More Than Systems Integration: Bringing Scalable, Cost-Effective Cloud Services to India and the World

HPE Compute

Belief in one's product is fundamental to its successful sale, particularly during the launch phase. This premise was starkly evident at Writer Information Management Services, a Mumbai-headquartered enterprise content management entity established in 1987, which has since evolved into India's foremost information management corporation.

The company embarked on developing a public cloud solution tailored for both domestic and international clientele accustomed to platforms like AWS and Azure. Internally, Writer Information Management Services found itself in a similar predicament: possessing limited prior experience in operating a cloud data center. Moreover, its pre-sales and technical teams faced challenges in confidently promoting an in-house cloud service due to their lack of exposure to such solutions in practical settings.

A long overdue digital transformation

With a career spanning over 30 years in IT Services companies, I assumed the role of Head of Cloud and Data services at Writer Information in the year 2020. My objective? To spearhead the growth of our Cloud and Data Services division. 


Writer Information boasts a substantial clientele of over 3,000 customers. Our extensive infrastructure comprises 750 business processing centers and over 28 information management centers, offering a total of 12 million square feet of storage space for paper documents, servers, and data tapes, alongside secure processing rooms. These facilities uphold stringent security standards, holding ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certifications, and are interconnected via a wide area network featuring built-in disaster recovery redundancies.

While our core business revolves around physical storage, the evolving demands of our customers necessitated the provision of cost-effective and secure cloud solutions to facilitate their digital transformations. In response, we developed a comprehensive five-year strategic plan for cloud services, integral to our overarching digital journey. This strategic blueprint addressed critical concerns, prioritizing:

  • the market for cloud services in India and abroad
  • the most impactful services we can offer

In addition to our internal considerations, the explicit demands of our clientele played a pivotal role in shaping our cloud service offerings. Our customers emphasized the necessity for a cloud solution characterized by simplicity, intuitiveness, and predictable pricing. This emphasis on predictability stems from the high level of price sensitivity prevalent among Indian businesses, primarily due to the potential adverse effects of currency exchange rate fluctuations on budgets, particularly when transacting in US dollars.

Furthermore, security, privacy, and data residency emerged as paramount concerns, particularly given our clientele's concentration within the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector. This sector operates within a highly regulated environment, necessitating stringent adherence to security protocols and data residency regulations. Thus, addressing these concerns became pivotal in delivering a cloud solution that aligned with the specific needs of our clientele.

From public cloud to FinOps and HPE

Rather than compete with public cloud vendors, an in-house cloud solution offers a new option for price-conscious and privacy-minded clients.

Initially, our strategy entailed providing public cloud services through established public cloud vendors. However, recognizing the distinct preferences of our clientele for cost-effectiveness and privacy, we pivoted towards developing an in-house solution. This decision was particularly motivated by the needs of our price-conscious and privacy-minded clients within the BFSI sector.

Simultaneously, we aimed to diversify our client base by tapping into emerging markets, including the burgeoning FinTech sector. Understanding the unique operational dynamics of FinTech clients, who often embrace FinOps principles, became imperative. 

FinOps, an approach focused on optimizing the funding and deployment of cloud infrastructure to maximize value while effectively managing trade-offs between speed, cost, and performance, presented a strategic avenue for aligning our offerings with the evolving needs of this clientele.


We began exploring solutions that would allow us to build an in-house cloud while controlling costs. Our Cloud Platform partner, Apiculus, proposed a two-layered integrated solution: 

  • the HPE GreenLake platform for end-to-end HPE hardware, software, and networking integrations 
  •  Apiculus 360, an Indian cloud monetization and management platform that satisfied our customers’ compliance requirements and shielded them from cost escalations 

This combination was the perfect foundation for our new venture. We’re not competing with large public cloud services; we are creating a niche product for our clients we serve now and hope to serve in the future. 

