Strikingly's need for growth- conscious infrastructure.
"We don't want our users to worry about anything technical. We have a true one-stop solution for them."
— Daniel Gong, VP of Engineering at Strikingly
Alibaba Cloud's top-notch service allowed Strikingly to speed up assets and user sites, beating out all major CDN providers in China based on the number of available servers, average response time and average download speed in all major ISPs and provinces. Alibaba Cloud has a fundamental, developer- friendly API for to continually automate solutions and anticipate rapid growth. Through its partnership with HashiCorp and Alibaba Cloud, Strikingly immediately gave its customers direct access to a growing developer market in China, and to the most powerful search service in the industry.
Most importantly, the partnership has also given users, developers and businesses access to the entire Strikingly suite on a reliable platform. The partnership has produced dividends for Strikingly, HashiCorp, Alibaba Cloud and their users.
Strikingly continues to work and innovate in China and beyond by building and managing new automated applications via Alibaba Cloud's real-time capabilities and robust infrastructure.
With new functionality, easy automation and better services provided from Alibaba Cloud through HashiCorp, more and more startups like Strikingly can focus on the product and users, and leverage the latest technologies more easily than ever. Strikingly and Alibaba Cloud have the right tools at the right time for a dynamic developing cloud market.
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