Deploy Retool for a small business with no IT support

I have been consulting with a small local business to determine if moving their current SASS-provided application to Retool might be a viable alternative. The apps built so far have been positively accepted and the current workflow has either been duplicated or improved. The apps are connected to a MySQL database running in a hosted environment I use for proof of concept testing.

My question is given the lack of IT resources, what would be the best option for deploying Retool? They have a service that hosts their website and they are inquiring as to whether or not that service can provide an environment for hosting MySQL.

Optionally, we could set up another host for this project. Currently, the plan is to have no outward-facing access to the apps. They will be used by internal staff only at this time.

Would it be possible to set up a site that controls the navigation using standard controls (javascript, css, etc.) and simply call the URL for each app as needed?

I did review the deployment options using TerraForm, Amazon or Kubernetes, but they do not have the resources to manage this type of project.

My goal is to help them by building the apps they need to run their business without paying for their current (expensive) third-party solution. I also would like to be able to eventually disengage from the project once it is a viable solution.

I would appreciate any creative thoughts on this topic.


Great questions and thank you for all of the context!

So, is this business already using Retool or was Retool used as a proof of concept?

Would cloud hosting be an option for them or does it need to be self hosted?

(Some resources on our self-hosted option just in case!)

With the cloud option, we handle the hosting, upgrades, etc. and no further maintenance is required.

You can also book a demo here using the book a demo button you will see at the top of the screen after scrolling down a bit:

I'm also happy to connect you with someone from sales that could talk about further options!

Thanks for the response! I was out of the office the past few days.

We are currently at the proof-of-concept stage. They are moving off an expensive Saas solution that is not tailored to their needs. I am introducing Retool as a possible solution for their inventory, sales, and invoicing requirements. I also have a small 8-store grocery operator that might also be a fit for a Retool conversion.

The client definitely needs cloud hosting, since their current solution is a cloud-based SaaS, it would be expected to use the same approach.

Is there documentation about the strategy for building navigation within Retool? I have read the navigation component documentation and it makes sense, but I am wondering about rendering reports and other objects that might not be Retool's forte. I also plant to use mobile apps for this client, should they decide to move forward.

My clientele is the same as yours, small companies with no IT support but in need of something a lot more custom than the off-the-shelf SaaS solutions.

My first large scale project with Retool was building something very similar to what you describe. We did order entry, inventory, warehouse fulfillment and basic A/R with all of the required filler (customer management and so on.) They are really liking it so far, especially as compared to the management by spreadsheet they were using. In a few weeks I will be adding new modules such as a PO system, plus a bunch of tweaks based on lessons learned using it since it was implemented in January.

So Retool can definitely handle it, though with some caveats.

Feel free to DM me if you want to pick my brain.

To control app navigation, you can indeed create a site with standard controls like JavaScript and CSS that links to each app's URL. It's a user-friendly approach.I know you've looked into deployment with TerraForm, Amazon, or Kubernetes, but they require ongoing management. Considering the business's limited IT resources, these might not be the best fit. Your goal to provide cost-effective solutions is admirable. If you ever need expert advice on digital solutions like Retool or anything else related to your project, you might want to explore They offer insights into digital marketing that could come in handy.