How to Choose the Best Cloud Platforms for your Startup
Choose best cloud platform

How to Choose the Best Cloud Platforms for your Startup [Examples Included]

Although the pandemic in 2020 dampened the spirits of the world economy, IT showed its resilience, agility, and adaptability with the help of cloud platforms that are empowering the next generation of startups.

As offices and workplaces are forced by the lockdown to move online, they see a pressing need to transition their services and tools to the cloud in weeks rather than months. This results in chaos for organizations that have not planned for this contingency in advance, making their transition difficult. 

The growth of cloud platforms

In a forecast of the cloud industry by Gartner, the public cloud market was estimated to grow by 6.4% to cross $242 billion by the end of 2020 and is now estimated to grow 18% in 2021 to cross $304.9 billion. Although the hiccups and the mad scramble to move “everything” to the cloud have passed after easing of restrictions in most parts of the world, younger companies, especially startups must understand that moving to cloud platforms is the first step towards a successful future.

The adoption of cloud hosting and cloud platforms has increased drastically in the last year. According to a report from Flexera, nearly 96% of small, mid, and large enterprises were using some type of cloud hosting or cloud computing tools and services. Additionally, nearly 76% of these organizations also had a private cloud setup. In a recent survey by Interop, it was found that SaaS initiatives accounted for nearly half (42%) of cloud-related budgets in most organizations.

Moving to the cloud is more of a necessity, and is no longer an option for businesses to ignore. A move to the cloud is now essential for continued growth. In the words of Sid Nag, VP Research at Gartner: “As CIOs think more strategically about how to lay the foundations to support a return to growth, it is clear that the move to digital and associated services will play a big role for organizations in the future,” said Mr Nag. “Cloud adoption, therefore, becomes a significant means to stay ahead in a post-COVID-19 world focused on agility and digital touchpoints.” This means that startups and large organizations alike must embrace the power of the cloud for success and sustainability.

“Cloud adoption is now a significant means to stay ahead in a post-COVID-19 world focused on agility and digital touchpoints.” – Sid Nag, VP Gartner Research.

What are the benefits of cloud technology for young startups?

Cloud computing and hosting services have transformed the way businesses operate. As a versatile and highly available alternative to local storage and computing, cloud hosting and cloud computing services allow businesses to access, store and showcase information anytime, anywhere.

Although the benefits of switching to cloud-based computing and hosting services are many, here are the most important ones for you to learn about:

5 reasons why your startup should migrate to the cloud: 

  1. Collaboration:

    As companies embrace the remote work model, many startups are trying to figure out how to effectively manage in-office workers and those working from home. Cloud-based sharing, storage and computing are the answers for effective collaborative work that helps organizations bring together employees from every corner of the world onto one seamless platform. This brings uniformity in tools, agility in the way your teams work with each other, and simplifies file sharing.

  2. Security:

    Data and information security are essential for every organization. Whether you’re a startup with a small team or a large company, data security and safety must be of utmost importance to you. With access to privilege management and policy-based routing being built-in for most cloud solutions, it becomes easy for organizations to manage data security without heavy investments in IT personnel and devices.  Additionally, cloud providers offer data redundancy and disaster recovery services by default, helping your startup to make the switch to cloud services with confidence.

  3. Mobility:

    Cloud computing and hosting services have made traditional office spaces redundant. With the capability to take the office with you wherever you are, employees can leverage the power of the cloud to work from virtually anywhere, as long as they have access to an internet connection. Marketing and sales teams benefit from the availability of sales and marketing collateral at centralized locations so they can easily showcase their offerings to clients no matter where they are.

  4. Cost and Scale:

    With traditional office spaces, large servers, data safes and work environments being unnecessary in today’s times, startups and established businesses are set to save more than what they would pay to maintain physical infrastructure. As reliance on physical computing and storage devices is reduced to just a terminal window in our computers, organizations are set to save thousands of dollars each year by moving to the cloud. 
    Additionally, with a pay-per-use approach, cloud services help you save money even when they scale to higher tiers after a surge in demand.

