Big Idea

Lightwing | Optimising Cloud Spend | Ravitej Yadalam | Navaneeth KN

Your business is paying for cloud space more than you use it. Lightwing might help you save a few bucks

When hotels have come up with six-hour slots for your stay and automakers are pushing smart engines that conserve fuel at stop lights, why shell out loads of money on cloud space for your online business? There are 720 hours in a 30-day month. If your start-up/venture works sane hours, you’re in office only a third of the time. Then why pay the AWS, Azures, and Google Clouds of the world for when you’re not using your cloud?

Lightwing founders Ravitej Yadalam (left) and Navaneeth KN (right) had the same question. Every digital service has non-production workloads such as quality checks, staging/product demo. As per Yadalam, these activities account for about 45% of all compute spends. Crucially, this chunk of your cloud remains idle for up to 75% of the month. That’s about 34% of your cloud space cost. However, the cloud service charges per minute, or unit time. So, you’re paying for far more than you use. “Because of the complexity in pricing and usage, it’s difficult to pay exactly for what you use,” says Yadalam.

Yadalam says that his service cuts cloud service usage when your workload is inactive. Lightwing detects idle time and whenever a developer’s system times out, the service terminates the resource on the cloud. Once the developer comes back online, the cloud service is immediately made live. That’s called life-time optimisation. Lightwing’s AI machinery constantly scouts for potential withdrawals and alternative spot instances (space made available when cloud is not maximally utilised) on the cloud to host a computing operation. This way, the user’s working environment doesn’t get disturbed, and even the switch between spot-instances is seamless.

Yadalam claims that Lightwing saves 70-80% of cloud usage for non-production workloads. The start-up works with all major cloud space providers, and predicts usage patterns of the cloud space. But why would cloud providers collaborate with such a service? It comes down to customer stickiness. “For AWS, we help retain customers. For instance, AWS is far superior in terms of the tools and services it provides with its cloud space. But, Digital Ocean is a cheaper cloud space provider. However, with LightWing, AWS’ costs come down,” he explains.

The start-up asks for 20% of the savings made on the cloud expense. “We are six months old and we have two active points of contact with NetApp. Our clients include Vedantu, Zwayam, Vantage Aghora, ConfirmTkt,” says Yadalam. They are targeting 100 deployments by the end of this year. Founder of ConfirmTkt, Sripad Vaidya shares that the start-up helped save 20% of the railway ticketing company’s cloud expense.

“We intend to hit monthly recurring revenue of $10,000 by March 2020,” says Yadalam. Going by that figure, a conservative estimated projection for FY21 stands at $120,000. He and his six-strong team raised $120,000 in January from Techstars, the North American seed accelerator. Another $15,000 came from Netapp’s Excellerator program.