Microsoft have launched Azure Location Based Services, a new public cloud offering for enterprise customers, providing location capabilities built & integrated directly into Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. The new location capabilities will provide cloud developers critical geographical data to power smart cities and Internet of Things [IoT] solutions across industries including manufacturing, automotive, logistics, urban planning and retail, among others.

Image Source – Azure

Addressing at the at Automobility LA 2017 in Los Angeles, California, Sam George, Director – Azure IoT, Microsoft said

Microsoft is making efforts to solve mobility challenges and bring government bodies, private companies and automotive OEMs together,  using Microsoft’s intelligent cloud platform.

TomTom Telematics, will be the first official partner for the service, supplying critical location and real-time traffice data, providing Microsoft customers with advanced location and mapping capabilities. Microsoft also announced that Azure LBS will be launched in calendar year 2018 and will be available globally in more than 30 languages. The company will also enter in a cloud with ICONIQ, a Chinese Electric Vehicle company. In the year 2018 Microsoft is expected to be joined in by several partners who will be showcasing various location, connected car and smart city-relevant technologies they are building on top of the Azure cloud.

  • Microsoft’s Azure Location Based Services will offer enterprise customers location capabilities integrated in the cloud to help any industry from manufacturing to healthcare to automotive track assets or improve traffic flow.
  • Microsoft is providing an enterprise-ready location service for customers to build location of things applications and easily access location insights through one dashboard, one subscription, and one bill.
  • Microsoft customers will benefit from TomTom’s hyper-accurate location data enabled by hundreds of millions of connected devices, providing the most up to date maps.

For further information, please visit Microsoft builds and integrates Azure Location Based Services directly into the cloud

Marico Limited, India’s leading consumer products company in the wellness and beauty space, has recently adopted Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse to improve their business productivity. The adoption of the fully-managed, highly-elastic, petabyte-scale, warehouse-as-a-service cloud-based relational database has helped Marico increase their data processing speed by over 150%.

In the FMCG space, the volume of data being generated fluctuates greatly during certain periods, especially the month beginning and ends or during season and festival time. This puts unforeseen burden on the existing IT infrastructure in managing the data flux. The window for extraction, transformation and loading of huge amount of data is limited to a few hours.

This deployment has freed Marico from regular hardware refresh owing to data volume variability, and provided the flexibility of scale-up or scale-down on demand. They now have an end-to-end data solution [database, data warehouse, big data, visualization, advanced analytics] that unlocks insights from any data. This has given Marico complete control of data management and more agility for business decision-making during critical times. They have also overcome the need for creating disaster recovery or backup infrastructure.

Mukesh Kripalani, Chief – Business Process Transformation & IT, Marico said

With the growing surge of data, and the burden that used to come along with it, Microsoft has helped us in eliminating the need for over-provisioning. We wanted to gain control over the churn and speed of data, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse has not only helped achieve this but also helped us gain business insights from big data and advanced analytics.

Peter Gartenberg, General Manager, Enterprise Commercial, Microsoft India, said

The deployment at Marico addresses the current FMCG market need for an integrated, intelligent cloud-based database management system. The solution will help Marico stay ahead of the market with faster and more accurate decisions. We have always aimed to reduce complexity and redundancy, and ensure data privacy and security through the Microsoft Cloud. We are excited to be associated with the growth of Marico.

In India, numerous FMCG customers are leveraging Microsoft Azure as their cloud platform to develop cutting edge digital and data analytics capabilities. Microsoft’s commitment to deliver enterprise-grade cloud platform that is open, flexible, affordable and secure has resonated strongly with Indian companies.

A Microsoft-Zinnov study has revealed that the Hybrid Cloud market in India is fast becoming a new standard for delivery of digital transformation. With the substantial cost as well as organizational benefits, Indian enterprises are increasingly intensifying their reliance on a hybrid cloud setup.

