“India’s Cloud Service No Less Than Global, Can Fulfill Needs of Developers”

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When it comes to cloud computing, India is on par with developed countries, says Prabhakar Jayakumar, country head, DigitalOcean – a cloud services platform headquartered in New York that has catered to the needs of software developers across the globe since 2012, and in India since 2016.

In a conversation with Sreemoyee Chatterjee from OSFY, Jayakumar spoke of how the cloud customer base is rapidly growing in India. Software developers using the cloud can now get to know the recent technology trends in the field and evaluate their impact on open source – in terms of affordability, sustainability, flexibility and reliability. Excerpts follow…

Q Has the number of software developers using cloud platforms grown?

Cloud adoption among Indian customers is on the rise. Since the launch of our first data centre in Bengaluru in June 2016, which is our 12th globally, India has become our fastest growing international market. We have tens of thousands of engineering teams who rely on us to run their workloads. This is due to the cloud’s ability to do the heavy lifting on the infrastructure side, allowing developers to focus their energies on building applications that solve real customer problems.

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Q What are the unique trends in cloud services in India at present?

Businesses have increasingly started adopting a ‘multi-cloud’ approach, not only to leverage the strengths and features of the underlying cloud platforms but also as a strategy that reduces the risks. This is in order to avoid vendor lock-ins and over-dependence on a single cloud platform.

Infrastructure automation is becoming more relevant and DevOps is getting simplified. Businesses are increasingly adopting solutions that are simple, high-performing and cost-effective — enabling their teams to quickly build, test and deploy innovative applications and products.

Q In what way is DigitalOcean part of these trends?

As a company that predominantly consists of software developers, we understand and empathise with the pain points of the developer community. When DigitalOcean was launched in 2012, we found a market gap that had to be addressed. Developers wanted to be relieved of the burdens around infrastructure management, and were wrestling with complicated bills and removing unwieldy APIs from their development process.

We are currently focusing on building tools that individual developers and engineering teams love to use, and we have also built up the most active and engaged community possible. We have a number of important capabilities that will be launched in the months ahead. These will further meet the high availability, data storage, security and networking needs of our customers.

Q What kind of cloud services can developers avail from your platform?

Droplet’, as our cloud servers are called, is DigitalOcean’s core product. It offers software developers high-performing Linux servers at market-leading prices, with a hyper-focus on simplicity and the user experience. It comes packaged with compute-heavy resources, bandwidth and memory, with the option to add resources like storage on demand, as needed. ‘Spaces’ is our object storage product, and we also offer block storage, firewalls, load balancers and a monitoring service.

Q Who are your customers?

Ours is a cloud platform for developers and their teams. We offer the easiest-to-deploy cloud platform, which is also easy to manage and scale to applications of any size. It removes infrastructure challenges and provides a degree of predictability; so developers and their teams can spend more time building better software. Teams and companies coming up with innovative, next generation businesses on cloud in e-commerce, adtech, healthcare and financial areas are the ones making use of our infrastructure. DigitalOcean’s developer community is engaged and active, with one of the largest libraries of open source resources available in the world.

Q How do your cloud services compare with that of Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure) and Google?

We have always focused on keeping our products simple and intuitive to adopt. While the other cloud providers have focused their energy on large enterprises and legacy companies, we have remained dedicated to creating better tools for developers who want to run and scale applications in the cloud.

Apart from providing a simple yet efficient cloud platform, we offer pay-as-you-go pricing, which is simple and transparent. We have also focused on building a true community of developers to help foster the industry, and we support it as it builds the products of the future. We provide tutorials and guidance to developers learning to work with Linux and train those who are working on developing complicated setups within their infrastructure. Along with this, we offer 24×7 support to all our customers, free of charge.

Q How secure is the cloud services platform that you offer to the developers? How do you deal with the security aspect?

Privacy and data security are of paramount importance to any business, and trust and security are integral components of DigitalOcean’s offering. As a cloud infrastructure provider, we are constantly ensuring that what we offer complies with local laws, making it easier for our customers to also be compliant. We have bought and built several systems to keep our environments secure. Two-factor authentication, jump hosting and patch management are few foundational controls that help us maintaining the security of our services.  Protecting systems require a consistent and long-term focus on doing the fundamentals correctly.

Q What role do you play in the open source universe?

From our hypervisors running kernel-based virtual machines (KVM) to our Rails apps running on our Kubernetes clusters, DigitalOcean is built on a foundation of open source. On top of that, our users are deploying open source based solutions to our platform every day. Netbox, go-gemu, go-libvirt, Ceph Explorer, Captainslog, doctl, godo and DropletKit are few prominent projects where DigitalOcean’s services have helped.

Q How do you encourage developers to contribute towards open source?

We provide hosting credits to many open source projects. We host meetups in our office and sponsor them across the world. We are also members of organisations like the Cloud Native Foundation and Ruby Together to help support the technologies we use.

Hacktoberfest is a yearly initiative we conduct in partnership with GitHub. The aim is to generate excitement around contributing to open source in the month of October — to inspire developers to contribute back to the projects they use.

Q What are the major challenges faced by Indian software developers using the cloud?

While the cloud is the new normal and developers are already aware of the benefits that a cloud platform could offer their business, sometimes there are misconceptions around security and platform availability (up times). However, these are unfounded concerns and they have largely been debunked.

Q Where does India’s cloud ecosystem stand compared to the rest of the world?

India’s cloud ecosystem is on par with services available elsewhere in the world. All developers and startups in India and across the globe demand for a simple, efficient, reasonable and feature-rich cloud platform.

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