A delicious bite of Cloud

Being on Amazon Web Services has enabled Nilgai Foods to garner multi-layered returns in terms of savings, performance and much else.

“The FnB (Food and Beverage) industry is a major user of modern technological systems,says Vaibhav Singhal, CTO, Nilgai Foods. 鄭t Nilgai Foods we keep in mind that this is a technology driven business.Cloud is at the centre of the operations being conducted at Nilgai Foods. The company operates over 10 cafes in Mumbai and they also have shelf products like jams, which sell through retail outlets and e-commerce websites. Running operations for last two years, Nilgai has already implemented an ERP system (SAP). Now the need was felt for an efficient cloud system.

It was clear to the team at Nilgai that cloud technology was not their area of expertise. Lot of time and special skills are required for deploying and managing cloud. So the unanimous decision was taken to be on a cloud managed service platform.

“The ultimate decision was driven by the desire to reduce capex and save the trouble of hiring manpower to manage in-house IT,explains Singhal. 典he cost of getting the work done by data centre provider within the country was much cheaper, as compared to having our own cloud set-up. Amazon services are very cheap as per our analysis.They found that the cost of some local data centre service providers would have proved to be very low, but in the long run it could have proved costlier as the upgrades, management of infrastructure and manpower would have necessitated further expenses.

Apart from Amazon, Nilgai considered few other providers. 展e ran a POC to see that the connectivity was secure enough, and data recovery and disaster management was doable. By the analysis that we made, we realised that it was a no-brainer that we had to go in for Amazon.”

Being on cloud is so easy!

When Nilgai decided to go in for Amazon cloud services they did so with full conviction and they did not bring with them any baggage or inhibition. In the beginning Nilgai was  hosted on Amazon痴 establishment in US. During those days the Amazon痴 Singapore infrastructure was yet to come up.

“Latency has never been an issue for us,asserts Singhal. 擢rom BFSI perspective where they have to comply with lots of RBI regulations it is a different scenario, but for us it worked perfectly well. I think even the security issue in cloud is really exaggerated. They have concerns of the safety and integrity of the cloud systems, but to my mind this is due to their lack of understanding.

Nilgai is utilising  Amazon EC2, S3, CloudFront, Route53, VPC, SES, IAM to run their  SAP servers (SAP AIO ECC 6.0), PoS servers. This infrastructure is powering Nilgai痴 retail outlets, website and e-commerce engine. Payments for e-commerce happen via integration with the CCAvenue payment gateway. At the time of payment, the customer is taken to the CCAvenue痴 website, where the transaction takes place and once the payment cycle is completed, the customer is returned to the e-commerce website to complete the order and back onto AWS. For POS, Nilgai uses Microsoft server that uses SQL server for its database. It is integrated with AWS logical instance. There are around 25-30 users within the organisation.

The most unique aspect of Nilgai痴 implementation was its decision to put SAP on cloud right from the beginning. Nilgai痴 investors had concerns regarding the organisation deciding to go for SAP and hosting it. The investors feared that the whole undertaking would lead to Nilgai spending crores of rupees, but through cloud adoption they made sure that they spent only fraction of it. Mentions Singhal, 展hen we had implemented SAP on cloud, they did not have a proper guidelines for how to implement SAP on AWS, now they do. So this was a bit of challenge for us.”

Advantages of cloud

Today Nilgai reaps the benefits of being on the cloud. One of the biggest advantages of moving to cloud is that this has led to the reduction of the cost of operations. The manpower deployment is also minimal. He says, 的t is really easy to scale up and down in cloud. Also, with on-premise data centres all our hardware would have been out of date. With cloud we do not have to worry about that. Right now, apart from me, there is only one other IT personnel.He maintains that as far as business efficiency is concerned there is hardly any difference between having operations running on an on-premise data centre or on cloud. The only difference is that one cannot walk into a data centre and plug into a machine.  According to him, organisations that are already considering cloud option right from the start should have their expectations right. One of the unmistakable benefits that they will get is very little capital expenditure.

The best thing is that Nilgai can hive off specific server maintenance jobs to the respective application vendors by using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), which restricts access to each vendor to the sections of cloud that are relevant to their application only. This has resulted in Nilgai being able to get a turnkey maintenance and deployment service from application vendors while keeping their data within the organisation. 的 doubt we could have done this easily with an on-premise or a traditional data centre,says Singhal.

Presently, Nilgai Foods has chain of cafes around Mumbai. In another two years the number of these cafes is expected to increase to hundred. To take care of the needs of their expanding business, they are now planning to deploy analytics. They have a single kitchen from where delivery is done  to cafes few times a day. It is very important for the organisation to analyse what kind of demand they will be expecting not only through the week or month, but through the day.  In order to have the ability for processing such information, they need systems for analysing data that they gather through their stores.  “With the analytics tools that Amazon has we will be able to process information,says Singhal.


analyticsAWScloud computingcloud managementdata centre provider
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