early stage startups needed Single-cloud, multicloud or on-premises strategy when starting out?
Well the simple answer to that question is just a cloudBut in the wake of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, redundancy has become attractive again: Who wants to depend on a single provider for a mission-critical activity?
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But it appears that the main idea isn’t redundancy — it’s actually what kind of compute load a startup has to deal with, according to TechCrunch+’s survey of several startup founders and CTOs. In particular, the founders we heard from were generally upbeat on single-cloud use for young startups, with important caveats: If a young tech company is only hosting software, well, to start , A cloud will suffice, but if the company is working on AI-related tasks such as training models, it may need more.
Elation co-founder and CEO Satyen Sangani described when it might make sense to use something other than the cloud:
If your company needs a large amount of infrastructure right up front (say, you’re training the next big language model), it might make sense to buy hardware instead. Typically, the early days of companies are full of experimentation, and the flexibility provided by clouds gives a massive advantage in those days.
A good question at this juncture is what fraction of “AI-first” startups are training their own models, rather than remixing or retooling the UI-layer of an existing LLM, for example. We believe that this is not too much.
Regardless, after parsing the answer to our first question, we’ll amend our prompt the next time we ask something related: When should a startup move to a multicloud setup?
For now, read on for the answers to our questions: Should early-stage startups focus on multicloud or on-premises when they’re just starting out?
We talked with:
- Toby Knaup, Founder CEO, D2iQ
- Mang-Git Ng, Founder & CEO, Anvil
- Joe Mainwaring, Director of Infrastructure, WorkTango
- Vikas Bhatia, Co-Founder, CEO & Chief Risk Officer, JustProtect
- Satyen Sangani, co-founder and CEO of Elation
- Steve Mulaney, President and CEO of Aviatrix
- Ed Thompson, CTO, Matilion
- Adrian Estala, VP, Field CDO, Starburst
- Shane Buckley, President and CEO, Gigaman
Toby Knaup, Founder and CEO, D2iQ: As always, it depends. But most software startups should start on a cloud and be careful not to create too much lock-in by using proprietary services so you can more easily adapt and migrate later.
If your company needs a large amount of infrastructure right up front (say, you’re training the next big language model), it might make sense to buy hardware instead. Typically, the early days of companies are full of experimentation, and the flexibility provided by clouds pays off in a big way on those days.