5 Free Options For Start-ups To Get Started With Cloud

There was a time when start-ups had to keep aside a large portion of their capital for infrastructure. But over the past few years, Cloud has become the preferred infrastructure mode for start-ups, helping them grow and scale rapidly. Dropbox, 99 Designs, Instagram, Parse and RedBus are some of the examples where Cloud played a significant role in their success. In fact, within a few years, these start-ups are turning into midsized companies with decent IT budgets set aside for hosting and other infrastructural requirements. Realising the growth potential in this space, Cloud service providers started to lure early-stage start-ups to host their products on their Cloud platforms. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Rackspace and IBM have specific programmes designed for start-ups, so that they can easily get started on Cloud. These technology biggies are partnering with reputed incubators and accelerators to support their portfolio companies. Microsoft has gone a step ahead and invested in its own accelerator to attract start-ups to its Azure Cloud platform.

Here are five resources for start-ups who want to join the Cloud bandwagon.

1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
As one of the first Cloud platforms, AWS is the preferred platform for many start-ups across the world. It’s very common to see start-ups spin a couple of EC2 instances to launch their minimal viable products. But to make it more attractive for start-ups, Amazon has a programme called AWS Activate, which offers a slew of benefits. For a start-up that is a member of one of the accelerators, seed funds or other start-up organisations, Amazon offers free credits ranging between $1,000 and $15,000, along with technical training programmes and free business level support.

2. IBM
SoftLayer, an IBM company, has a start-up incubator called Catalyst. With 13 data centres in the US, Asia and Europe, it is a viable choice for start-ups. Just like its competitors, SoftLayer has partnered with incubators and accelerators around the world to support the start-up ecosystem. Eligible start-ups get $1,000 monthly credit to host their applications on SoftLayer’s infrastructure. Check out here for a list of incubators and accelerators who have partnered with IBM SoftLayer.

3. Google Cloud Platform
Google is not far behind when it comes to luring start-ups to its Cloud platform. With success stories like Snapchat and Rovio behind it, Google App Engine and Compute Engine are becoming the new favourites of start-ups. The Google Cloud Platform Startup Pack offers $20,000 in credits to use any component of its Cloud services platform. Google has also partnered with accelerators and incubators like 10000Startups.com to support the latter’s portfolio companies.

4. Microsoft Azure
Microsoft BizSpark programme is one of the oldest and popular programmes among the technology start-ups. Eligible companies get almost every piece of software that Microsoft ships, including access to Azure, its flagship Cloud platform. As a part of Microsoft Ventures initiative, it has set up exclusive accelerators in 7 cities across the world. With 82% funded start-ups behind it, the Bangalore accelerator has been a very successful one for Microsoft.

5. Rackspace
Rackspace is one of the early Cloud service providers to offer special packages for start-ups. Its start-up programme offers hosting on its public Cloud, private cloud or dedicated infrastructure. Rackspace also offers support from a great set of mentors to guide the participants besides providing architecture guidance on designing and building Cloud-based products.
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