Karthik S, Founder, Cloud Kinetics, got into an elaborate interaction with Anuj Singhal to highlight the company’s strengths and achievements in partnership with AWS. The company boasts of large media businesses including Sony, Indian Express Group, and The Hindu Group among its customers
Please brief us about Cloud Kinetics and how it has been associated with AWS?
Cloud Kinetics is a born-in-the-cloud company established in 2012. I had a wide experience into networking infrastructure in the US. As I came back to India, I started working with AWS, which was in its infancy in 2009 in India, although quite big globally. We saw great opportunities with AWS to help organizations drive through digital transformation challenges. We started Cloud Kinetics primarily to focus on infrastructure in the cloud space.
Please throw a bit of light around your footprint within the media space?
Cloud Kinetics started as a system integrator offering cloud services as well as platform-based services. We expanded our portfolio with cloud management platform (CMP) to enable our customer manage their cloud assets; many of our clients were from media segment which also included businesses offering OTT and streaming media services.
That’s when we saw the gap between what bigger infrastructure players were offering and what customers are used to; they were use to siloed tools. With the siloed approach they were unable to track their RoI and the benefits of the solutions. So, we offered a media asset management platform that enables them to integrate best of solutions from Amazon and to scale up really well. That’s the center-piece of our services.
Large media businesses including Sony, Indian Express Group, and The Hindu Group are few of our customers on AWS. The highlight is that our platform enables Sony to reach over 2 million concurrent subscribers at any given point of time. It’s our managed services on top of Amazon cloud that really power this.
You have been associated with AWS for over last seven years. Can you elaborate on your experience with the brand so far?
Well, we started as a small organization and were very focused on technology and platforms offering cloud management and migration services. We noticed that outside US, India is the biggest market for cloud services and it started 7 years back. We grew steadily along with the rise of startup ecosystem. Our initial customers were all startups and they are still with us. Over the years we have learnt a lot and gained expertise in large-scale migrations for large enterprises, specifically to help them decide what applications to move on the cloud and what should remain on-premise.
Since AWS has been a game changer for lot of media companies in India, our association with the brand helped us move our customers on cloud offering scaleable and pay-as-you-use models. In fact, our partnership with AWS enabled us to offer a dashboard to our customers. The dashboard enables them to integrate their existing tools on a single platform coupled with lots of data analytics. Media businesses can analyze their viewership data including the geography and highest viewership information through the dashboard, which has been a game-changer for them. Despite being the leading cloud provider, AWS is still investing a lot on agile systems and data centers.
How you are tapping into the industry opportunities with AWS?
We can go out and confidently portray ourselves as a strong AWS partner. When we started Cloud Kinetics, I came from an infrastructure background and the entry barrier to become an infrastructure management service provider was high. AWS enabled us to start with low entry barrier and then supported us to grow and evolve by securing certifications and expertise. As we grew, we started grabbing large accounts with a joint approach with AWS and developing customized solutions on AWS platforms. That’s how we have grown together.
According to you, how does cloud offerings from AWS fit in and disrupt the legacy infrastructure?
I would say that AWS cloud offerings were first disruptive and then it started fitting in. Initially, it was complete disruption to the legacy infrastructure, which led to resistance from the industry. However, I would say that India is one of the countries where the resistance was far less. Adoption rate was little higher as enterprise businesses focused on cost of operations and RoI with cloud services. For mid-market and startup businesses, cloud was all about lowering the entry barrier and reducing their Capex. Over the time, AWS and its partners like us started customizing solutions as per customer or industry-specific requirements. So together we have been able to acquire customers smoothly and helped them through their digital transformation.
How are you bridging the skill gaps in cloud migration and thereby driving the real value to the customers?
Customers do not want to invest both in acquisition of the technology and the usage of that technology. That’s where we help our customers end-to-end by virtue of our association with AWS, and skilled and certified resources. We help customers in technology implementation, train their resources on the technology as well as handing over the operations over a period of time. Our focus has never been on the money, but a successful migration over a mutually agreed time period. We are here to help customers as long as they want. And that’s what customers really like.
What kind of media solutions you offer to your customers and how are they different from the other AWS partners within the AWS ecosystem?
AWS has two streams of partners in its ecosystem: technology partners and consultant partners. So, you see technology partners developing products on AWS platform, which are very functional in their respective verticals and don’t compete with others. Then, there are consulting companies which offer services around system integration, where they differentiate themselves. We offer a platform that the customer can use by themselves and we have built services around that.
For instance, we have Arcus as our platform suite. We built it in 2013 and it has been evolving. There is a fundamental cloud management platform; on top of that we have a digital asset management platform, which is all about archival of media, data migration from tapes to cloud drives and data retrieval. And then we have a digital video management solution that integrates video vertical tools with the cloud, transport, and disseminate the content to mobile customers and other end customers.
Every MSP has a vision to build their IP. So, can you talk a little bit around your IP?
While most of the MSPs realize the need to add value to their offerings when they come to a certain stage, we started quite early to build our IP. We wanted to build a platform and then announce it as a differentiator for our customers. And that’s how we entered the market.
We built the cloud management platform Arcus. Over the years, it has helped customers in migration, automation, managing digital assets, as well as in continuous optimization. Our focus has always been to build value additions like cost optimization and business analytics on top of our platform.
Can you elaborate a bit on the dashboard, Arcus? Is it a sector agnostic platform?
Arcus is completely sector agnostic as well as cloud agnostic. Our continuous focus and investment has been on building and developing this platform to cater to the evolving customer demands as well as offer features like DevOps and automation.