SD Squared launches platform to help startups get cloud billing under control

SD Squared released a new cloud management platform today it’s calling; it’s designed to help startups, especially in emerging markets, control and manage cloud costs on AWS.

Company co-founder Sachin Dev Duggal says SD Squared has put together these services over the years, and decided to pull them together into a platform where startups and other interested parties can more easily pick and choose the services they want.

Think of the new platform as a layer between the customer and AWS. While AWS offers a range of services, SD Squared can remove some of the challenges around managing costs and resources on a complex platform, especially for a startup trying to get its business off the ground.

Duggal sees the company’s purpose as providing this set of tools to help startups use the cloud more easily, especially outside of North America. In emerging markets, people could find it more difficult to launch a startup because of credit limitations, cost concerns or less access to financial tools in general.


SD2 billing dashboard

Photo: SD Squared

To that end, SD Squared is offering a number of services, including a new AWS pre-paid wallet. As the name implies, a startup founder can “deposit” a fixed amount into the wallet, and that money goes toward paying for its AWS services. If someone were to forget to turn off a server, the co-founders would receive a warning that there was an unusual spike in service, and they would get additional warnings that they were close to running out of money, giving them the opportunity to shut it down if it’s a mistake or add additional funds if it’s an actual business spike.

“If people are nervous about using a credit card [to run their business], this can open up the opportunity for those who might be less inclined. When we talked about this with early customers…it allowed them to have an up-front cost model without it being a runaway train,” Duggal said. It also helps eliminate the problem of finding your credit card has been maxed out when you go to buy groceries because your cloud service has used up your credit without you knowing.

The company also has pre-purchased reserved instances from AWS, which are discounted by Amazon for paying for a year upfront. SD Squared buys these instances at a lower price, something its customers couldn’t typically afford to do (or wouldn’t want to do) and then splits the difference between what the customer would have paid on-demand and the discount. The amount of the split varies according the amount of usage.

The company also offers monitoring services to help customers better understand and control their activity on AWS, and even provides a free migration service to move or copy data so that it’s in a region closer to customers. It claims to have moved or copied thousands of instances successfully during the private beta of this service.

SD Squared has concentrated for the most part on markets outside of North America for starters because it believed it could grow the business more quickly there. “We knew for this to work we needed scale…We knew especially in India, they were worried about pricing and currency fluctuations,” Duggal said.

The company, which was founded in 2012, has been bootstrapped by the founders and its headquarters are in San Francisco.