Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a serverless software as a service (SaaS) offering in under a year? In this blog post, we will describe how we built ClickHouse Cloud – a managed service on top of one of the most popular online analytical processing (OLAP) databases in the world – from the ground up. We delve into our planning process, design and architecture decisions, security and compliance considerations, how we achieved global scalability and reliability in the cloud, and some of the lessons we learned along the way.
Our timeline and planning process may come across as a bit unconventional. ClickHouse has been a very popular open source project since 2016, so when we started the company in 2021, there was significant pent up demand for what we were building. So we set an aggressive goal of building this cloud offering in a series of aggressive sprints over the course of a year.
We decided on milestones in advance – Private Preview in May, Public Beta in October, General Availability in December – and then asked ourselves what was feasible by each of these dates and what resources we would need to get there. We had to be very judicious about what to prioritize for each milestone, and what types of projects to start in parallel. Our prioritization was driven by our collective experience of building cloud offerings, analysis of the market, and conversations with early cloud prospects about their pain points.