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Bus on the cloud

Zafar Anjum | April 27, 2011
Indian transportation company redBus.in successfully took to the cloud when it wanted to grow its capacity to achieve a ‘first’ in India in its area of business.

If you have ever taken an inter-city bus ride in India, you would probably count the experience as bumpy. An Indian transportation company, redBus.in, headquartered in Bangalore, tried to change this state of affairs for bus travellers. For this winner of 2011 CIO Asia awards (one of five), transformation came through a leap to the cloud.

Change often has its roots in defying the status quo. “The story of redBus.in grew out of its founder’s personal frustration in taking inter-city bus services back to his hometown during Deepavali,” says Charan Padmaraju, co-founder and CTO of redBus.in. “His bad experience led him to think about centralising the complicated and convoluted inter-city bus operation routes across India, to allow anyone to purchase tickets easily online, and thereby, cutting down each city’s middlemen (who charge exorbitant commissions) out of the loop.”

Thus, redBus.in was born. “This act has great social implication as it touches the daily lives of thousands of ordinary Indians,” says Padmaraju. With redBus.in’ services, consumers could buy bus tickets online, simplify the convoluted bus routes, and cut out the middlemen.

The Road to Cloud
“When redBus.in first started, we were purchasing and maintaining our own server systems,” says Padmaraju. “However, in year 2008, we grew out of capacity very quickly with the on-premise infrastructure and could not scale fast enough, which affected our business growth. We evaluated the types of systems and infrastructure that could support our vision in the long term and chose Amazon Web Services (AWS).”

Padmaraju conceived the idea of moving to the cloud in July 2009. Phase one of the project kicked off in August. Between August and December, BOSS (a SaaS-based offering for bus operators to manage their inventory), was developed and between April and June 2010, the complete set of applications was migrated to AWS. According to Padmaraju, this IT solution on AWS cloud delivered three major strategic benefits: fast speed to market; increased productivity and effectiveness, and a simplified IT management system.

“Now, our business no longer needs to wait because of capability limitations associated with a traditional data centre,” says Padmaraju. “We have the infrastructure readily at our fingertips. Also, our move to AWS cloud has enabled our developers to focus on building applications according to our business needs and differentiate our customer offerings, as compared to the old world model whereby the developers were spending unproductive time making changes to the applications to accommodate the traditional data centre’s limited capabilities!”

Padmaraju loves the ease of IT management with AWS. “AWS has eliminated the hassles of IT management like server evaluation and procurement, vendor evaluation and management, among others. The cost saving is at least around 30 per cent to 40 per cent.” redBus.in has grown to handle more than 10,000 bus routes. Today,redBus.in covers 700 out of 1200 inter-city bus operators across India. In India, redBus.in is the first in providing such a solution. Now they have followers.

 

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