Ashwin Kumar, Director, Data Centre and Cloud Operations, Linode India
. Prior to this, he has handled various roles - Head of IT and Data Centre Operations India for Model N India Software and led IT Operations - India Development Centre for Proxim Wireless, Hyderabad. He has over a decade of experience in the area of Cloud computing and Data Center operations. Ashwin holds a B.E (Electronics and Communication) from Bangalore University.
In an interview with Shweta Papriwal, Editor, indiainfoline.com
, Ashwin Kumar
, said, ”our aim is to make cloud simple and accessible to people and that’s why we enjoy a competitive edge with our affordable pricing, transparent billing structure, robust customer support and user friendly interface.”
Brief us about your geographical presence in India as well as globally
India has undergone a major shift; from a ‘cloud-first’ to a ‘cloud-only’ model, pushing organizations to increase their spending on cloud services in order to advance their business initiatives. This has enabled and paved way for several cloud service providers in the country. Launched in 2003, Linode, the world’s largest independent open cloud provider, has empowered over 800,000 developers worldwide through its 10 data centres across the globe to easily build, scale up their server infrastructure and host cloud applications.
Given the boom in the public cloud in the last two years in India, we launched our data center in Mumbai. The data center expands our global footprint to one of the fastest-growing developer and technology regions in the world. This is our tenth data center and by launching in Mumbai, we aim to offer the region’s developer community and the organizations they serve an affordable alternative to hyper-scale providers currently in the Indian market. Linode’s differentiators are that we have the best price-to-performance offering in the industry and also the ability to reduce latency, an easy to manage interface, and a robust 24x7 human customer support for our customers, which is a first globally.
How big is the public cloud market in India according to you? How do you plan to capitalise it?
If we go back and analyze India’s journey towards digitization, we have come a very long way; we have successfully reached out to people in the remotest of the locations and made them a part of India’s growth story. Digitization of India has been a gradual process where we faced an awareness issue, which has been over time tackled by the government of India by pushing ahead its ambitious digital initiatives for the masses.
It wasn’t long ago that people used to say, I can’t access this file, it’s on my computer or I can’t work right now as I don’t have my files. Now, everything is on the cloud, whether it’s the movies you watch or the music you stream. Cloud is a necessity and according to Gartner, public cloud services revenue in India is projected at total USD $2.4 billion in 2019, an increase of 24.3% from 2018. Today, India is second only to China as the largest and fastest-growing cloud services market in the Asia Pacific. With a robust and rapidly rising internet penetration, India is poised for a booming expansion in this sector.
With nearly 39000 operational startups and 108% growth in funding in 2018 alone, India is becoming the fastest growing market for businesses. Today, a cloud-first approach is imperative to stay relevant and accelerate in the market. Given the huge potential, our India priority is to focus on SMBs, organizations from pharma, banking and IT sector and cater to the developer community. We also have plans to expand our data centres to Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore as part of our India strategy. In the end, to bolster India’s cloud market, we need to constantly innovate, help others innovate and be in-sync with the changing demands of the industry.
How has Linode prepared itself to tackle big players like AWS in India market?
Linode has been scaling customers on cloud much before AWS commenced its cloud offerings. Despite the increasing awareness around cloud, many Indian companies are still struggling to fully migrate to the cloud due to the exorbitant investments it currently requires and complex pricings that will pull out a major chunk of their top-line growth.
Our aim is to make cloud simple and accessible to people and that’s why we enjoy a competitive edge with our affordable pricing, transparent billing structure, robust customer support and user friendly interface.
Unlike other players, Linode offers a very easy to launch VPS that any individual with basic operational skills can operate effortlessly. Linode’s pricing remains consistent across all the 10 data centers around the world, starting at USD $5/month for a Standard Nanode. In comparison, an AWS customer is charged very differently as per the location of the data center. AWS also charges organizations an additional cost (that depends on the size of their data on cloud) to relocate their data from one data center to another. Further, there are also costs involved if an organization wants to withdraw their data from AWS data center. Linode does not charge a single penny extra for the migration between data centers. And, even if an organization wants to completely withdraw their data from our center, there is no additional cost levied, moreover our consultants help the enterprise to conduct the process smoothly.
While IT teams and the developer community struggle to match their expenses with the cloud bills of competitors, Linode is known for its simple and transparent billing model. Linode’s customer support is one of the key differentiators to all the cloud provider, as it is the only company whose support team can be directly approached 24/7 over a helpline number. Linode also boasts a record of answering any email inquiries under ten minutes.
How India data center will impact pricing for customers in India?
Often IT teams of both SMEs and large enterprises are questioned for their overpriced cloud usage bills, one which fluctuate month-on-month depending on the usage. Linode is known globally for its predictable pricing and straight forward billing model. Linode’s entry into the Indian market will enable our existing Indian customers to migrate their data to the Mumbai data center at the same low, flat and transparent price.
Hosting the data in the home country has significant benefits; primarily allowing businesses to reduce latency and improve flexibility of operational workloads. As the Government of India is charting out data protection guidelines and has its impetus on data localization, we are geared to facilitate businesses with cost-effective, best price-to-performance solutions within the country.
How is Linode helping SMEs to scale on cloud?
The SMB sector is a big driver of India’s economy and plays an important role in contributing to India’s GDP. Considered the backbone of the Indian industry, the sector has gone through a major transformation and the government of India in their Union Budget allocated about Rs. 350 crore for FY20 to fuel the sector further.
Our mission is to make the cloud accessible to everyone. This is especially important to SMEs who, until now, have been forced to choose between the high price and complexity of hyperscale providers and lower quality shared hosting providers. Linode is unique in that we’ve built an advanced technological platform that is accessible to everyone, from large enterprises to SMEs to individual developers. We believe Linode’s entry into India will be beneficial to SMEs.
Kindly brief us about the products and services offered by Linode?
More than 800,000 developers use the Linode platform to develop, deploy, and scale their cloud infrastructure. With virtual machines and tools for every workload, we help them build, release, and scale faster; use block storage to give them dependable, easily-accessible storage and management; deploy NodeBalancers to secure their network, balance traffic, and control their infrastructure; and access advanced programmatic management tools and resources to get the most out of their applications – with industry leading educational documentation to show them how.