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Know expert tips to craft a resilient cloud infrastructure on a budget. This guide can help startups to thrive without financial struggle, from resource optimization to strategic planning.

Startups, often constrained by limited budgets, struggle with the challenge of establishing a robust and scalable cloud infrastructure while keeping costs in check. In this article, industry experts share invaluable tips and insights to help startups strike the right balance. From optimising resource allocation to architecting for efficiency and ensuring sustainable growth through cost optimisation, these recommendations provide a roadmap for startups to efficiently manage their cloud infrastructure without breaking the bank.

Whether it’s right-sizing resources, leveraging managed services, or prioritising simplicity over functionality in the early stages, this comprehensive guide tries to help startups in handling the complexities of cloud setup and maintenance.

Cost-Effective Cloud Infrastructure Design and Maintenance: Tips and Pitfalls

Startups with limited budgets often grapple with the challenge of balancing the need for robust and scalable cloud infrastructure while managing costs. Here are top tips from experts in the field to start with:

1.Balancing Robustness and Affordability

Startups face the challenge of achieving a robust and scalable cloud infrastructure while staying within financial boundaries. Sandeep Sekar, Vice President Delivery – Digital Engineering at Maveric Systems, provides actionable tips:

Right-sizing Resources: Careful assessment of computing, storage, and networking needs is paramount. Initiating with smaller instances or resources and scaling up as demands grow ensures cost-effective resource allocation.

Serverless and Managed Services: Utilising serverless or managed services, such as AWS Lambda or Azure Functions, reduces infrastructure management costs by eliminating the need to provision or manage servers.

Strategic Instance Selection: Sekar recommends considering spot instances or preemptible VMs at discounted rates, suitable for specific workloads like batch jobs or data analysis.

Storage Optimisation: Object storage options like Amazon S3 or Azure Blob Storage prove cost-effective for data storage. Implementing lifecycle policies for data movement enhances storage cost optimization.

Continuous Cost Monitoring: Regularly reviewing and analysing cloud spending using cost management tools prevents overspending. Identifying and eliminating unused resources is crucial for maintaining budget control.

Reserved Instances and Committed Use Discounts: For workloads with predictable usage patterns, considering reserved instances or committed use discounts can lead to substantial cost savings.

DevOps Practices for Operational Streamlining: Adopting DevOps practices, including infrastructure as code (IaC) and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), streamlines operations, reducing the risk of human errors and resource waste.

2. Architecting for Efficiency

Jay Jenkins, CTO of Cloud Computing at Akamai Technologies, shares invaluable insights for startups striving to balance efficiency and budget constraints:

Build for Scaling Up (and Down): Cloud-native architectures offer the flexibility to dynamically scale resources based on varying demands. Understanding steady-state capacity is essential for structuring cloud deals effectively.

Multicloud Enabled for Flexibility: While focusing on a single cloud initially reduces complexity, Jenkins encourages startups to ensure multicloud-enabled architectures. This flexibility avoids lock-in and facilitates workload migration for better performance or differentiated services.

Clear Cloud Exit Strategy: Acknowledging the rapid pace of technological change, startups should have a clear cloud exit strategy. This allows for the migration of services as technology evolves, becomes more standardised, or better services emerge.

“Good Enough” Philosophy: Jenkins states the importance of evaluating whether the performance being paid for is necessary. Careful consideration of database speed, storage requirements, and network speed helps startups optimise costs without compromising functionality.

Cost Allocation and Team Training: Implementing cost allocation strategies and training team members on cost optimisation best practices further contribute to effective cloud spending.

In synthesising these recommendations, startups can navigate the cloud setup dilemma, ensuring scalability and functionality without breaking the bank.

3. Sustainable Growth Through Cost Optimisation

Pallav Agarwal, Founder of HTS Solutions, throws light on optimising costs during the design and maintenance of cloud infrastructure. His insights focus on sustainable growth for startups:

Utilise Free Tier and Credits: Leveraging free tiers or credits offered by cloud providers allow startups to minimise initial costs. Vigilant monitoring of usage ensures staying within free tier limits.

Pay-As-You-Go Models for Flexibility: Opting for pay-as-you-go pricing models provides flexibility, allowing startups to scale resources based on demand and avoid paying for unused capacity.

Benefiting from Managed Services: Managed services offered by cloud providers reduce operational overhead and associated costs. These services often include automatic scaling, backups, and security features.

Cost Monitoring and Optimisation Tools: Implementation of cost monitoring tools enables startups to track spending, identify cost drivers, and optimize resource usage. Setting up alerts for cost overruns ensures timely intervention.

Pitfalls to Avoid: Sharing Overspending Traps

Common pitfalls highlighted by Sekar include leaving resources running unnecessarily, overprovisioning, neglecting cost optimisation, ignoring available discounts, and lacking adequate cost monitoring and visibility.

Agarwal highlights pitfalls to steer clear of, including failure to monitor costs, not optimising resources, and overlooking available discounts, credits, or free tiers.

By integrating these cost-effective tips and avoiding common pitfalls, startups can efficiently manage their cloud infrastructure within limited budgets, channeling resources towards innovation and growth.