Turning to the cloud experts

Despite our innovative concept, we encountered a shortfall in both expertise and capacity required to construct and administer a cloud-services data center independently. Our previous operations involved running Nutanix clusters, where we procured storage and compute resources on demand. While we operated within a virtualized environment and possessed the capability to provision virtual machines (VMs) as per request, our strategic planning was limited to this scope.

Pay-as-you-go infrastructure and support shifts costs from the CapEx column to the OpEx column, and helps manage costs.

Collaborating with Apiculus and HPE enabled us to expedite the commencement of our cloud project while mitigating our risk exposure. Leveraging their expertise, we swiftly established a just-in-time data center to inaugurate our new business endeavor, facilitating scalable hardware and software provisioning in tandem with customer demand.

Opting for HPE compute, particularly the HPE ProLiant series, provided us with the flexibility to tailor our infrastructure to specific workloads, rather than adhering to a one-size-fits-all approach. This customization capability empowered us to efficiently address diverse processing requirements while benefiting from streamlined scalability and seamless integration across system components. Consequently, we observed enhanced workload efficiency and a diminished environmental footprint, in alignment with our sustainability objectives.

The adoption of HPE GreenLake's pay-as-you-go infrastructure and support model facilitated a strategic shift in our cost management approach, transitioning expenses from the capital expenditure (CapEx) column to the operational expenditure (OpEx) column. This transition not only facilitated more manageable cost structures for both ourselves and our clients but also ensured greater predictability in cost forecasting. The culmination of these efforts yielded an end-to-end, fully managed public/private cloud solution, fortified with chip-level security features, catering to the evolving needs of our clientele.

Ease of use, performance, and flexibility

The HPE GreenLake platform has removed the stress from managing hardware in our data centre. The user interface is incredibly intuitive and reduces the complexity of configuring cloud infrastructure. We can provision storage and compute in two or three clicks. And because Apiculus and HPE are in the back end, the process is frictionless because we don’t have to worry about managing the hardware and software layers separately.

We have seen a 10–20% boost in storage and compute performance at the same price point—primarily due to HPE’s performant server and storage solutions. Additionally, we employ HPE GreenLake for Cloudian, an S3-compatible object storage solution that treats data as objects rather than blocks. This powerful technology allows us to store unstructured data more efficiently, optimising hardware performance and further reducing costs. 

During our initial stress tests, there was no discernable performance degradation at 80% capacity. Our data centre has experienced 100% uptime since going online, and our network is also 25% faster since we adopted HPE Aruba switches.

We have created a local 24/7 in-house support team for MSP support, combining customer and manufacturer support in a single customer-facing solution. By doing so, we have found a way to pass performance improvements, cost savings, and dedicated support to our customers.  

Eliminating internal obstacles

Our cloud-service data centre was Writer Information's first internal data centre project. There was skepticism, and we had to convince our teams of its value to our customers. Our customers already understood cloud services and had clearly expressed their requirements. However, our people worried whether an in-house cloud could offer the same performance and flexibility and would be accepted by customers.

Fortunately, the Apiculus and HPE integrations eased everyone’s mind. We allowed our people to test it during the Pre-Go Live deployment period, and we asked various teams to create simulated customer accounts and log into the system as well perform stress test and application compatibility tests. They saw how well it performed and how easy it was to be used by our customers, and they all quickly became believers.

Moving ahead with our cloud journey

When I was hired to build our cloud division, I knew where we stood and where we wanted to reach, and I quickly realized it was more than a systems integration project. Apiculus helped Writer Information leverage Apiculus and HPE technology to build a scalable cloud solution for the market, making it easier to navigate the regulatory landscape governing our BFSI and FinTech customers.

But it was only the beginning. We launched our first availability zone in Mumbai and have started with a second in Chennai and a third in Noida. We also have plan to set-up one in Middle East as a availability zone, and we’re looking into opportunities in Africa and the UK. Our cloud solution is perfectly tailored as Indigenous cloud, but the world is our market, and there’s no telling where this will take us.