The head of product development division, Magnasoft Northstar, Kunal Ashar spoke to us how the cloud has helped his company to grow and be more competitive in the market. He also sheds light on and how Northstar's tracking solution is ushering a new age of safety for children travelling on school buses and peace of mind for their guardians.
Could you talk a bit about your company and what triggered your move to the cloud?
We are the provider of a comprehensive, integrated child and school bus tracking and monitoring solution that ensures children's safety and security when they travel to and from school. To this effect it was important for MagnaSoft NorthStar to be able to quickly and efficiently launch our solution into the market with minimal capital investment, low running cost, low risk and high reliability and scalability.
The cloud was a natural fit for us. During our beta phase, we hosted and managed dedicated hardware. However, our on-premise infrastructure proved to be a challenge to grow and maintain it as it had limited reliability, scalability and agility and increasing capital requirements. Moving to the cloud enabled us to overcome these challenges in a cost effective and efficient manner. In addition, with the existing instance models, the cloud enables us to compete with the other players in the market. With the cloud, we are able to free up human resources so that we can now focus on advancing the core business of monitoring child safety, providing better quality of service and agility to our customers at lower prices.
Apart from flexibility, scalability and cost, what other benefits have the cloud enabled for Magnasoft NorthStar?
We're saving 40 percent of our costs as opposed to renting or purchasing dedicated hardware and hosting it ourselves (like we did in its beta phase). Now with the Amazon Web Services (AWS), our roll-outs are 60 percent faster (down from three days to one day per release).
Our product is built using Agile software development practices, and therefore it is imperative that the cloud solution provider supports an iterative and incremental development and release model, with a rapid and flexible response to change. AWS provided us with such an environment which has allowed us to prototype and deploy new features rapidly and efficiently, and quickly validate them in the market.
When you initially decided to move to a cloud infrastructure, did you factor in the cost of migrating to another cloud platform - from the current provider, Amazon Web Services, especially when considering factors such as vendor lock-ins in the future?
Yes. Initially when we decided to move to cloud infrastructure, we considered all the options available to us from a cloud vendor perspective. We looked at Google, RackSpace and Azure and even conducted in-depth trials with them. In addition to this, we also spoke to cloud providers about HP, eNLight and Netmagic.
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