Amazon Web Services on Wednesday made its global Lift program available in India, targeting small and medium-size businesses with revenue ranging from 800 million to 6.25 billion rupees.

The Lift program, according to AWS, offers promotional credits and nearly 200 AWS services to help enterprises move on-premises workloads to the cloud.

The India Lift program allows enterprises within the designated revenue range, regardless of their status as an AWS customer, to join the program.

“New and existing customers that join the program will receive a starter pack of AWS Promotional Credits over 12 months, providing access to all 200 fully featured services on AWS,” the company said, adding that the program had no lock-in or hidden clauses.

The first dollar billed to the subscribing enterprise will unlock 62,000 rupees worth of promotional credits, AWS said, adding that increased usage of AWS services could help a subscribing enterprise unlock a maximum of 6.9 million rupees in promotional credits over the 12-month period.

The promotional credit will be used to offset the total AWS bill of the enterprise, AWS said.

In a similar move last month, Google Cloud started offering a new type of contract, dubbed Flex Agreements, to incentivize enterprises to move workloads to its data centers.    

AWS has been investing heavily in India to ramp up its operations. Last year, it launched its second region in India and said it was committing $4.4 billion (364 billion rupees) through the end of 2030 to scale scale cloud services in the country.

Cloud Computing

Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Monday said it was making its AWS Data Lab program available in India.

The complimentary program is targeted at accelerating joint engineering efforts between enterprise customers and AWS technical experts to tackle complex data, architecture challenges using AWS products and services, the company said.

AWS Data Lab, which primarily has three offerings in the form of the build lab, the design lab, and the resident architect, can be used for activities or initiatives such as database migration, setting up data lakes along with analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning projects, and application modernization.

The program’s build lab, according to AWS, is a two to five-day joint session with a technical customer team.

The design lab, on the other hand, is one and a half to two-day engagement with enterprises who are in need for a real-world architecture recommendation on AWS and are yet to build out their cloud operations, the company said, adding that this guidance is provided by AWS experts.

Both the design lab and the build lab engagements are either hosted online or in person, AWS explained on the Data Lab portal.

“Customers leave the engagement with an architecture or working prototype that is custom fit to their needs, a path to production, deeper knowledge of AWS databases, analytics, AI/ML, serverless, and/or containers services, and new relationships with AWS service experts,” AWS said.

Resident architects under the program will provide AWS enterprise customers with technical and strategic guidance in refining, implementing, and accelerating their data strategy and solutions over a six-month engagement.

Resident architects usually engage with chief data officers, vice presidents of data architecture and other builders within an enterprise, AWS added.

AWS Data Lab, according to AWS India & South Asia’s President of Commercial Business, Puneet Chandok, can benefit enterprises by helping them build internal data analytics skills, which may involve upskilling current staff through on-the-job training, other training courses and partnering with organizations.

In India, PayU Finance has used AWS Data Lab to move away from legacy infrastructure to build a scalable data platform suited to its business requirements, PayU Finance’s Chief Data Scientist Piyush Gupta said in a press statement.

The Data Lab in India joins AWS’ network of Data Labs across the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Korea and the ASEAN region.

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning

Citing currency fluctuations, Microsoft is all set to increase prices of its on-premises software, online services and Windows licenses in India by up to 11%.

The new prices that are expected to take effect from February 1, 2023, are meant to “harmonize” prices for Microsoft software and services between India and the Asian region, the company said, adding that it “periodically assesses the impact of its local pricing for software products and online services to ensure there is reasonable alignment across regions.”

The change will see India prices for commercial on-premises software rise by 4.5%, Microsoft said in a blog post. Prices for online services are set to increase by 9%, bringing these services close to prevailing dollar prices in the Asian region.

Come February, Windows licences, whose prices are set to increase by 11%, will be the most impacted.

Further, the company said that pricing for select services such as Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 for “direct customers” in India will start reflecting from February.

The price rise will not affect existing product orders for business users that are under price protection licensing agreements, Microsoft said.

“However, prices for new product additions under such licensing agreements and purchases under new contracts will be as defined by the pricelist at the time of order,” the company said.

This means that if an enterprise adds new services before February under the Microsoft price protection program, they would not have to pay the increased prices.

Microsoft claims that despite the increase in prices, its customers in India “buying online services in Indian rupee will continue to find Microsoft cloud offerings highly competitive.”

The change in pricing does not cover Microsoft’s hardware products, such as Surface devices, or Office and Windows consumer products, the company said, adding that the price changes will also not affect resellers prices direct as they continue to be determined by resellers themselves.

Microsoft, like its competitors, such as AWS, Google and Oracle, continues to face revenue slowdown in the wake of the pandemic, uncertain macroeconomic conditions, and geopolitical issues. The company recently reported its slowest growth in five years for the first quarter of its fiscal 2023 despite seeing revenue increase across business segments such as cloud, Dynamics 365 and Office 365.

