As with any IT service provider, all cloud computing providers are not equal. How do you go about selecting a provider with the skills and experience you need?
First, it’s important to understand that ‘cloud computing’ is a broad banner that covers a range of underlying technologies, all of which are essential to building a successful cloud computing environment. These include infrastructure, platforms, security, storage and software.
If you are building your own Private Cloud environment, you will need to undertake a detailed assessment of your requirements across each of these areas.
If you are buying a cloud solution as a service, it’s important to know the underlying solution has the capacity to meet your needs across these areas, although you won’t need the degree of technical information you would need to select, implement and run your own solution.
In fact, the degree of management you want to be responsible for is one of the things to be clear on before you start your cloud computing technology journey. Other things to know are:
- What are the short, mid and long term strategic business objectives you are trying to accomplish with a move to the cloud?
- What platforms and user environments do you want to support?
- What are your performance requirements (time to deploy new environments or applications, speed for users, uptime or whatever other parameters are important to you)? Can these be built in to a contract as service level agreements (SLAs)?
- Do you have any constraints regarding data storage (do legislation or data sovereignty rules mean your data must be stored within Australia, for example)?
- What level of support do you need?
- What are your budget constraints?
Cloud service providers come from a variety of backgrounds: software vendors (VMware, Cisco, EMC etc.), telecommunications providers (bringing their datacentre management experience to the cloud) and consulting organisations. Consider the background of any potential service providers, the industry sectors they work in and how their service offerings match your requirements. Only by choosing a cloud provider who is aligned with your objectives and requirements will you succeed with your long-term cloud strategy.