Cloud computing is a computing term or metaphor that evolved in the late 2000s, based on utility and consumption of computer resources. Cloud computing involves deploying groups of remote servers and software networks that allow centralized data storage and online access to computer services or resources. In simple terms the ‘cloud’ is the ability to host a software platform or service from a remote location that can be freely accessed and used anywhere via Internet access. Additionally because the cloud is a hosted service and reduces the need for physical infrastructure it is a much lower financial investment; with many cloud-based services designed as a ‘pay as you go model’. Users access cloud computing using networked client devices, such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Many cloud applications do not require specific software on the client and instead use a web browser to interact with the cloud application.
Cloud Computing Models:
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): Providers of IaaS offer computers – physical or virtual machines and other resources such as disk image library, raw block storage and file or object storage, firewalls, load balancers, IP addresses, virtual local area networks (VLANs), and software bundles. IaaS-cloud providers supply these resources on-demand from their large pools installed in data centers, a hypervisor such as Xen, Oracle VirtualBox, KVM, VMware ESX/ESXi, or Hyper-V runs the virtual machines as guests. Pools of hypervisors within the cloud operational support-system can support large numbers of virtual machines and the ability to scale services up and down according to customers’ varying requirements. To deploy their applications, cloud users install operating-system images and their application software on the cloud infrastructure. In this model, the cloud user patches and maintains the operating systems and the application software. Cloud providers typically bill IaaS services on a utility computing basis: cost reflects the amount of resources allocated and consumed.
Platform as a service (PaaS): In the PaaS models, cloud providers deliver a computing platform, typically including operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server. Application developers can develop and run their software solutions on a cloud platform without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers. With some PaaS offers like Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine, the underlying computer and storage resources scale automatically to match application demand so that the cloud user does not have to allocate resources manually.
Software as a service (SaaS): In the business model using software as a service (SaaS), users are provided access to application software and databases. Cloud providers manage the infrastructure and platforms that run the applications. SaaS is sometimes referred to as “on-demand software” and is usually priced on a pay-per-use basis or using a subscription fee. In the SaaS model, cloud providers install and operate application software in the cloud and cloud users access the software from cloud clients. Cloud users do not manage the cloud infrastructure and platform where the application runs. This eliminates the need to install and run the application on the cloud user’s own computers, which simplifies maintenance and support. SaaS allows a business the potential to reduce IT operational costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the cloud provider. This enables the business to reallocate IT operations costs away from hardware/software spending and personnel expenses, towards meeting other goals. In addition, with applications hosted centrally, updates can be released without the need for users to install new software.
Cloud computing is of three types: Private Cloud (cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party, and hosted either internally or externally), Public Cloud (the services are rendered over a network that is open for public use. Public cloud services may be free) and Hybrid Cloud (a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain distinct entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models).
Let’s take a look at top cloud services companies….
Google Apps- Google Apps for Work (formerly Google Apps for Business) is a suite of cloud computing productivity and collaboration software tools and software offered on a subscription basis by Google. It includes Google’s popular web applications including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. While these products are available to consumers free of charge, Google Apps for Work adds business-specific features such as custom email addresses at your domain (@yourcompany.com), at least 30GB of storage for documents and email, and 24/7 phone and email support. According to Google, more than 5 million organizations around the world use Google Apps, including 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies.
Amazon Web Services- Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a collection of remote computing services, also called web services that make up a cloud computing platform offered by Amazon.com. These services are based out of 11 geographical regions across the world. The most central and well-known of these services are Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3. These products are marketed to large and small companies as a service to provide large computing capacity much faster and cheaper than the client company building an actual physical server farm.
Oracle Taleo- Taleo is a cloud-based human resources application suite focused on a variety of features, including recruiting, on-boarding, performance management, succession planning, analytics, and compensation.
Ariba- Ariba is a software and information technology services company located in Sunnyvale, California. In 2012 Ariba was acquired by SAP as a means of strengthening the German vendor’s position in the cloud-based world, leverages cloud-based collaborative commerce applications to support a Web-based trading community for enterprise-level commerce. Ariba claims that its network supports daily transactions of nearly $1.1 billion per day in more than 140 countries.
