Cloud computing: How the amazing Amazon service brings agility to companies
Around the world, cloud first is the way forward. In India too, a few companies are transitioning to a new age where cloud computing—on-demand delivery of compute power, database storage, applications, and other IT resources through a cloud services platform via the internet with pay-as-you-go pricing—is enabling them to transform into intelligent enterprises. India is set to be among the top cloud markets in the world by 2020, with $4.1 billion market opportunity.
Take the case of water purifier brand, Kent RO Systems. As part of its support infrastructure, Kent has a call centre with more than 100 agents responding to people’s enquiries. Kent’s customer relationship management (CRM) environment ran on the cloud. Saurabh Gupta, chief information officer at Kent, however, wanted to give the environment a more “flexible footing”. Kent chose AmazonWeb Services (AWS) after a review of cloud-service providers. Kent now has more agility with its CRM solution because of AWS. The company can scale up the CRM environment on demand and, likewise, scale down if necessary. It also avoids IT-procurement cycles and time-consuming deployment projects. Says Gupta, “We have lowered our IT infrastructure and cloud services costs by 10% by switching to the AWS Cloud. By using AWS Device Farm, our DevOps team is developing apps more efficiently,” Gupta says.
Finding the ideal match
Similarly, online matchmaking services provider Shaadi.com has brought a traditional, local service into the digital age with choice and convenience. The core of its business is a computationally intensive, algorithm-based, profile-matching service. To support expansion, increase agility, and reduce management complexity, it migrated its entire solution from a hosted private cloud to AWS. “With our previous solution, business and product managers could get data through reports, but only our engineers could access it at a more granular level,” says Ajay Poddar, vice president of engineering at Shaadi.com. “We tried Amazon Redshift, which enabled business users to pull up data using basic SQL. The pilot users loved it, so we decided to adopt it as our data warehouse.” Soon, it decided to move its entire service to AWS. The environment takes advantage of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for processing across the platform, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for object storage, and Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) for coordination among individual services. Amazon ElastiCache handles distributed in-memory data storage.
Using AWS has increased business and technical users’ visibility into Shaadi.com operations. “We have an application that pulls relevant numbers from Amazon Redshift every morning and sends them to people first thing, so they always have the latest,” says Poddar. “A live tracker shows decision makers exactly what’s going on with the site at all times, including how many likes, how many people are blocking others, and so on.”
Whenever there is a patch or upload, it can monitor metrics for any changes. “We do A/B testing, and the tracker gives real-time information on whether the change is good or bad so that we can make immediate adjustments,” says Poddar.
Perhaps the most significant impact of the shift is that the company can innovate faster. “The biggest benefit is that we can try more things,” says Poddar. “We don’t have to procure equipment every time we want to develop a new application. We can experiment with architecture changes, create new services, and make our services better just by spinning up a few servers and trying stuff.”
Without doubt, cloud has become the “new normal” as companies of every size are now leveraging the same.