Microsoft Corporation officially threw down the gauntlet here on Thursday, right at the feet of Amazon’s web services, launching a revamped version of its cloud services platform and simultaneously hosting a software developer meet here.
The ‘Azure’ online platform was first released in 2010, marketed as ‘platform as a service’ which provides the underlying software and hardware that allow web developers to build applications with little need for expenditure. However, the newly-updated ‘Azure’ cloud service includes a type of model pioneered by Amazon, which is known as ‘infrastructure as a service’. It involves a procedure whereby the consumer rents rather than buys the hardware for computer processing and data storage, along with the Internet bandwidth to host it.
“With the launch of the new updated version of Azure, we are looking at expanding our customer base by focussing on developers and letting them make cloud computing the status quo. Right now, by our estimates, the potential market in India for cloud services is $1.2 billion,” said Srikanth Karnakota, Director, Server and Cloud Business, Microsoft India. “Out of our 4,000 Indian customers, over 80 per cent are developers, start-ups and small businesses. Cultivating this base and organising meets such as this are essential to making sure Azure is easily adopted. We have another meet planned in Pune next week,” he said.
While online services providers such as Amazon Inc or Microsoft do not provide the revenue contribution from its cloud platforms, a USB Investment research report placed Amazon’s global cloud services revenue as $750 million in 2011.
However, the penetration of cloud services in India is still weak, with a recent Zinnov Management Consulting study saying that total cloud spend as a percentage of the total IT spend is expected to hit 8.2 per cent in 2015.
“With the economic slowdown, large companies are eager to cut down capital expenditure, and funding for start-ups is even lesser. Cloud computing helps cut down expenditure without cutting down on capacity. To this end, we are also partnering venture capital firm Freemont Ventures to help fund non-professional developers and start-ups who are based wholly on the cloud,” Mr. Karnakota said.