SuccessFactors – SAP bought SuccessFactors in December 2011 for $3.4 billion, adding cloud-based personnel-management applications to its portfolio. SuccessFactors focuses on a variety of HR-related functions including payroll, collaboration, training, performance tracking, workforce analytics and recruiting through cloud-based applications. The company’s business execution software is intended to improve business alignment and performance while at the same time extending efficiencies through the use of the cloud.
Concur Technologies- Concur Technologies provides SaaS-based solutions to support travel and expense management, including corporate travel booking, expense report automation, reimbursement, audit, business intelligence and corporate card integration. The company claims a user base of more than 5 million people.
Omniture of Adobe- A business unit of Adobe, Omniture adds web analytics, measurement and optimization technologies to Adobe’s content creation tools. It is an online marketing and web analytics based company. The offerings are now being sold as part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, providing a dashboard from which to assess a wide variety of data on customer marketing campaigns.
Akamai- Akamai Technologies, Inc. is a cloud services provider headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. Akamai’s content delivery network is one of the world’s largest distributed computing platforms. The company operates a network of servers around the world and rents capacity on these servers to customers who want their websites to work faster by distributing content from locations close to the user. Over the years their customers have included Apple, Facebook, Bing, Twitter and healthcare.gov.
Salesforce.com- Salesforce Inc. is a global cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Though best known for its customer relationship management (CRM) product, Salesforce has also expanded into commercial applications of social networking through acquisition. As of 2015, it is one of the largest American cloud computing companies with a market capitalization of $40 billion.
In India Cloud computing companies located mainly in all major cities like New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Noida, Kolkata and Mumbai. TCS, Zenith Info Tech, Net Magic Solutions, Tata Communications, Synage and Reliance Data Center are the Mumbai based cloud computing providers in India. App Point and Infosys are Bangalore based cloud computing companies, where you can choose the different PaaS,IaaS and SaaS Services.
Top cloud computing providers in India are: Infosys, TCS, Wipro Technologies, Zenith InfoTech, Synapse India, App Point, CtrlS, Clogeny, Eaze Work, Net Magic Solutions, Tata Communications, Orange Scape, Ozonetel Systems, PK4 Software, Ramco, Reliance Data Center, Synage and Wolf Frameworks.
There was a time when start-ups had to keep aside a large portion of their capital for infrastructure. But over the past few years, Cloud has become the preferred infrastructure mode for start-ups, helping them grow and scale rapidly. Dropbox, 99 Designs, Instagram, Parse and RedBus are some of the examples where Cloud played a significant role in their success. Realizing the growth potential in this space, Cloud service providers started to lure early-stage start-ups to host their products on their Cloud platforms. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Rackspace and IBM have specific programmes designed for start-ups, so that they can easily get started on Cloud. These technology biggies are partnering with reputed incubators and accelerators to support their portfolio companies. Microsoft has gone a step ahead and invested in its own accelerator to attract start-ups to its Azure Cloud platform.
Here are five resources for start-ups who want to join the Cloud bandwagon.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)- As one of the first Cloud platforms, AWS is the preferred platform for many start-ups across the world. It’s very common to see start-ups spin a couple of EC2 instances to launch their minimal viable products. But to make it more attractive for start-ups, Amazon has a programme called AWS Activate, which offers a slew of benefits. For a start-up that is a member of one of the accelerators, seed funds or other start-up organisations, Amazon offers free credits ranging between $1,000 and $15,000, along with technical training programmes and free business level support.
IBM- SoftLayer, an IBM company, has a start-up incubator called Catalyst. With 13 data centres in the US, Asia and Europe, it is a viable choice for start-ups. SoftLayer has partnered with incubators and accelerators around the world to support the start-up ecosystem. Eligible start-ups get $1,000 monthly credit to host their applications on SoftLayer’s infrastructure.
Google Cloud Platform- Google is not far behind when it comes to luring start-ups to its Cloud platform. With success stories like Snapchat and Rovio behind it, Google App Engine and Compute Engine are becoming the new favourites of start-ups. The Google Cloud Platform Startup Pack offers $20,000 in credits to use any component of its Cloud services platform. Google has also partnered with accelerators and incubators like 10000Startups.com to support the latter’s portfolio companies.