Image Source – Cloud Computing

The report observed that hybrid cloud deployment at a steady rate could result in cost savings of anywhere between 5% and 30% for an enterprise [depending on the growth of virtual machines in an enterprise’s data centre and a proportion of workloads moving from private data centre to public cloud infrastructure], based on the output of its proprietary cost modeller. As per the modeller, the hybrid cloud solution offered by Microsoft Azure is the most economical.

As per the survey conducted as part of this study, over 40 percent of enterprises have planned or are planning to build a hybrid cloud infrastructure or transform their existing IT infrastructure. The primary reasons cited for adopting hybrid cloud solutions include, lowering total cost of ownership [54%], facilitating innovation [42%], enhancing operational efficiencies [42%], and enabling companies to respond to and meet customer expectations more readily [40%].

Highlighting the need for hybrid cloud, Meetul Patel, General Manager, Marketing & Operations, Microsoft said

Many organizations have existing investments in IT infrastructure and business-specific needs to keep parts of it on their own premises. At the same time, the cloud presents an incredible opportunity to improve RoI, develop innovative solutions, and respond rapidly to changing business demands. The hybrid model is a ‘best of all worlds’ option that allows customers to benefit from the cloud on their own terms.

According to Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov

Hybrid cloud is becoming the preferred deployment model across sectors. Industries where the impact of digital transformation is the highest are the ones that are adopting hybrid cloud at an accelerated pace. However, enterprises need to select a hybrid cloud provider that can provide them with the right migration tools to enable seamless relocation of existing services – between dedicated private cloud and public cloud infrastructures – without lengthy or unplanned disruption to live service.

According to the report, adopting a hybrid cloud model requires transformational change in the way companies interact with their IT and business. There is a need to enable employees with competence in contract management, as hybrid cloud deployment models involve interaction with third party cloud providers.

Members within the organization need to be skilled to handle any exigency involving the cloud service provider. Therefore, training is needed to facilitate employees within the organization to familiarize themselves with the new business processes and governance structures, said the study.

Zinnov analysed more than 50 global cloud channel partners and found that hybrid cloud deployments constituted 45~50% of their overall cloud business. These channel partners are distributed across large-tier IT service providers, mid-tier IT service providers, Hosters and Telcos, Digital Marketing, and Platform BPO companies.

The growth of the cloud industry has been spurred by the funding and investments in cloud tech startups, which have increased exponentially. In 2016, the cloud market saw an estimated 370+ deals with the average investments growing at CAGR 15% between 2012~2016. The hybrid cloud deals accounted for 45-50% of the total cloud deals that happened from 2012 to 2016, and these primarily focused on storage, automation as well as hybrid cloud management solutions.

In addition, there has also been an increase in the cloud-specific acquisitions, growing at 35% CAGR from 2012 to 2016 with an average investment jump of 81.25%. In 2016 alone, there have been 115 cloud-specific acquisitions with the likes of CenturyLink shelling out USD 34 billion for Level 3 Communication, a provider of Data Center Connectivity and Cloud.

Rapid growth in internet adoption – fueled by government initiatives like demonetization and GST, growth of mobile data [the number of mobile developers is estimated to double from the current 300,000 by 2020], and digital transformation, led by the emergence of disruptive start-ups, especially in areas such as fintech, e-commerce, SaaS, are stated to be the key reasons for this development.

IBM and Pace Automation Ltd, a leading ‘Solution as a Service Company’ announced a strategic partnership to offer ‘RetailSmart, an end-to-end fully integrated solution that will enable local ‘Kirana’ [unorganized] stores to become ecommerce ready. Powered by IBM Cloud, the solution allows Kirana stores to deliver a convenient online shopping experience to consumers and pay safely using a convenient payment mode [irrespective of the size of the purchase].

Image Source – Cloud

According to industry reports, the current number of Kirana stores in India is pegged to be at 15 million. These stores have been facing tremendous headwinds from the organized retail & ecommerce companies. Attractive product presentations, discounts and cash back offers have led consumers to shop online while saving both time and money through these ecommerce portals. In addition, with the government’s demonetisation campaign, it is imperative for Kirana stores to go digital.

