Every day, startups are becoming more popular. Unlike a regular business, a startup has an innovative basis, which means, there was no such business before. Usually, it is a young team, which has a great idea and a plan for its implementation — on the one hand, and the lack of money, resources and, sometimes, experience — on the other.
All processes of the project, like logistics, marketing, infrastructure, and others must be built from scratch. Such processes require investments, which the young company simply does not have. So, most parts of the startups need to cut all expenses, until they have the main investor. Another big problem of startups is the team members’ location. You can build a startup with people from a few cities or counties, so you need some system to coordinate each member’s work. Both of these problems can be solved by cloud infrastructure.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services like software, databases, storage, servers, analytics, networking, and others using the cloud services for startups like AWS, GCP, Azure, DigitalOcean, etc. Cloud computing platforms provide quick and flexible resources, which have their uses in many areas: from private storages to the administration of big business processes. This model of network access is very popular because of its benefits for different organizations. Cloud computing is used for startups, small-to-medium business (SMB) and big organizations.
A bit more theory: types of cloud infrastructure
To better understand the cloud infrastructure, let us find out about its models. There are deployment and service models of cloud computing.
Deployment models of cloud computing
There are three data storage models: public, private or hybrid.
- Public cloud. This cloud service is intended for widespread usage. In the public cloud, IT-resources (like virtual machines, storage, applications, etc.) are provided by third-party cloud service providers. You can access these services and manage them from your account. Examples of the most popular public clouds: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, etc.
- Private cloud. This type of cloud means the cloud used by one organization. This organization can include users, clients, and contractors. A private cloud can be owned by the company’s data center or by a third-party provider and built either on a platform like OpenStack or OpenShift or as a secure part of a public cloud platform.
- Hybrid cloud. As you can guess from the title, this type includes both previous types. Your data and apps can move between private and public clouds for load balancing, which makes processes of your company more flexible, and optimizes the work in general.
Service models of cloud computing
Cloud storage solutions can be classified into three layers:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This model is called “on-demand software” sometimes. Under the SaaS model, you pay only for what you use, usually. The cloud provider installs the software to the cloud infrastructure and grants you access through the thin client (for example, a web or mobile app) to the complete software. You need a subscription for this access, usually. Services and management are carried out by the third-party provider.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). PaaS offers you an environment for development. Usually, the provider gives you a computing platform with the operating system, toolkit, standard tools for software development, like a web server and a database. For example, Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine and Oracle Cloud Platform work under this model. Among the features, it is worth highlighting the capability of scaling the data storage and computing resources, which allows you to not allocate the resources manually.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). This is the most common category of cloud computing services. It allows you to rent necessary resources, like operating systems, networks, storage virtual machines, and servers and manage them yourself. This model is a complete copy of the physical environment, which provides a high level of flexibility.
Serverless computing. This model allows you to work quickly with a large amount of short-term data, for example, exchanges between microservices of one big monolith application. Earlier, you needed additional servers for this work, which operated much longer, than necessary. Now, with serverless computing, you have a huge economy of resources, because you pay only for data processing you use.
Why cloud infrastructure is good for startups?
Now you have a common comprehension of cloud infrastructure. But will it be useful for your startup? Startup remains quite a risky business. It is considered that only about 5% of startups survive and become successful. All parties of the startup have certain risks: founders, investors, customers, and partners. However, with a reasonable approach, you can avoid the most part of risks.
Cloud technologies can solve the majority of the startup’s problems and protect them from risks. As we said above, at the first time, each startup faces such problems:
- lack of budget;
- team location (different cities/countries);
- team instability (for the first time, the team can actively expand or shrink, therefore it’s important to be able to adapt resources to the team’s requests).
There are some major benefits of cloud computing for startups.
- Simple usage & low cost. Cloud computing doesn’t need special resources or big investments. It’s easy to use and needs minimum investment — you can pay only for actual usage of resources and increase your investments while your company grows. So, you can start with a small budget, which is very beneficial for startup companies.
- Data protection. The majority of cloud providers propose a set of services and technologies, which help to protect your data. Security is provided by locating data on reliable servers and making regular backups and snapshots.
- Speed. You can get access to new IT-resources with a few mouse clicks. So, you cut time for the provisioning of these resources and make your work process easier and quicker. As a result, the organization becomes more flexible.
- Global scale. Scaling allows you to adjust the number of resources required at the moment. This makes a startup flexible and efficient, and you pay only for the resources you used. For example, imagine, that you create a website and have 50 visitors per day, then 500 visitors per day and one day you buy a very lucrative advertisement for your site and have 10000 visitors.
After that, your servers freeze because of the lack of bandwidth and computing resources, so now you need more bandwidth and more server resources. Cloud infrastructure protects you from such problems in advance, as you can configure auto-scaling so that your infrastructure grows or shrinks depending on the workloads and requirements.
- Access from anywhere. Regardless of location, your team members can get access to project data anytime and anywhere. Also, you’ll have access from any operating system or mobile device.
Cost planning. Transparent tariffs of cloud services allow you to plan and calculate your expenses on any stage of the project and Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG).
What about the drawbacks of cloud computing?
Like any other solution, the cloud infrastructure is not so flawless. What challenges can you face when using cloud technologies?
Despite the fact that cloud computing is supposed to cut your company’s expenses, cloud products like web services from AWS can increase spending. A common analogy for cloud infrastructure is utilities in your home: you pay only for what you use. But, if you leave the light on and forget about it, you will pay for it. With a similar problem, you may face in the cloud infrastructure and get overpayment for resources that, in fact, were not used. To solve this problem you need to fight with cloud waste in your project. Literally, you need to switch off unused servers. This can be done manually using the cloud platform dashboard or with special services (e.g. Cloud Timing, Cloudyn, Turbonomic).
The second most common problem — the transition to cloud technology may require additional resources to manage the project. Fortunately, these problems can be solved if you carefully prepare for the transition to the cloud. There are two ways of transition: lift-and-shift and cloud-native.
In the first case, your data and application will migrate to the cloud without big changes. This method is often compared with moving a houseplant from one pot to another. Applications are being lifted from their environment and shifted as-is to the cloud. Unfortunately, lift-and-shift doesn’t suit all projects. This approach can be useful for you if you have a relatively small system.
Cloud-native migration gives you more flexibility. It’s a more complicated approach, but you’ll get better results. In this case, you need to build all the systems in the cloud. This will require copying the data from the existing databases to their cloud analogs, or making dumps of the data if the direct migration is impossible and manually correcting the missing details. Despite the complexity, this method gives you advantages in fully using service models and other features of cloud infrastructure.
Summary: Cloud computing for startups — to use or not to use?
As you can see, cloud infrastructure could be quite efficient for startups. It helps reduce the expenses of your business, increase safety, scale your project and more. Of course, there are some minuses, that can make you doubt, but all of them are leveled by finding a reliable and experienced contractor, like IT Svit.
Our company has 13 years of experience and successfully implements cloud technologies for many projects. You can trust us with the implementation of the cloud infrastructure and be sure of the high quality of the results.
Contact us and we will answer all your questions!