Clear 'Clouded' Growth How startups and growing businesses need to structure themselves to get the most out of it?

By Sandeep Soni

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Entrepreneur India
Vivek Malhotra, Director-Cloud, IBM India/South Asia

Low cost, better sharing, great collaboration, high flexibility and deeper integration; these are universal benefits cloud offers to growing businesses. But how start-ups and growing businesses need to structure themselves to get the most out of it? Vivek Malhotra, Director-Cloud, IBM India/South Asia, put that in perspective.

How can a startup distinguish between what needs to be moved to the cloud and what does not?

Cloud is an enabler that doesn't ask you to discard what you already have and build fresh infrastructure. The workload that has the propensity to move to the cloud can be moved as and when your current infrastructure gets outdated. You need to identify which are your new workloads as your business grows. On the other hand, you need to break existing workloads into what you need to remain traditionally within the organization and what can slowly be moved to cloud. So it is about creating a hybrid environment.

It is beneficial to host applications on the cloud which also means moving its support systems to the cloud. But wouldn't productivity be hampered if access to cloud is interrupted?

Yes but the system has become quite robust now, and it would continue to be so. Nonetheless it allows start-ups to scale up their efforts in taking their products to customers. This is a concern emerges every time a new technology comes in.

What are the aspects for businesses to take care if they move from on-premise to private or public cloud?

A company generally has three kinds of storage environment. First, having a completely on-premise infrastructure environment; second, having few private clouds in the organization, and third, having few solutions possibly on different public clouds. Businesses will keep moving from on-premise to private to public cloud. Interconnecting
all three of them using an orchestration layer, allowing seamless flow of data across them and ensuring that there is no breach of security in the course is something that companies should need to take care of.

Do you see start-ups changing cloud providers often?

First of all, why would a start-up want to do that? Second, even if they want, solution providers like us offer OpenStack-based services where start-ups can move in and out whenever they want to though it can be quite hassling. Start-ups don't need to plan a roadmap of the infrastructure or a platform that they want to buy for a particular period.

They can start from the bottom-most level and keep scaling up or down with the services they need as per their growth. For example for cloud based payroll solutions that a company knows will consume a huge amount of bandwidth at the month-end, gets a solution that allows the company to scale up for the last few days of the month and scale down back and use it on a reduced cost as per its needs.

How do you see start-ups treating their Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) on cloud?

Start-ups that create new and innovative APIs should open that up in the public domain and let others build apps using them. This will let those start-ups retain their uniqueness. This is the collaborative environment where the market is heading. If start-ups decide to keep their APIs with themselves, they will be able to monetize them only for few months until someone else make them.

Should start-ups be worried about spying by its cloud provider?

Start-ups should not at all be worried. We our self as a cloud provider are more worried about providing start-ups with great agility, security, services and exposure to the new things that could help them.

Sandeep Soni

Former Features Editor

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