To bridge the gap, Pace Automation Ltd. has developed a unique solution, ‘RetailSmart’ on IBM cloud to digitally enable Kirana stores across the country. By implementing the solution, a Kirana store automatically becomes a part of the SmartKirana Network, hosted on IBM Cloud from Chennai data-center. The network digitally interconnects all Kirana stores in the country. Customers can easily access the network of Kirana stores in the neighborhood via smartphone app on Android available on Google Play Store or the SmartKirana web portal. Initially, the service will be available in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and National Capital Region and will be gradually expanded to other states and rural areas via network of distributors.

The solution will also give these stores an immediate access to ecosystem partners in banking, communication, insurance, payment processing and National product data repository. It enables the Kirana stores to:

  • Automate business processes like billing, stock management and accounting with increased efficiency and profitability
  • Receive online orders from customers through a web portal or smartphone app
  • Accept all credit / debit cards, mobile wallets, Aadhar enabled payments or UPI, irrespective of the value of the transaction thus making the transactions Cashless.
  • Put all transactions through the system creating transaction transparency, an integral aspect of GST compliance
  • Provide micro banking and value added services to customers generating additional revenue streams

SG Chandru, Chairman & Mentor, Pace Automation Ltd said

The objective of this project is to digitally empower Kirana stores and help them scale business by adding new revenue streams. For this we have tied up with series of partners to create a successful business ecosystem for Kirana merchants. Our target is to bring 1,50,000 local grocery stores to the network in the next three years & allow customers to order their groceries online from the nearest Kirana shop.

IBM is our technology partner that enabled us to develop and seamlessly deploy the solution on the Cloud. RetailSmart connects all the Kirana Stores across the country in its network digitally through the communication Ecosystem partner. This project is a win-win for all the stakeholders involved – Kirana stores, Manufacturers and Suppliers of goods and the end use customers.

Mukul Mathur, VP, Global Business partners and CSI, IBM India/South Asia said

We are excited about partnering with PACE in their efforts to digitize the unorganised Kirana stores and transform them into organized retail, leveraging the IBM Cloud and Cognitive solutions. IBM cloud is open by design, offering a set of tools, flexibility and agility that helps organizations of all size and developers to easily translate their innovative ideas into technical solutions and business models. This tie-up is an extension of IBM’s commitment to the ecosystem and a great example of how our joint solutions reach deep into the SME segment making the vision of Digital India real.

Powered by IBM Cloud, the solution is fully integrated end-to-end consisting of a custom -built hardware, an intuitive application software, backend / payment processing engines. A physically separated disaster recovery system ensures business continuity.  

PACE has also developed and implemented several solutions on IBM cloud across verticals for retail sector. ServeSmart is the flagship solution of PACE to automate the operations of restaurant retail business and has automated Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) operations in 2004 when they had just 90 outlets which has grown to 1800 plus outlets today.

PACE now provides ‘ServeSmart’ services to more than thirty five hundred restaurant outlets of various leading restaurants in India. PACE hosts all its solutions on an IBM-IaaS Facility at Chennai and at Singapore to provide disaster recovery and business process continuation.

SmartKirana web portal can be accessed here

DigitalOcean, the cloud for developers, have released Load Balancers, one of the most requested products from customers. Load Balancers is a highly available product that enables developers and small businesses to distribute traffic across their infrastructure to achieve 100% uptime for their production workloads.

DigitalOcean is approaching one million registered users with more than 40,000 active teams since releasing its cloud five years ago. With workloads becoming more complex, DigitalOcean is focused on delivering the tools and performance that are required to seamlessly deploy, scale and manage any sized application.

Julia Austin, CTO of DigitalOcean said

We are quickly expanding the capabilities of our cloud to support larger scale-out applications. With Load Balancers, we are providing developers and businesses with a simple service for maximizing the availability and reliability of applications without disrupting the end user experience. Load Balancers is the first major new product DigitalOcean has released this year. Over the coming year, you’ll see us continue to release a number of important products and features to meet our customers’ high availability, data storage, security, and networking needs.

