Outlook 'cloudy' for web based services in India, and that's a good sign!

Indian enterprises big and small,  are being wooed by  multiple cloud service providers. What's the attraction?
By Anand Parthasarathy
( This article appears in THE WEEK online)
Bangalore, October 4 2016: When it came to moving their  business data from servers located on their premises, to a virtual store  in the 'Cloud', Indian  enterprises  have been slow movers.   Virtualization -- turning   digital  assets residing on computers  that you can touch and feel into  files and folders , out there somewhere in Cyberia --  doesn't come easily to corporates. There is something reassuring about dozens of servers humming in the basement.
But when these same servers  suck in so much power to run them and keep them cool, that it creates a dent in the balance sheet, IT  managers are forced to look for alternatives.   A decade after the  industry came up with a new buzzword, the Cloud,  for an old concept, storage in the Web or Internet, the  financial cost of physical, in-house storage is forcing the most conservative enterprises to  start relooking at cloud options -- seriously. 
In one month September, alone, no fewer than four announcements were made in India , which invited businesses top entrust their  data assets to  providers of what  is  now  broadly called cloud services.
Here a rundown of the  announcements:
GoDaddy: Cloud hosting services: Last week, GoDaddy, best known as a provider of Internet domains,  launched   cloud hosting services in India  as well as cloud applications for small businesses.. The new offerings are designed to help the web developers to quickly build, test and scale cloud solutions for their Small and Medium Business customers.|
This is a  “pay-as-you-go” utility  offering the flexibility and control of hourly billing and monthly limits,  making it affordable for customers. The solution  starts at 50 paisa per hour. It integrates domains,  security and backups  - a sort of catch-all solution
GoDaddy  offers  its clients automatic backup of their data, and guarantees an up-time of 99.9 percent.

Google  Cloud  based in India:  Google has  created a  node of its cloud platform in Mumbai. The local region will help make Google Cloud Platform services even faster for Indian customers -- developers  as well as enterprises. Globally Google has  more than one billion end users  and is looking to add to its client list in India. They already include entitities like, Wipro, Ashok Leyland, Smartshift by Mahindra & Mahindra, Dainik Bhaskar Group and  the nee startup INshorts.com.
Google made the announcement about the India Cloud Region at an event in San Francisco, called Horizon  where it also unveiled  G Suite. Previously called Google Apps for Work, G Suite encompasses a set of intelligent apps - Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, and more - designed to bring people together, with real-time collaboration built in from the start.

Virtual Private Cloud:  Netmagic, an NTT Communications company, with headquarters in Japan, has been a pioneer in the Indian IT Infrastructure services space. It was one of the first to  launch services such as Cloud Computing, Managed Security, Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service and Software-Defined Storage.
A year ago,  it launched India’s largest data centre in October 2015 in Mumbai. Operational for the past 4 months   the centre and is already 60% sold out.  Last month Netmagic announced another cloud initiative:  SimpliVPC(Virtual Private Cloud),  a sort of hybrid that mixes  a public cloud space, with a private cloud in the client's direct control.  This is an example of a newly emerging trend: IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).  The entire service suite is offered on Pay-as-use service model. For starters, Netmagic offers SimpliVPC service from Mumbai and Bangalore-based  datacentres.

Transaction banking  on the cloud: Finally a Cloud offering that works in the opposite direction: an Indian provider,  extending its  solutions to the cloud, for a global  clientele.  Intellect iGTB, the organisation (formerly known as the Chennai-headquartered Polaris)    behind the world’s first comprehensive global transaction banking solution, has made its integrated cash and trade solution, Digital Transaction Banking (DTB), available as a cloud-based software as a service. The solution, which has over 70 installations world-wide, claims a high success rate,   increasing customer numbers by 32% year-on-year in one bank, and doubling  the customer base in just 9 months in another.
Explains iGTB CEO Manish Maakan: “Banks need, and are rightly demanding, the ability to offer new and enhanced services in a simpler manner. By accessing our existing solution via the cloud,  all  banks – particularly those whose concerns are more locally focused – can gain benefits that deliver significant value, all in a short space of time.”

The coincidence of  all these 'cloudy' solutions at this point in time is no happenstance. Digital India, Smart Cities and other programmes by the Government, are seen globally to  provide a big  boost to the IT Infrastructure sector in India. Between them these  sarkari outreaches may help  create   petaflops of new data.  Hosting them on the cloud -- especially in clouds whose servers are in India -- will seem like  the business opportunity of the decade. No wonder  the outlook is decidedly cloudy for enterprise India these days!