Switching to a public cloud computing system can be a great decision for many organizations. The concept is simple enough. Basically, you are leveraging compute, storage, and networking resources from a 3rd party company as needed. For particular applications and use cases this can be much more convenient, efficient and cost effective than traditional IT solutions. There are now so many different offerings available that choosing the right service provider or hosting company for you can be difficult.
Different Cloud Solutions
Not all cloud service providers are created equal. While they all share a great number of similarities, each solution offers its own suite of unique features and benefits. This is leading more and more companies to a multi-cloud strategy, where you use two or more cloud services at the same time. This allows organizations to leverage the expertise or different providers for different applications and use cases. Not all clouds are the same and some are much better at particular services than others. Using a multi-cloud strategy can improve the overall performance of your business. You can avoid vendor lock-in and use different infrastructures to better serve the needs of your partners, as well as your customers.
What to Consider When Looking at Clouds
Before choosing a cloud solution, it’s important to first consider the following factors:
Look at the pricing plans carefully before you buy. Although price is not the most important factor, you want to make sure you get the best value for your money. The cheapest upfront price is not always the best deal. Low initial costs are often hiding the real costs associated with running a production workload. Some providers will tax you for just about everything. A scalable plan allows you to easily scale up or down , at the right price, to keep up with the changing needs of your business.
Performance is a big concern. You want your cloud computing system to deliver apps quickly and give you a complete view of the application path, from request to response. Some clouds are specialized to deliver a particular service or application, where others are superior in providing raw infrastructure. Make sure you understand the underlying architecture, networking capabilities, and how the data is handled. Pick the cloud or clouds that align with your business strategy.
Reliability is just as important as performance. You want a cloud vendor capable of consistently handling a robust data exchange and bandwidth with the least amount of downtime, especially if you run a high traffic website. Do your research. A “cloud” is simply someone else’s data center and is just as vulnerable to hardware failure as your on-premise data center. Make sure they have resilience, uptime, and SLA’s that meet the demands of your business.
Choose an established provider that is an expert in the industry and is compatible with the type of software your company wants to use. Your cloud service provider should anticipate what most businesses need and then be proactive in servicing those needs.
Security and Compliance
Security and compliance are two of the biggest barriers preventing many companies from switching to cloud computing. Although hackers and internal breaches are a concern for many, the security of their data is often not as big a problem as the ability to achieve PCI compliance, HIPAA compliance and other security-related standards. As such, reputable cloud providers will prove the effectiveness of their security and compliance practices with white papers, SAS-70 Type II audits and other means.
Cloud computing has been extremely helpful in improving how businesses are run worldwide. One of the biggest advantages is allowing a business to scale its infrastructures as needed. You get more flexibility and increased operational efficiency so that you can react quickly to any issue that may arise.
Author: Perry Peterson, Director of Practice Management