Load Balancers on DigitalOcean can be created effortlessly from the control panel or API-no additional installation or configuration needed. Using Load Balancers to distribute connections enables developers and small businesses to scale their applications horizontally by sending traffic only to healthy Droplets, ensuring no single point of failure and increasing availability across their infrastructure.

With Load Balancers, developers have access to the following:

  • Support for multiple protocols including HTTP, HTTPS, and TCP
  • Managed TLS certificates
  • Full access through DigitalOcean’s API

For further information, please visit Blog on Load Balancers. Detailed tutorial can be found here

Pricing and Availability

Load Balancers on DigitalOcean are priced at USD 20 per month with no additional bandwidth charges and are available in all data center regions.

DigitalOcean, a cloud platform focused on simplifying the complexities of infrastructure for software developers and businesses and Hasura, a technology platform that helps developers build apps faster are collaborating with IIT Madras to bring the second edition of IMAD [Introduction to Modern Application Development].

IMAD is a free online course designed by Hasura & IIT Madras which aims to combine theory and practice and encourages students to build applications on the cloud. After the astounding success of the previous offering of IMAD, DigitalOcean and Hasura have partnered again for the second edition of IMAD to encourage students to build solutions to local problems or launch their own business ventures.

The first edition saw participation from a wide gamut – from college students to faculty, from working professionals to retired professionals to stay at home parents. They cut across geographic barriers [participants came from 21 countries], age [7% of the participants were over 40] and gender [30% of the participants were women].

Speaking about the program, Prabhakar Jayakumar, Country Manager, DigitalOcean said

We partnered with IIT Madras and Hasura on the first edition of IMAD, which turned out to be the largest ever MOOC in India with more than 57,000 registrations. We are happy to continue our association with the launch of the second edition of IMAD and we look forward to equipping our next generation of developers with the knowledge and tools required to build their applications on the cloud.

Beginning from January 23rd, the 8-week hands-on course has been divided into five modules, and will go over the basics of the Internet, browsers, databases and web and mobile application development.

The key benefit for students from this course will be to help broaden their technical skills, which is a pertinent need amongst graduates today. The participants who take an exam at the end of the course will be eligible for a certificate from IIT Madras and course toppers will be provided with internship opportunities in premier tech companies.

Registrations for the course are open until January 23rd, for more details please visit here

About DigitalOcean

Founded in 2011, DigitalOcean is a cloud platform that is simplifying the complexities of infrastructure for software developers. DigitalOcean has become the second largest and fastest growing cloud computing platform in the total number of public facing apps and websites, according to The company has raised $123 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Access Industries, IA Ventures, CrunchFund, and Techstars. The company is headquartered in New York City with data center regions throughout the world, including one in Bangalore (India). For more information, please visit Digital Ocean

About Hasura is a technology company that builds tools for developers to build apps fast. For example: a working backend of an app like BookMyShow can be built in under a day. Apps built on Hasura are built on some of the most cutting edge technologies today adopted by companies like Pokemon-Go, Netflix, SoundCloud & Flipkart. Hasura abstracts away these tools to help developers set up a sophisticated architecture in a few clicks. Building on Hasura is the fastest way for a developer to go from an idea to a live application that is inherently production grade and cloud native! For more information, please visit Harusa

DigitalOcean, the cloud for developers released High Memory Droplets (cloud servers) to continue to support more advanced workloads and applications at scale. While DigitalOcean’s standard Droplets make it easy for developers to deploy a healthy balance of RAM, CPU and local SSD-based storage, High Memory Droplets enable developers and businesses with specific use cases, typically running large-scale databases or distributed in-memory caches that require more RAM such as MongoDB, Cassandra and Redis.

This is another example of the company’s focus on ensuring developers and businesses can seamlessly launch, scale, and manage any size production application.

Yiftach Shoolman, Co-Founder and CTO of Redis Labs said

The next generation of applications need high memory to be intensely high performance, predictive and provide an exceptional user experience. In-memory, data structure platforms such as Redis can then take advantage of the available DRAM to meet a diverse set of processing and analytical needs, with the simplest possible developer experience.

