If you want to host your website, an App or a business application on the internet, you’ll be spoiled for choices these days. The costs of running an online business have become terribly low, that now in some cases, all you need is a username and password and you’re started.
But while its become a cake walk for you, it’s not the same experience for your customers when they try to access your website. Because your website is hosted in remote servers in Europe and America, and your customers are in East Africa, there’s a significant delay they encounter accessing content on your site.
Kili believes it has the solution to this problem.
The Nairobi-based start-up is more concerned about how fast your visitors can access your website which is why it has setup its core infrastructure in Kenya than in America or Europe. I spoke with Adam Nelson, the founder of Kili about their product offering for East African users and why it competes against the likes of Microsoft Azure, Google cloud compute, Amazon web services, Linode among other global Cloud providers.
#1. What’s the motivation behind Kili
I started Kili after moving to Nairobi from New York and upon arriving, realizing that one of the reasons that most websites, mobile apps, and enterprise branch networks were slow and unreliable in Kenya. The biggest reason that’s the case is because the backends of these services are in Europe and the United States. The latency to those places is very high (150ms+) and sometimes the international link isn’t even up so they’re unavailable or really slow. Moving those services to Nairobi means that any East African website, mobile app, or enterprise application on the Internet can be faster for the same price.
#2. How do you compare with global cloud providers — that is, what’s your unique value preposition?
The Global cloud providers provide a great service. I used to be a heavy users of Amazon Web Services, which is why it was so frustrating to move to Kenya and not see it available with reasonable latency here. Rackspace also has a really great product. What’s nice about Rackspace is that under the hood, they use OpenStack – the Linux of cloud computing. We use that software too so you’re getting the same software that Rackspace uses but physically in East Africa and therefore 90% lower latency. Oh, and it’s also the same price. So you basically get everything you would with a global provider but with a better experience for your users.
#3. What are the packages and the pricing?
We offer both storage and compute power. If you want file storage, we bill $0.08/GB/month for that. If you want compute power, the prices range from $15 to $220 for a single instance (i.e. one server) per month. If the instance is only on for a few hours though, you may just end up paying a few cents. It all depends on usage but it’s always cheaper than hosting stuff in one’s own data center. We will be launching annual reservations soon which allow users to prepay much of the cost upfront and save over time too. We’re also offering an introductory special for the next few weeks where users who deposit $15 receive a $100 credit. Just email us at email@example.com and we’ll apply the credit.