Flocking to the cloud

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Updated: October 21, 2015 5:53:17 PM

India is a major hotspot for startups and small and medium businesses, and some of the forward-looking ones have adopted Amazon Web Services to drive cost savings, accelerate innovation, speed time-to-market, and expand geographic reach in minutes

Moving to the cloud, running in the cloud, stored in the cloud— these days it seems like everything is happening “in the cloud”. While the cloud has been catching on in the business world (especially among large enterprises) for several years now, in recent months there has been an explosion of sorts in its adoption in the startups and small and medium business (SMB) space. Amazon Web Services (AWS), which has more than a million active customers in 190 countries, is witnessing a strong demand for its cloud computing solutions among India’s new-age entities.

The benefits are undeniable. With cloud computing, startups and SMBs don’t need to make large upfront investments in hardware and spend a lot of time on the heavy lifting of managing that hardware. Instead, they can provision exactly the right type and size of computing resources that they need to power their newest bright idea or operate their  IT department. “We are particularly excited by the number of startups and SMBs moving to the Amazon cloud. They can access as many resources as they need, almost instantly, and only pay for what they use,” says Shane Owenby, managing director, Asia Pacific, Amazon Web Services.

The evidence is everywhere. Freshdesk is a hot startup that has plugged into AWS’ service and feature innovations to make their ideas realities. As such, Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer support software that makes it easy for businesses to interact seamlessly with customers across email, phone, chat, mobile and social media. After experiencing exponential traffic growth over one and half years, the company turned to AWS to host and deploy its cloud-based platform.

Today, Freshdesk supports more than 55,000 customers and uses Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances to lower its infrastructure cost by 75%. The company also uses AWS OpsWorks to automate the entirety of its code deployments. Krishenjit Roy, director of IT operations, Freshdesk says, “AWS has enabled Freshdesk to serve over 59 million end users across the world for their customer support portals and has helped to address 260 million requests per week within a year, from just two million requests two years ago.”

Leaner, faster, smarter

Freshdesk is not alone in using the AWS cloud for speed, agility and growth. Customers in India such as Hike, PayTM, Zedo, Inmobi, Capillary Technologies, HackerEarth, Getit, Ferns N Petals, redBus, Druva and Hungama are avid users of AWS solutions too.

Among others, Novi Digital (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Star India) uses AWS to run Hotstar, a flagship over-the-top (OTT) platform for drama, movies and live sporting events. “With more than 20 million downloads in four months, Hotstar has seen one of the fastest adoptions of any new digital service anywhere in the world. In fact, during one of the Cricket World Cup matches, Hotstar and starsports.com combined reached a record total of over 2.3 million concurrent streams and more than 50 million video views,” says Stephen Orban, head of enterprise strategy, AWS.

Cloud computing is the fastest growing business for Amazon, which until recently was mostly known as an online marketplace. Today, AWS is a $7 billion run rate business and its cloud platform includes more than 50 different services. Recently, AWS rolled out new services for the cloud. These include QuickSight, a new analytics service that is fast and easy-to-use by non-technical staff who want to share analysed data, either live or by screenshot. Then, there is Snowball, a shippable storage product that is designed to let companies shift huge amounts of data to the AWS cloud without having to spend a lot of time and bandwidth to transfer it over the internet. Amazon also announced a preview of Amazon Inspector, a new service that helps customers identify potential security issues within applications run on AWS.

Focus on India

As part of a larger effort to target the cloud market opportunity, AWS is ramping up its India operations in a significant manner. “We have announced our intent to open an AWS Infrastructure Region in 2016. I am confident that this new region will become a great home for startups, SMBs, enterprises, and the public sector,” says Orban.
AWS is expanding its cloud team in India as well, to include more specialised sales, business development, and post sales support executives. A separate team that focuses on startups has also been put in place. “India is an important market for AWS and the growth of our cloud business here has been unprecedented. We are geared up to maintain the growth momentum,” the AWS head of enterprise strategy summaries.

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