"Today’s enterprise-grade datacenter infrastructure makes it easier than ever for startups to rapidly build and deploy disruptive software."
But, how scalable should this technology be at which point, and which cloud service to choose, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and then which vendor to select? If you are still uncertain about what each of these cloud services means, please read our post on the types of cloud.
The most common cloud service is the one offering virtual data storage disks and virtual servers, that is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). "IaaS is why Pinterest served nearly 12 million monthly unique visitors with only 16 employees," according to Network Computing. Depending on your cloud strategy, after implementing IaaS, you can continue to build to platform on the cloud and software and more. First, we'll explain why cloud is the best long term option, and then continue to suggest choices for IaaS vendors, those that offer start-up coaching programs. However, keep in mind that in addition to these suggestions you'll need to:
- consider trying more vendors at once
- look into provider portfolios for interoperability, flexibility, SLAs and security
- as you gain experience, compose for yourself a cohesive, forward-looking cloud strategy
- build to use more than one type of cloud services (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS…), according to your needs and the growth of your business
Start-ups and Cloud Computing: A Triumph
If you are an entrepreneur, you probably want to keep your costs low, and scale your application if and when needed. Until you get a full idea of how many users you can expect, thousands, ten thousands, a million. Maybe you'll even need two solutions, instead of one, to keep a backup. There are infinite possibilities with the cloud. The good news is that the cloud technology is fault tolerant.
Interestingly, regardless of the economic crisis, the growth in public cloud services continues quite convincingly, and is expected to record a compound annual growth rate of 17.7% from 2011 through 2016, with total market growing to $210 billion in 2016 (according to Gartner).
The bad news is that the web application market is not as fault tolerant as the cloud technology, but if you are launching your start-up with the cloud, you stand a better chance to:
- quickly test prototypes and beta releases
- meet the growing demand successfully without buying additional servers, power and storage
- easily scale your IT infrastructure and customize it
- access petabytes of data storage
- pay only what you use (peak times and non-peak times costs vary)
- be more flexible in terms of operating systems, application platforms, frameworks, program languages etc.
The biggest gain however is that you get more time for developing the application itself, that is, you can focus on what matters most for your business to succeed. Servers, gears and storage all become - somebody else's problem.
Image 1 - The Rackspace Hosting survey results (Source: http://blog.rackspace.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/economic-impact-of-cloud-blog.jpg)
The study of 1,300 US and UK executives, conducted by Rackspace Hosting, finds that 62% of respondents either agreed totally or somewhat with the statement that “cloud computing is a key factor in the recent boom of entrepreneurs and start-ups." 25% agreed strongly with this idea, while many were speaking from experience. According to Forbes, which bring the analysis of this survey, "cloud computing is the foundation of what The New York Times’ Tom Friedman called the DIY (do it yourself) economy."
Choosing Your IaaS vendor: Which One?
Not only has the cloud computing changed how enterprises are build, but also how investments are made, how licenses are produced, how risks are handled, how control is managed. Most importantly, it lets start-ups preserve their flexibility.
Given that it isn't easy to choose your partner in a billion dollar market, we recommend the following top cloud IaaS service vendors for your start-up, to best balance cost and disruption, and to receive a special start-up coaching programs.
1. AWS Lean Cloud
To support the growing startup movement, AWS in Asia Pacific launched “The Lean Cloud”, a program that aims to provide education, training, and global exposure for promising start-ups. These include mentoring sessions, workshops, networking events that allow startups to leverage the AWS cloud faster, and accelerate their time to market the ideas. Every year, AWS also launches Amazon Web Services global start-up challenge, and awards best entrepreneurs using AWS. AWS offers Amazon EC2, one of the top IaaS options, delivering scalable, pay-as-you-go virtual computing environment in the cloud.
2. Rackspace Start-Ups
The US based Rackspace, with an ever-growing set of cloud-related products and services billed on a utility computing basis, has been in the hosting market since 1998. It holds a startup program, providing not only hosting, but - coaching. It partners with the incubators, universities, and venture capital firms to produce program for education. On the official website, you can find videos, news, a list of participating groups, all valuable information for entrepreneurs. Rackspace has data centers in the US, Australia, United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Hong Kong.
3. Softlayer Catalyst
Softlayer cloud computing provider also adds a coaching program to its services, called Catalyst, the startup incubator. Softlayer has data centers in Amsterdam, Seattle, Singapore, Dallas, and Washington D.C., and they are built upon SoftLayer’s unique pod design concept. Each data center facility features one or more pods, each built to the same specifications with best-in-class methodologies to support up to 5,000 servers. At the core of the platform and of data centers, are the server racks. Each server comes with triple network ports, for segregated Public Network, Private Network and Management Network access. Overall, The SoftLayer network provides customers with over 2,000 Gbps of connectivity between data centers and 16 points of presence (PoPs).