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How to Choose a Cloud Provider

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How to Choose a Cloud Provider

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As a company, you need to know how to choose a cloud provider because the cloud, just like every other computing platform, need to be managed efficiently. Once you have made the decision to move to a cloud, the next critical decision is choosing the right cloud service provider. Researching the viability and reliability of a cloud provider is a complex yet critical component of cloud management. You have to investigate properly when evaluating your potential providers. In this evaluation, you will be looking at their experience and reputation in the market, as well as the type and strength of partnerships they have established.

How to Choose a Cloud Provider

Security

Perhaps the most important issue to consider is security. Cloud and security go hand in hand. If you are moving sensitive financial, business, or medical information online, you must pay very close attention to matters of security. Therefore, you must know where your data will be kept/ stored, how it will be backed up. You also need to ascertain whether your cloud vendor provides the much-needed logical and physical security. Reputation closely follows security. Since you are going to provide them with your most valuable information, you have to trust the vendor. Take your time to examine your vendor’s contingency plans, failover options, and physical security before signing a contract with them.

Experience

No one wants to fly in poor conditions with a rookie pilot. This applies to cloud service too. You will be much comfortable finding a service provider you can trust, even if it means shopping for one with an established reputation and track record, and with in-depth knowledge on how to properly transition your business and applications to the cloud. Being one of the most important decisions to make, you need to find a competent and reliable partner you can trust.

Scalability

You may be growing fast and therefore moving to the cloud to accommodate that growth. In that case, you obviously don’t want your new service provider to inhibit that growth. It is vital to select a provider with the capacity to scale with you, your application, and business. This means process, people, tools, infrastructure, and capital resources. This cloud partner is there to support and help you grow, not vice versa.

Flexible Deployment and Connectivity

The IT industry is one of the most dynamic industries in the world. Flexibility is a critical aspect of cloud. Unfortunately, some cloud providers won’t let you use the existing applications that you have, but would insist that you rebuild these applications to fit their system. This is just ridiculous! After all, one of the primary reasons to migrate to the cloud is for added flexibility. The last thing you want is to be stuck with limited or restricted options just because your SaaS provider is unable to handle your needs. Your provider should be providing VPN, MPLS, private and public cloud options with both public internet, and private line connections.

Latency and Performance

Too much network latency may result in slow performance. One of the best ways to counter this is to hire a service provider who uses Layer 2 networks with less than 1ms server latency. By doing so, you will be helping your applications to perform reliably in the cloud, as well as in the data center whilst providing client-side transparent server location.

Beneficial Service-Level Agreement

Time is critical in virtually all industries. Your service needs to be measured from the first day as their client and not a day assigned by the service provider. Aim for 100% uptime with less than 1ms latency. Voice your concerns and let them know exactly what you expect from them as a client. While a service-level agreement is important, it is equally important to ensure that you don’t have to fall back on it.

Flexible Purchase Options

Since consumer needs vary from one customer to another, your provider should provide flexibility in pricing. Some companies are dealing with some level of uncertainty and just looking for short-term service. Such companies could benefit most from pay-as-you-go arrangement or usage plan. On the other hand, stable businesses focused on the future and with costs that are more predictable could benefit from a longer-term usage plan. They could enjoy economies of scale, leading to lower rates and guaranteed capacity.

Customer Support

Customer support is necessary not only with cloud platform providers but also with any other business that is focused on attracting and retaining customers. However, the value of this service can vary greatly, from casual and slow to attentive and engaging. In a world full of competent vendors with superior customer service, why settle for superficial and unresponsive customer service? If they can’t handle your concerns with professionalism, then . Your service agreement should come with basic coverage, including web and phone support alongside case management tracking. If anything, technical issues can be so serious that they can ground your business much faster than anything else.

Best-of-Breed Technologies

In as much as cheap may be tempting, you don’t want to go down that road. This is because you are entrusting your provider with your most valuable and vital information. You cannot compromise security, reliability, and flexibility simply because you will pay less. Remember that “cheap is expensive.” Before selecting your provider, ensure that they invest in high-end hardware, as well as software infrastructure. One key identifier is the use of best-of-breed products/ services. In addition, if your provider uses established, well-known, and trusted brands, such as VMware, Cisco, and EMC, then you are on the right track.

Conclusion

Everyone wants a smooth, turbulence-free flight. There is nothing more worse than a bumpy, panic-stricken journey. Similarly, moving the business you have worked so hard to build from on-premise to the cloud does not have to be a nightmare. With a reliable provider, you will enjoy efficiency, flexibility, and reliability you need to get your business on its wings and to the next level. Following the tips on how to choose a cloud provider can make your business migrate to the cloud with minimal interruptions, delays, cost, and risk.

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Published at DZone with permission of Omri Erel, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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