In an exclusive interaction with Dataquest, Prabhakar Jayakumar, India Country Manager, DigitalOcean talks about the company's marketing strategy, trends in Indian Cloud market and how the market is gearing up to address data residency issues.
How is DigitalOcean planning to set its foot strongly in India?
DigitalOcean gives developers the simplest platform and the best resources to build great software in the cloud. We remain 100% focused on what tools developers (both individuals and engineering teams) love to use and we have invested heavily in building the most active and engaged community possible. We have millions of unique visitors every month and one of the most comprehensive libraries of open source resources in the industry.
The requirements of developers and startups are the same universally - they care about a cloud platform that’s simple, performant, feature-rich and easy on the pocket and DigitalOcean fulfills these requirements. We are focused on doing the heavy-lifting on the infrastructure side, letting developers channelize their energies on building applications that solve real customer problems.
What's your marketing strategy for the market?
As a company, we are focused on collaborating and contributing to developer communities around the world. In the same spirit, we have driven several activities ranging from workshops, hackathons, coding contests, webinars and conferences to engage with the developer community in India.
Our meetup chapters are operational across 6 cities in India and the local developer communities use this forum to share best practices and learn from subject matter experts on a wide array of technical topics, including but not limited to Cloud and Devops. Our signature Tide conference has become a platform for developers & startups to connect, network, and engage with influencers, mentors, and VCs in the tech ecosystem.
To engage with students, outside of the student-only hackathons and programming contests we also organized a “Product-a-thon” contest named Campus Shark. This contest was targeted at university students and was focused on identifying and recognizing the best student engineers across colleges in India. The contest saw enthusiastic participation from student teams across colleges in more than 30 cities.
Hatch is DigitalOcean's global incubator program designed to support startups as they launch and scale. This includes access to DigitalOcean's cloud for 12 months, free technical training, mentorship, priority support, and an opportunity to connect with other startups, accelerators, and investors. As part of Hatch, we have forged partnerships with key players in the ecosystem to support startups in their portfolios (including top-tier accelerators such as NUMA, incubators such as Nasscom 10K startups, VCs such as Accel, SAIF Partners and government-run initiatives such as the Startup India program).
What's the biggest differentiation for you?
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’ve remained dedicated to creating better tools for developers who want to run and scale applications in the cloud.
Apart from providing a simple yet performant 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 support them as they build the products of the future.
Our community site provides extensive tutorials and guides for developers learning to work with Linux and developers seeking to create complex setups within their infrastructure. Along with this, we offer 24X7 support to all of our customers free of charge.
Who are your customers? What are the major segments that are on your radar for growth?
Tens of thousands of engineering teams around the world rely on DigitalOcean for simple solutions they love and trust to run their application workloads. Our servers scale up in seconds and we have intuitive solutions for high availability, storage, security, and networking. Developers rely on DigitalOcean to uncomplicate their infrastructure. They can run distributed SaaS applications, process and analyze datasets, automate code testing, deploy open source tools and more.
Our infrastructure is used by teams and companies building innovative, next generation businesses on the cloud, across multiple industries, including e-commerce, ad-tech, healthcare and financial services. DigitalOcean’s developer community is engaged and active, with one of the largest libraries of open source resources available in the world.
In India, we are proud to have amazing companies such as NoBroker.in, Betaout, KartRocket, and HackerRank among our customers today.
What trends do you see in the Indian cloud market?
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 de-risking strategy 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, performant and cost effective - enabling their teams to quickly build, test and deploy their innovative applications and products.
How is the market gearing up to address data residency issues? As global companies are opening datacenters in India, will it help the market to flourish further?
Having a local datacenter enables service delivery to the large customer base that India represents and improves performance in terms of lower latency for the end-user applications.
Privacy and data security are of paramount importance to any business, and trust and security are integral components of any cloud offering. At DigitalOcean, we are constantly ensuring that our infrastructure is compliant with local laws, making it easier for our customers to be compliant as well.
In what ways is a local cloud based economy crucial to the success of PM Modi’s Digital India campaign?
India is home to the fastest growing ecosystem of startups and entrepreneurs. With the number of software developers throughout India expected to grow to over 5 mn over the next couple of years, India is poised to become the largest developer market in the world.
Cloud enables developers and entrepreneurs to quickly build, test and deploy their innovative applications and products. The faster build-test-deploy lifecycles mean that they can more easily iterate their idea or concept before building a full fledged product and eventually scale their business and build long term sustainable companies. Also, with costs of cloud infrastructure being lower than traditional on-premise infrastructure, the barriers to entry are constantly being lowered for startups and developers and enables them to scale their business much faster.
How can the market close the skills gap for cloud developers and data scientists?
Outside of including relevant content in the formal academic curriculum for University students, there are several companies that offer free and paid courses that people could use to up-skill themselves. Also, there is a lot of relevant content available online that people could consume at their convenience to get themselves abreast of the latest developments in the cloud space - for example, the DigitalOcean community site provides thousands of tutorials and guides that provide intuitive, step-by-step instructions to help developers seeking to create complex setups within their cloud infrastructure.