The Right Cloud, The Right Provider

Cloud Provider

Many organisations find that taking the complex decision to migrate services to the cloud is actually the easy part. The biggest challenge is selecting the most suitable solution that will bring the most financial and operational value in the long term. For companies to achieve this, there are several key issues that have to be considered when evaluating the cloud solutions on offer in today’s marketplace.

The main reasons that many businesses choose the cloud is to reduce costs and boost efficiency and productivity. Therefore, one of the highest priorities when exploring various options is to find a solution that can precisely match the specific needs of the organisation, to provide the expected return on investment.

How To Take Advantage Of The Cloud

One well documented advantage of cloud solutions is the flexibility they bring to managing growth, rapid business changes and development. When companies grow and the amount of data generated increases, the cloud platform has to be flexible enough to cope with this while still delivering the required levels of performance and quality. The selected platform has to be a consistent high performer to deliver capacity, security and compatibility, and with guaranteed uptime.

It’s important to remember that when it comes to the make-up of a cloud infrastructure that one size does not fit all. Likewise, when it comes to the providers themselves, different services are offered at varying levels of quality and performance. Companies need to explore using different technologies, whether that is a multi-vendor or single solution. The services on offer should be aligned to the company’s business requirements, organisational structure and it is vital that it also complements the in-house infrastructure.

Service & Support

When all of the various options have been considered, another important step is to make sure the provider guarantees the resources offered in the service level agreement (SLA). The agreement should also cover critical issues such as downtime, to give businesses the reassurance that on the rare occasions it occurs, the necessary contingency plans will be in place. Exploring the details of the contingency plans, as well as the provider’s downtime history, and what guarantees it can offer, should address any concerns.

In addition, a major consideration are the levels of support given by the provider. Technical problems occur around the clock so when selecting a solution, the support services should be 24/7, delivered by engineers that fully understand the technology.

Cost

Cloud solutions may bring down the need for capital expenditure. However, in some cases, costs are still payable upfront and there may be additional charges for various degrees of services and support. Fixed service contracts can be limiting if businesses do need to add additional services. For the most flexibility pay-per-use or pay-as-you-go models can often be both cost-effective and versatile in that services can easily be added or removed and companies really pay for what is used.

Home Of The Data

The data centre should offer the highest levels of physical security and ideally be located in the same legal jurisdiction as the business to handle any privacy and data sovereignty issues and satisfy any regulatory requirements.

Selecting the most appropriate cloud solution and provider requires a multi-pronged approach to examine all of the options available on today’s market. Ultimately, the best solution will be one that meets the current and future business requirements of a company.

chris_cowdry

Chris Cowdry, solutions architect at Pulsant, is a highly experienced IT professional with over 16 years industry experience. Chris evangelises cloud computing and helps organisations transform their IT infrastructures to realise real business value with the adoption of class leading IT strategies. Prior to Pulsant Chris worked alongside fellow CloudPro author and cloud industry heavyweight Julian Box at VirtualizeIT and then Virtustream who acquired VirtualizeIT in 2009.