Microsoft, Pricing

Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Tuesday launched its second region in India and said it was committing $4.4 billion (Rs 36,300 crore) to scale it till the end of 2030.

The $4.4 billion investment is a huge increase from the initially announced investment of $2.8 billion for the region in 2020 as the cloud computing firm looks to capitalize on India’s double digit growth in cloud spending.

The new region, which will be based in Hyderabad (designated ap-south-2), will add three availability zones to AWS’ existing infrastructure in the country. AWS already has a region in Mumbai, which was launched in June 2016, and a local zone in New Delhi.

AWS Regions are composed of Availability Zones that place infrastructure in separate and distinct geographic locations.

Local zones, on the other hand, are infrastructure deployment that provides compute, storage and database services to a large population or industry centers.

“We welcome AWS’s commitment to invest approximately INR 36,300 crores in the AWS Region in Hyderabad, which strengthens Telangana’s position as a progressive data center hub in India,” K. T. Rama Rao, minister for information technology at the Government of Telangana said in a statement.

AWS estimates that the investment will see an addition of 48,000 jobs in the region over a broader time frame and add $7.6 billion to India’s gross domestic product by 2030.

The $4.4 billion investment, which includes capital expenditures on the construction of data centers and operational expenses, is expected to be implemented in phases and completed by the end of 2030, AWS said.

“The new AWS Asia Pacific (Hyderabad) Region is part of our long-term commitment to India to invest in cloud infrastructure, provide training to upskill the nation with digital capabilities, create local jobs, and enable a more sustainable future,” said Puneet Chandok, president for Commercial Business at AWS India and South Asia.

With the addition of the second region in India, the total tally of AWS’ regions in Asia Pacific (APAC) now stands at 10 regions. The regions in APAC are based in India, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia.

Globally, the company has a total of 96 availability zones across 30 geographic locations and has plans to launch 15 more availability zones and add five more AWS regions in Australia, Canada, Israel, Thailand, and New Zealand.

Hyderabad turns into a hot spot for data centers

AWS’s launch in the Hyderabad region comes after rivals Oracle and Microsoft have either opened up a data center in the city, or revealed plans to do so.

In 2020, Oracle opened its first data center in Hyderabad—second in the country—after launching the Mumbai data center in 2019. Globally, Oracle has plans to add five new regions.

Similarly, in March, Microsoft had revealed plans to launch a data center in Hyderabad with an investment of over $1.8 billion (Rs 15,000 crores). The company already has three other data centers in India across Mumbai, Pune and Chennai.

Cloud Computing, Data Center

China and India lead cloud adoption in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, followed by Australia and New Zealand, according to a Forrester report.

The report—which surveyed decision-makers across all APAC countries including India, China, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand—showed that 92% of China-based respondents use cloud in some form. This is slightly higher than in India, where 91% of decision-makers said that they use some form of cloud technology, followed by Australia, where 87% of respondents said that they use cloud in some form.

Forrester said it expects New Zealand cloud adoption trends to follow those in Australia, adding that although the New Zealand cloud landscape is changing, overall adoption is lower overall due to earlier, more restrictive regulations and fewer cloud data centres.

China and India’s high cloud-uptake numbers are complemented by growth of data centers in the region. The APAC region boasts the largest share, around 37%, of data centers globally, Forrester noted. The market research company added that there are targeted investments to expand onshore capacity in emerging markets like Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

India leads in public cloud uptake

In terms of public cloud usage or uptake, India has an edge over China, according to the report. Nearly 92% of all Indian decision-makers who said that they use cloud in some form claimed to use public cloud. In China, only 85% of all respondents who said that they use cloud in some form, also said that they use public cloud.

Further, Indian enterprises are roughly at par with China when it comes to IT modernization, the report showed.

While 67% of Indian decision-makers surveyed said that modernizing with cloud and new computing architectures was a top priority, approximately the same number—66.66%—of Chinese decision-makers said the same about modernization and new computing architectures.

Applications move to the cloud

In terms of application portfolio in the cloud, India remains somewhat ahead of China and Australia. While Indian decision-makers on an average said that 46% of their total application portfolio is in the cloud, Chinese respondents said that only 43% of their total applications are cloud native. Their Australian counterparts said that 41% of their application portfolio resided in the cloud, the report showed.

However, Chinese decision-makers claimed that by the end of 2023, they will have moved at least 63% of their applications to the cloud. This is in contrast to Australian decision-makers, who said they will have moved 60% of their application load by the end of 2023.

Indian decision-makers, on the other hand, said that they would probably be able to move only about 58% of their application load to the cloud.

Further, nearly 72% of Indian decision-makers said that they already use containers on bare metal infrastructure—either on-premises or in the cloud.

Meanwhile, at least 75% of Chinese respondents said they already use containers on bare metal infrastructure—either on-premises or in the cloud—followed by 72% of Indian decision-makers and 61% of Australian respondents.

Cloud Computing