Why Startups Should Embrace Cloud Computing?
I run a tech startup and I know some the pains of running a tech startup. Startups have limited budgets and even limited tech support, but have to work around the limitations to build a cutting edge product. This is where cloud computing can help, and all startups must try their best to leverage the tools provided by this new paradigm.
Here are some reasons why startups should embrace cloud computing tools:
Cloud computing helps move the Capital Expenditures (CapEx) of buying servers and running a mini datacenter to Operational Expenditures (OpEx) of paying the cloud providers a regular sum. This is ideal for the startups as most cannot afford to invest a lot in capital and would look to leverage even cent of capital to build their product. As Paul Graham and other startup gurus have noted, cloud computing has substantially reduced the entry barriers to get started up.
You pay only for the resources you use. Thus, if your app is suddenly getting 100K hits, you become a hotshot and will pay for the cloud resources proportional to this usage. On the other hand, if your app bombs and barely hits 1K downloads you pay very little. This takes away some of the risks in product development.
Scalability is very easy. Predicting the scale is very hard in a startup. Nobody, not even their founders, could have predicted the successes of Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter. Thus, if you planned for 10K users and bought 2 servers for the load, but instead hit 1M users you can create a very bad experience for users. Forums will buzz with the fact that you built an app that sucks and crashes on every load. On some occasions this could mean the end of your startup. In the case of cloud apps, scalability is built right in and you can elastically increase your resources based on the load.
You don’t need a lot of IT support personnel. In a typical startup, the developers double as IT support guys, as the company cannot afford a separate IT desk. This reduces their productivity and also can slow down your deployment. By outsourcing your IT support task to your cloud provider, your developers are freed to work on your product development.
Helps keep your startup lean and mean. Companies are at their best when they start out at their garage as a lean mean unit. However, hiring and resource addition creates a lot of goo and makes many startups slow down. Using cloud apps would let your startup stay lean and mean for a longer period, as you don’t need to keep your server in-house or maintain a large IT team.
Helps you stay agile. Startups have to stay at the bleeding edge of technology and have to hop on the newest innovations very quickly. By spending less on the servers and desktop software, you can move quickly to new platforms, software and hardware. For instance, if SSDs become cheap, you can move your apps and files to utilize them without having to worry about your investment on the existing hard drives.
I think cloud computing is exactly made to address the pain of the startups. Startup founders must keep cloud as a core part of their tech strategy.
By Balaji Viswanathan
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