CanTrust Hosting started out with website hosting in 2009. At that time, most business was conducted on local computers – many people were already using Gmail or Hotmail or another cloud based email, but otherwise they would edit documents and chat using software installed on their local computers. Free and open source options abounded for organizations that could not afford to purchase commercial software – for example OpenOffice could be used to replace MS Office at no cost.
In the space of just 11 years, the computing landscape as we know it has changed utterly. With the meteoric rise of Amazon Web Services came “the cloud”, and shortly after that the rise of “cloud services”, meaning cloud-hosted versions of the business apps that used to be locally installed on computers. In 2020, the cloud computing market is estimated at $200Bn and is growing rapidly.
The challenge for organizations with fixed budgets or little financial income, is that modern cloud services are provided by US for-profit corporations. The standard pricing model is per-user, per-month, per-application, typically billed in $USD. This is neither sustainable nor scalable for organizations operating on fixed budgets. The corporate pricing model is especially punishing for organizations who rely on part time workers or volunteers – as cloud vendors charge for those users the same as full-time employees.
Cloud-hosted open source (free) versions of the tools do now exist, but it is extermely challenging for an organization of limited means to successfully operate their own service. CanTrust Hosting Co-op already has the expertise and infrastructure to be able to provide these open source apps to value-aligned customers. Over the past three years we have conducted market research, selected a viable suite of applications to offer, and beta tested with real organizations. We are confident we can provide an equivalent business experience, but one that is billed fairly – by server resources used – not by the number of users.