Striking the Right Balance: Simplicity vs. Functionality in Early Cloud Setup

Tushar Dhawan, Partner at Plus91Labs, anticipates the importance of prioritising rapid deployment and iteration in the early startup stages. The focus should be on getting the product to market quickly and refining it based on real-world feedback. Entrepreneurs are advised to leverage essential platform services instead of building everything from scratch, allowing for core functionality without over-engineering.

In the early stages, Dhawan recommends starting with a simple Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) architecture focused on automation. This provides a lean yet extensible cloud foundation, allowing startups to concentrate on innovation at the application layer. Opting for managed services over self-managed solutions, even if slightly costlier upfront, is suggested by Dhawan. This choice simplifies the management of various aspects, letting startups focus on their core business instead of infrastructure complexities.

Harshit Jain, CEO and Co-founder at Oneplay points out the need for security and efficiency as top priorities, particularly for tech-based startups. Keeping things simple, easy, and debuggable is crucial in the early stages. Jain cautions against overengineering applications from the beginning, stressing the importance of writing test cases, automating processes, and pre-planning to save time, effort, costs, and downtime in the future.

Choosing the right analytics, continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), and security tools is crucial for a startup’s tech infrastructure, as mentioned by Jain. This includes a focus on analytics, monitoring, and containerising source code for efficiency.

Jenkins believes in initiating essential services and features to meet the core needs of the business, forming a solid foundation for growth. He suggests opting for scalable cloud platforms to streamline the initial setup, providing flexibility and adaptability as the business expands. To reduce costs and complexity, Jenkins recommends keeping the infrastructure lean with streamlined solutions. Implementing automated tools for deployment, monitoring, and scaling enhances operational efficiency while maintaining control over resources.

By adopting a simplified approach, Jenkins notes that day-to-day operations are streamlined. This not only simplifies current activities but also sets the stage for sustainable growth and long-term success.

Privacy Considerations in Cloud Transition: Protecting Sensitive Customer Data

Transitioning to the cloud demands a profound focus on privacy considerations as well, especially for safeguarding sensitive customer data. This priority not only upholds customer trust but is vital for complying with regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, or CCPA.

According to experts, startups, during this crucial transition, should adopt the following key privacy practices:

Data Encryption:

 Implement robust encryption mechanisms for data in transit and at rest, utilising SSL/TLS for transit and AES for data at rest. Consider additional encryption for sensitive database fields.

Key Management:

Critical to maintaining control over encrypted data, and implementing secure key management practices. Explore the use of hardware security modules (HSMs) for added protection.

Access Controls:

Enforce granular access controls, following the principle of least privilege. Regularly review and audit access permissions to ensure only authorised individuals have access to sensitive customer data.

Data Residency and Compliance:

Understand data residency requirements and comply with relevant regulations. Opt for cloud providers with data centres in regions aligned with these requirements.

Data Minimisation:

Adopt a data minimization strategy, collecting and storing only necessary customer data to reduce exposure risks.

Data Retention Policies:

Establish clear data retention policies, regularly reviewing and purging unnecessary data to ensure compliance with privacy regulations.

Incident Response and Breach Notification:

Develop robust incident response and breach notification procedures for prompt and effective response to security incidents. Clearly outline protocols for detection, investigation, mitigation, and necessary notifications.

Vendor Risk Management:

Evaluate the security and privacy practices of cloud providers and third-party services. Review data handling policies, certifications, and compliance capabilities.

Privacy-by-design Principles:

Integrate privacy considerations into application and system design. Conduct regular privacy impact assessments to identify and mitigate risks.

Regular Security Assessments and Audits:

Conduct regular assessments, testing, and audits to identify and address potential vulnerabilities in cloud infrastructure.

By prioritising these privacy considerations and adopting robust data protection practices, startups can establish customer trust, comply with regulations, and mitigate risks associated with handling sensitive customer data in the cloud.


Startups can glean essential insights for facing the challenges of establishing a robust cloud infrastructure within budgetary constraints. The key takeaways include a delicate balancing act between robustness and affordability. Strategic optimisation through right-sizing resources, utilising serverless or managed services, and making informed instance selections is imperative. Besides, architecting for growth, embracing cost-effective practices, and learning from common pitfalls contribute to a comprehensive approach.

Privacy considerations emerge as a critical aspect, highlighting the need for robust data encryption, access controls, and adherence to compliance requirements during the cloud transition. The guide advocates for startups to leverage simplicity over complexity, adopting a “good enough” philosophy in the early stages of cloud setup. By avoiding common pitfalls, startups can not only stay within budget but also streamline operations, stimulating sustainable growth. These takeaways collectively serve as a blueprint for startups, enabling them to optimise resources, ensure compliance, and navigate the dynamic landscape of cloud infrastructure while driving innovation and long-term success.

About The Author

Sandeep SekarAs the Vice President of Digital Delivery at Maveric, Sandeep Sekar leverages his technical expertise and business acumen to drive digital design thinking and spearhead strategic initiatives that enhance and scale the organization’s digital capabilities. With a proven track record of leadership in Engineering, Product Management, Delivery, and Account Management, his primary responsibility is to ensure the flawless execution of digital banking transformations.

Originally Published in Business World

Article by

Maveric Systems