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Getting into ‘the cloud game’ without high overhead

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When an enterprise or a startup wants to build a cost-effective infrastructure and take advantage of the benefits of scale that the cloud provides, there are a number of factors to consider. The total cost of ownership will surprise you if you do not build correctly for scale and elasticity, according to Pedram Abrari (pictured), chief technology officer of Pramata Corp.

“People will be shocked by the kinds of bills they can receive from cloud vendors if they don’t manage and contain their problem effectively,” Abrari said.

He spoke with John Furrier (@furrier), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, at SiliconANGLE’s Palo Alto, California studio to break down the news from the Google Cloud NEXT event.

Abrari and Furrier talked about how cloud computing has created a new paradigm for businesses of all sizes to “get in the game” without high overhead.

Tradeoffs and the real total cost of ownership

The stakes have changed for high-tech startups, with the emergence of Infrastructure as a Service and the virtualization of hardware. Startups require upfront capital and investments in technology, and before Amazon Web Services rolled out its IaaS platform, the total cost of ownership and upgrades every two to three years made starting a business difficult, Abrari explained.

“So, before you could even focus on your core competency, there were all these layers of investment and the talent you had to attract just to get cloud software up and running. Cloud computing, particularly with IaaS, changed that game … and it allowed a lot more companies to have access and the ability to get into the game that previously couldn’t,” Abrari said.

The roles of DevOps, IT and operations have morphed over the years, and Abrari explained that the evolution of the cloud has created the need for DevOps teams to create additional “plumbing” for IaaS to keep things scalable, cost efficient and elastic.

“You have to rethink DevOps [as a] culture of developer and operations all working in concert, always designing software for scale in the cloud. It’s a very different paradigm. … If you think you have a service that you can throw on the cloud and magically get the benefits and costs get lowered, I’m here to tell you that if you don’t play your cards right, it can all blow up in your face very quickly,” he said.

As with all technology platforms, there are trade-offs, and according to Abrari, multi-cloud and cloud neutrality can come with a high price tag. He discussed the complexities of AWS and noted that the company’s billing department is a whole economy.

As a serial entrepreneur involved in a number of startups, he recommended that the focus should be on core IP and core differentiation. Platform as a Service is a way to pay attention to the business, but a company will end up giving up some control to AWS, Google or Azure; however, there are options to find the right fit for the business, Abrari explained.

“Give up control for productivity and cost reduction and you also gain from all the expertise and best practices they developed around security, audit … and you take care of your customer data and don’t expose them to risk,” Abrari advised.

Pramata Corp. works with clients like NCR and Hewlett Packard Enterprises to refine and transform messy contract data and disparate billing and CRM systems into a single, actionable source of customer intelligence. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are the company’s secret sauce to helping customers save money and make better business decisions, Abrari revealed.


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