  5. Integration and Migration:

    Many businesses are wary of moving to the cloud due to concerns with data integration and migration. Modern cloud-based services and cloud tools offer companies seamless paths to migrate from their existing infrastructure to a cloud-based setup with minimal downtime and a near-identical interface—ensuring that there is nearly no learning curve and employees of all levels can easily jump the cloud bandwagon with ease.

Additional advantages of moving to a cloud hosting setup include using the platform as a service for easy upgradation, high-availability, low cost of ownership, improved productivity, and centralized data storage that give startups and established businesses more reasons to make the switch, fast!

How to choose the best cloud provider for your startup

Now that you’ve decided to make the switch to the cloud, it is important to know what you need to consider before you begin the migration process. Here’s what you must keep in mind before taking the plunge:

  1. Map your business requirements:

    Mapping your business requirements will be the first step that will help you in a successful transition to cloud-based services. This includes moving compliance, visibility, and decision-making to the cloud in the form of process automation, automated analytics, monitoring, and feedback.  Mapping your business requirements will also ensure that your startup is able to function with the same or improved levels of productivity.

  2. Understand your storage and computing requirements:

    Assessment of your storage and computing requirements is essential before you zero into a provider. Knowing whether you need a public or private cloud, the type of software and tools available with your provider and the suitability of your provider for your business type is an important consideration before you make a decision. This includes choosing a platform that supports your business and engineering processes. 

    Example: If you are heavily reliant on .NET for your engineering requirements, then Microsoft Azure is the best option for you.

  3. Users and devices:

    Too little or too much is never good for you. The same works for cloud setups. A careful calculation of your intended user and device count must be done before you get a quote or start your migration process. 

    Example: As a rule of thumb, always provision for 10% extra users. If your organization currently has 20 employees, provisioning for 22 or even 25 users will ensure that you can grow seamlessly. Additionally, interns and trainees can easily be adjusted in this additional user base.

  4. Budgetary constraints:

    Your budget will be a major factor that will determine your vendor choice. 

    Example: Considering storage types, server count, migration execution costs and connectivity costs is essential and can help you make the right decision before you make the switch.

    The best way to analyze your upcoming cloud transition spend is to use your preferred cloud provider’s calculator. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft provide calculators that help you figure out upfront cloud transition costs.

  5. Technological needs:

    Your product may not be compatible or work well with all providers. Technological compatibility is an essential consideration before you start shortlisting vendors. Ensure that your vendor supports your software and hardware requirements along with the scalability and extensibility that you need. 

    Example: Companies working with Amazon S3 depend on AWS for seamlessness. Companies working on .Net and MS SQL depend on Azure for technological compliance. Explore your use case well before you make the switch.

DevOps process

Different Types of Cloud Platforms

  1. Public cloud platforms

    Public clouds such as Azure, AWS, IBM Bluemix, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean and Alibaba share computing services between different customers while keeping each customer’s data and applications hidden from other customers.
    Public clouds are a popular option for startups that need:

    • Low entry cost
    • Near-zero maintenance
    • Near-unlimited scalability
    • High reliability

     

  2. Private cloud platforms

    These cloud services are not shared with any other organization. All private cloud users will have the cloud to themselves.
    Examples: Microsoft Cloud, SAP HANA, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud and Google Cloud Virtual Network.
    Private clouds are best for organizations that need:

    • Flexibility with customization
    • Additional control over resources and privacy
    • High levels of scalability and reliability
  3. Hybrid cloud platforms

    Hybrid cloud platforms are a combination of one or more public clouds with a private cloud. They offer organizations greater flexibility in resources, more deployment options than public clouds, and higher levels of security and compliance. Hybrid cloud computing gives you the ability to scale your setup seamlessly when demand fluctuates. Additionally, you can always scale your on-premise infra to the public cloud—without giving third-party data centers access to private customer data.
    Examples: Microsoft Azure Stack, AWS Outposts and Google Cloud Anthos.
    Hybrid clouds offer:

    • Control over strategic resources
    • Flexibility to scale
    • Cost-effectiveness 
    • Ease of transition

Exploring the best cloud platforms and top cloud providers

Although the sheer number of cloud platforms available today will make it impossible for us to list them in one article, here is a list of the top three cloud providers that will help you narrow down your search:

  • Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform has over 100 products and services that include computing, storage, ML, and AI that are seamlessly integrated and are available to use easily. Google Cloud helps you to build and host applications and websites, analyze, store and manage data, all using Google’s scalable, secure and reliable infrastructure. Here’s what makes Google Cloud tick:

Firebase: Firebase is Google Cloud’s mobile development platform that helps teams verify app users, use Firebase Cloud Messaging to send push notifications, and use Cloud Functions to execute code without having to access and manage servers.

Cloud Firestore: Firestore is a Google Cloud database that is used to store and sync user data. Cloud Firestore is an extremely flexible and scalable database that is used for mobile, web, and server development from Firebase and Google Cloud.  Firestore offers real-time updates, expressive querying and scalability, making it an ideal choice for Google Cloud Platform users.

Google Cloud Pricing

Google Cloud platform offers all startups a free tier for the first 12 months which includes a free $300 credit. Once you have exhausted your free credits or the free tier time period (12 months) you will be notified to upgrade your account so you can use Google Cloud’s pay-as-you-go service.

 Azure is Microsoft’s answer to AWS and Google. Considered to be the most enterprise-friendly service, Azure is free to start and has a pay-per-use model that allows users to scale as per need.  Azure supports a wide variety of programming languages such as C#, NodeJS, Java and many more.

Microsoft Azure Pricing

Azure’s free tier is similar to Google Cloud, offering 12 months of free usage along with $200 in cloud credits that you can use to purchase paid services such as cognitive services, learning algorithms, Linux VMs, and much more. Upgrades from paid to free Azure services are easy and seamless.

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Possibly the most well-known and one of the earliest cloud services platforms, Amazon’s cloud platform AWS allows you to host and manage services on the internet with ease. With flexible billing platforms and fully-featured free tiers, AWS has something for organizations of all sizes. AWS cloud is extremely startup-friendly. Offering a simple, pay-as-you-go tier called AWS Activate along with their free tier, Amazon Web Services offers groundbreaking features to startups that are not found on other competing platforms. 

Read our blog to learn how you can reduce your AWS bill to maximize ROI

AWS Activate is free to join and offers a host of resources including hands-on labs, technical training, expert assistance and promotional credits to help your startup get up and running in no time. Amazon’s world-class cloud services include the EC2 Compute Cloud, S3 storage, RDS managed database services, Route 53 managed DNS services and ELB (Elastic Load Balancer) that help you scale on-demand. Amazon is a big hit with both startups and large players due to their super-flexible billing platforms that give you a per-hour view of each service that supports micro-billing. Their signup process is seamless, easy and all you need is a credit card to begin. 

With the current rate of adoption, it is estimated that nearly 75% of all non-cloud apps will successfully migrate to the cloud within the next three years. Shifting to the cloud for smaller startups has only just begun—and shows no signs of slowing down as they see the business value delivered by these platforms right after adoption. What started as a need to solve infrastructure and technical challenges is now a necessity. Cloud computing can help you mitigate any challenges of scale from idea to MVP and even if you wish to go public, ensuring that your customers continue to get value from your offerings on-demand. Our extremely experienced DevOps engineers and consultants have spent years helping organizations of all sizes move to the cloud.

We can help you get a holistic view of your requirements, apply our extensive and deep industry experience to design, implement and manage your cloud strategy for success. 

Whether you are a young startup or an established business, Volumetree’s world-class DevOps services will help you move to a faster, more scalable, reliable, and efficient infrastructure in no time. Set up a free consultation meeting with our DevOps team to know more today!

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