Microsoft Azure- Microsoft BizSpark programme is one of the oldest and popular programmes among the technology start-ups. Eligible companies get almost every piece of software that Microsoft ships, including access to Azure, its flagship Cloud platform. As a part of Microsoft Ventures initiative, it has set up exclusive accelerators in 7 cities across the world. With 82% funded start-ups behind it, the Bangalore accelerator has been a very successful one for Microsoft.
Rackspace- Rackspace is one of the early Cloud service providers to offer special packages for start-ups. Its start-up programme offers hosting on its public cloud, private cloud or dedicated infrastructure. Rackspace also offers support from a great set of mentors to guide the participants besides providing architecture guidance on designing and building cloud-based products.
Cloud Based Startups in India:
Trip38- Bangalore based startup Trip38, that launched at bigMobilityConf, wants to help users get well informed details regarding their travel destinations. Their service provides users with location based content such as sightseeing options, weather, hotel offers/deals, and embassy/consulate information.
pCloudy- pCloudy, that launched at bigMobilityConf, is a test environment on the cloud for developers. The cloud based platform covers over 9 versions of Android (iPhone in the pipeline), more than 8 screen resolutions, over 10 display sizes and more than 5 aspect rations for developers to test a website or an app using the browser.
i7 Networks- i7 Networks is an enterprise security company which has developed a solution called PeregrineGuard, that launched at bigMobilityConf, which will give IT managers a way of securing the network by providing controls that help in discovering devices being used by employees, maintaining inventory of devices in use in a network and applying granular access control.
Exotel- Exotel, that launched at UnPluggd, is a unified voice/SMS Pay-on-the-go cloud solution for business with no wires, capex, instruments or installations. It is a virtual business phone system with features like extensions, voicemail, conference, dialer, SMS keyword responder etc.
KooKoo- KooKoo, that launched at UnPluggd, is a cloud telephony platform that interfaces between web application and the caller. It takes phone commands from user and executes them on user’s behalf to the caller. The best way to think of KooKoo is as just another web page in your application. Only difference is, the web page is accessible from the phone rather than the browser.
Phone Warrior- Phone Warrior is an app that will tell user the name & location of the unknown caller during the incoming call and also at the end of the call. The tool will also blocks unwanted Calls & SMS. The service browses through its crowdsourced phone number database to identify who’s calling you and determine whether the origin number is a spammer’s.
KartRocket- KartRocket, by Delhi based BigFoot Retail Solutions, is a DIY platform which can be used by sellers to start an online store. The platform comes bundled with international payment options, cash on delivery and a shipping platform. It comes with over 100 apps that help sellers integrate with various platforms.
DataWeave- DataWeave is in the business of aggregating unstructured and noisy data from a large number of sources on the web and presenting it to businesses in readily usable forms. On top of data sets, they build APIs, visualizations, and analytics. PriceWeave, one of their major products, provides competitive intelligence for eRetailers, brands, and manufacturers.
ScaleArc- ScaleArc’s iDB software, which is available for MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle and Postgres database environments, offers real-time query analytics and control, instant horizontal scaling, caching, dynamic load balancing and more, all without any changes to existing applications or databases.
CloudByte- CloudByte is storage system software that runs on commodity hardware. The software can be configured to run as a storage controller that can manage storage, or it can also be configured to run as a storage device that can provide storage capacity. Their platform, when configured as a storage controller, can manage physical or virtual storage, direct attached or networked storage and file storage or block storage exposed by CloudByte storage or other vendors.
Birds Eye System- Traffline, BirdsEye System’s flagship product, is a low-cost, real-time traffic monitoring system that broadcasts live traffic conditions to road commuters. Their platform also provides software and mobile applications, for transport related applications.
Eventifier– Bangalore based Eventifier is an automatic aggregator that collates all user generated media for an event from various social streams like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Youtube, Vimeo, Slideshare, Speakerdeck, Prezi, Yfrog, Photobucket etc and makes an archive page for an event.
Vaultize- Vaultize is a cloud based data storage service started by Mumbai based startup Anoosmar technologies. The service aimed at enterprises comes with enterprise class SLAs and claim to ensure secure protection of files, emails, and application databases on desktops, laptops and servers.
Shephertz– Shephertz technologies is a cloud based backend technology platform company that allows developers build and deploy applications on its platform. The company provides backend for app development using App42, a unified PaaS for mobile and web applications.