Six years ago when most enterprises were still trying to figure out what cloud computing means, Apeejay Stya and Svran Group decided to take the entire $1-billion-plus conglomerate to cloud. Today, the familyheld group’s entire IT infrastructure is on Amazon cloud.
"We wanted to have a standardised IT infrastructure for all our group companies across 52 locations and cloud was the best way to do it," said Aditya Berlia, a management board member of the Delhi-based group.
The company has moved all its servers, including the missioncritical ones, to Amazon Web Services (AWS), reducing its internal IT staff to three from 23 and cutting IT costs by over 80 per cent. "The best part about AWS is that whenever I talk to them once in three months, they come up with a new way to reduce my cost, as against others who are constantly trying to dig into my pockets," Berlia said.
They are not alone. There are over 8,000 companies in India that have already boarded the AWS ship, including large enterprises such as Tata Motors, Reliance Entertainment, NDTV, Narayana Health, Macmillan India, EROS International, Malayala Manorama and Sony Entertainment.
Reliance Entertainment has 40 per cent of its total IT workload on AWS. "When we thought of adopting cloud computing for our variable volumes and games apps, AWS was the one which we have adopted from inception," said its CEO Manish Agarwal.
Amazon is pushing its cloud services in India by not only reducing prices on a regular basis but also by promising cost reductions to customer. "We have lowered prices 45 times since 2006 with no external pressure to do so," said Bikram S Bedi, head of Amazon Web Services India. "AWS is very comfortable with running high volume low margin businesses, which is deep in our DNA," he added.
Tata MotorsBSE 0.19 % has moved many non-critical applications to AWS. "Our customer-facing systems and our collaboration systems are on the cloud," said Jagdish Belwal, CIO at Tata Motors. "For us, the public cloud, is just a mode of delivery. We have our customer, dealer portals on the cloud because it is a more scalable model," he said.
Belwal believes that once Amazon sets up its data centre in India, the public cloud market will become more interesting as now there are some territorial issues in holding the data in the country.
Amazon’s aggressive pricing has also forced its competitors to make similar price cuts, making cloud computing more compelling for Indian enterprises. And competition is increasing in the cloud market. IBM has been spending millions of rupees advertising its Softlayer cloud as it tries to challenge AWS’ dominance while Microsoft has indicated plans to set up a data centre in India to push its cloud offerings in the country.
About 30 per cent of chief information officers (CIOs) in the country are using some kind of public cloud, according to Gartner.
"The public cloud is increasingly growing as an option. While SMBs (small and medium businesses) are the biggest users of the public cloud, even large corporates are exploring them in a more piecemeal fashion for projects that are more peripheral critical," said Naveen Mishra, research director at Gartner.
He, however, believes large-scale adoption of cloud among Indian enterprises is still some time away. "It will take another two or three years before corporates start using the public cloud in a strategic manner. Part of that is because of the ageold concerns — network connectivity, availability and even data privacy," Mishra said. "But that could change as public cloud providers start investing in data centres in India."