Julia Austin, CTO of DigitalOcean said

We are constantly evaluating the service options we provide our customers to ensure they are getting the most value from DigitalOcean. By offering High Memory Droplets, developers now have an optimal solution for larger, high-performance databases that demand aggressive memory caching for data file management. High Memory Droplets also allow for scaling up vertically versus horizontally.

DigitalOcean is launching five new High Memory Droplets plans that start at $120 per month or $0.18 per hour and scale from 16GB to 224GB of RAM while maintaining an appropriate amount of local storage and CPU. The per-gigabyte cost of RAM is 25% less than DigitalOcean’s standard Droplet plans. High Memory Droplets are the first optimized Droplet type that DigitalOcean has released.

To learn more about DigitalOcean’s High Memory Droplet plans, please go here

About DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider focused on simplifying web infrastructure for software developers. The company is headquartered in New York City with data-centers throughout the world. For more information, please visit DigitalOcean

The best cloud storage providers simplify our digital lives. They make it easy to share files and photos and provide a secure place to back up our most important memories. We love the cloud and made it our mission to find the best cloud storage provider.

Note* : This article was previously featured on and content is reproduced here with author’s consent.

After exploring over 45 different options, interviewing power users across the nation, and personally testing 26 different apps, we are confident that DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box are the best, most reliable cloud storage providers on the market today.

Image Source - Cloud Storage
Image Source* – Cloud Storage

All four of our top picks will provide you with roughly the same lineu of features and each has a freemium version, letting you take advantage of the cloud without paying a dime. So, picking your favorite cloud storage option will be a matter of how much space you need, how much you’re ready to pay, and which one is the easiest for you to use.

How We Found the Best Cloud Storage

We started by compiling a list of 45 different cloud-based software solutions and then we hit the books (well, the internet, that is). We read reviews from the top technology blogs, dissected user guides, toyed with a bunch of settings, and narrowed our list down to our top four recommendations using these five criteria:

1. We removed services that are focused primarily on media- and OS-level backups.

Of the active users we surveyed, 53 percent primarily use cloud storage for media and file sharing, so our best picks had to be well-rounded, and not focused on automated, system-level backups.

2. We removed services that are just for business and have no personal option.

Enterprise cloud solutions are technical, and include a plethora of features that most people either don’t need, or would find confusing, such as task management and user comments.

3. We cut all services without extensive support for OS X, Windows, Android, and iOS.

A huge benefit of cloud storage is that it bridges the gap between operating systems. We only passed services that support all of the most common desktop and mobile operating systems.

4. We cut any cloud storage services that did not offer a freemium version.

Offering a freemium version is obviously a great way for companies to win new users, but it’s also part of being the best cloud storage service. Not everyone is a power user, after all. And why pay when you don’t have to?

5. We cut any contenders that didn’t have an average of 3.5 stars or higher from the App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Store.

If there’s one thing that should be indicative of cloud storage, it’s mobility. Filtering out low-rated mobile apps was a great way to find out which companies really catered to their users. Of course, app scores change with every update and release, but as of our latest update all of our top contenders had high marks.

Cloud Storage Reviews and Testing

After narrowing down the cloud storage contenders to our top recommendations, we spent a week testing them all on four different operating systems (OS X Yosemite, Windows 10, iOS 9.1, Android Lollipop 5.1.1) and on seven different devices. We updated files, shared a ton of pictures (maybe one or two selfies), and installed a bunch of apps. We even used Google Drive to write and edit this review.

We also tested the transfer speeds for each contender by uploading a leisurely afternoon’s worth of iPhone photos (about 30) from three different locations. As you can see below, Microsoft OneDrive consistently logged the fastest times, while Box and Dropbox duked it out for last place.

Speed Test : Save a Few Seconds on Every Upload

Packet Size: 393.6Mb (Note: Lower score is better)
Packet Size: 393.6Mb (Note: Lower score is better)