Aug 14 2018

Lean, agile and flexible – the three defining characteristics of progressive startup firms that target exponential growth and accelerated innovation. In the age of digitization, these attributes are associated with the resources that power startup products and services that must reach a vibrant and unpredictable market with minimal investments. Most startups operate on a limited budget as they aim to disrupt the market and foster innovation faster than their established competitors. As a result, they shouldn’t allocated constrained resources to build and manage the technology infrastructure needed to achieve these goals by themselves. To address these concerns, startup firms can take advantage of scalable, flexible, cost-effective and highly available public cloud technologies while only paying for the services they use.

Gartner predicts the public cloud services industry will reach the $380 billion mark by 2020, which validates the unprecedented value propositions that public cloud technologies offer startup as well as established enterprise companies firms:

1. Greater Cost Agility and Lean Growth

Public cloud allows a high degree of cost variability by trading fixed CapEx with ongoing, manageable OpEx incurred only for the services consumed by startups facing varied, unpredictable and relatively low computing requirements. With the on-demand service pricing structure of public cloud, startups optimize IT investments to meet unpredictable and variable service level requirements. Upfront investments on datacenters and on-premise technologies are no longer required and the retained budget can be used on other opportunities of business innovation instead. Cloud providers are continually adding cutting-edge services to stay competitive in their market and future-proof the infrastructure deployments. Agile organizations can work with cloud experts and embrace the lean growth philosophy to focus resource investments and efforts on creating products that are adaptable to meet the evolving requirements of the market.

However, cloud customers also need to avoid the purchasing pitfalls, understand the mechanism of reserving instances and optimize their cloud investment approach. Partnering with a third party cloud solutions provider can address these concerns, help maximize resource utilization and optimize investments on cloud resources in many ways, such as aggregation of reserved instances.

2. Scalability, Flexibility and Efficiency

Fast-growing startup firms experience rapidly evolving technology and business requirements. The ability to deploy large CapEx towards business expansion instead of a new technology infrastructure can mean the difference between accelerated business growth or business stagnation. Additionally, on-premise technology deployments often require over provisioning in order to accommodate future growth requirements which is often more of an art than science.. Underestimating business growth in that time means that the infrastructure will be undersized, requiring additional capital in the future. Overestimating requirements means that the datacenter will have excess capacity, meaning the capital funds used to build the IT infrastructure were misallocated and wasted. Public cloud solutions offer the ability for businesses to scale usage up or down nearly seamlessly based on the actual business need, while eliminating waste spending. This is exactly what potential investors want to see in the business plan of your startup organization.

3. Reduced Complexity

Public cloud solutions are operated by third-party service providers and therefore offer significant reduction in complexity for startup firms that lack the necessary technical expertise and resources. Vendors manage their own upgrades and enhancements, relieving customers from complex, time-consuming projects and downtime. Cloud vendors also offer the ability to auto-provision new production servers, allowing applications to dynamically scale up and down in response to load. From a technical perspective, complexity within the IT infrastructure itself is reduced as startups no longer have to plan, deploy, manage and replace a myriad of hardware and software resources on site. Organizations that opt for cloud-based applications can configure and scale their hardware and software resources on demand, giving them the operational flexibility that they need to maintain agile business processes.

4. Optimizing DevOps

Startup firms are well positioned to embrace the latest Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) practices as they constantly racing against the clock in reaching an optimal product-market fit. Cloud solutions enable these organizations to meet these goals more effectively. Vendors typically provide APIs for capabilities like provisioning, de-provisioning and monitoring that allow DevOps teams to:

  • Construct more consistent and repeatable server builds,
  • Do more timely and repeatable software rollouts,
  • Build software to automatically respond to various failure conditions, and
  • Leverage containers and micro-services in the cloud to dynamically scale apps and services as needed.

Many cloud vendors offer the ability to virtually move servers or applications from the local datacenter to the cloud (or vice-versa) with little effort. A combined cloud/on-premises model allows companies to retain their production systems on-premises but perform development or QA in the cloud, either on a continual basis, or for one-off projects like testing a database upgrade. These are some of the endless DevOps use cases of public cloud technologies that are essential for the DevOps success of startup firms. Ultimately, startup companies can work with cloud experts to optimize product development and lifecycle management through cloud-driven DevOps functionality continuously improving their offerings  to the market with lower cost and higher efficiencies.

5. Security and Business Continuity

When startups partner with leading cloud vendors such as AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Platform to address their computing requirements, they can also leverage a full stack of state-of-the-art security solutions. And while it is incumbent upon the consumers of cloud services to secure their workflows and data in the cloud, all of the tools necessary are readily available and easily deployed. Contrary to the opinion that data stored on-premise is less prone to security attacks or availability issues, startup firms cannot match cloud vendors in maintaining sophisticated security, performance and availability capabilities. Modern public cloud architecture is designed to decouple the compute service from the