“All of the cloud providers, whether it is in the alternative sector or the hyperscalers, have seen increased growth rates during the pandemic as remote work, streaming media and online education exploded,” said Blair Lyon, VP, Cloud Experience, Linode.
He said that the company has seen a growth in larger workloads being moved to the independent open cloud provider as a result of the pandemic. When interacting with clients, he said these companies accelerated their cloud journeys owing to Covid-19.
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“Linode’s sweet spot is typically small to medium size businesses and startups. We have seen several larger companies moving their workloads to Linode over the last year,” he said. “Due to Covid, they were unable to scale their infrastructure due to supply chain challenges, challenges with getting appropriate hardware or getting access to their core location facilities during the lockdown. So they had to turn to cloud providers like Linode that had the capacity.”
Further, Lyon said that a digital-first approach, a capacity crunch and affordability factors are the reasons why alternative cloud providers like Linode are being preferred over larger players in the space.
“In the past, the default perspective was that ‘we have to go with Amazon’ or one of the hyperscalers because that’s the only game in town,” Lyon explained. “Now customers are seeing that cloud providers are a commodity. We’re providing compute, storage and networking. We just happen to do it in a virtualised manner and are making it very variable in terms of how you want to scale up or scale down.”
He said the biggest advantage of this shift is that it is “disconnected from the proprietary nature of those cloud providers” and hence one is more in control and has more power over things like how the data is communicated back and forth, security issues, performance controls and so on. Further, he said there is a trend towards more multi-cloud combinations and the cloud providers like Linode are responding by trying to make their connections and integrations to their platform easier.
“Now that you can run multiple clouds at the same time in an easy and efficient way, we’re seeing a majority of our larger customers in India are running more than one or two cloud providers at a time. It is easier for them to run third-party apps and open-source tools in between their own applications and the cloud provider’s which is creating this sort of commoditisation of cloud providers or cloud components which is giving them a lot of freedom.”
Linode observed a 100% increase in demand in India since March. He said the company has 11 data centres around the world and India has become one of its fastest-growing regions out of all of its data centre regions. He added that the focus has been to bring additional innovations to India in response to the demand and the overwhelming support from clients in the county.
“The proof of that is in some of the new technologies that we’ve been rolling out. India was one of the first datacenter regions to have our new Cloud GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) for machine learning, AI and high-end image rendering. We’re one of the first cloud companies in this alternative cloud sector to offer cloud GPUs and India was right up there as one of our first choices,” he said.
He said one of the key differentiators is the Linode is 40%-50% cheaper as compared with Amazon Web Services (AWS), for instance.
“We’re typically less than half of the cost of the large providers and sometimes much less than that, especially when you provide data transfer and we provide generous amounts for free. The big providers charge you for that,” Lyon said. “So from a price performance perspective, not only do we offer equal or better performance, but we also offer it at a much lower price and we bundle a lot of services that you wouldn’t normally get like transfer and we are the only cloud computing company that offers free telephone support worldwide.”