Most likely, you have already known about all the benefits that cloud technology offers and you may even be ready to move some or all of your infrastructure to the public cloud to get rid of unnecessary expenses. However, when adopting cloud services, you need to be sure that the vendor you’ve entrusted with business-critical applications and data is a reliable partner, providing security and proper support. That is not always easy.
What should you pay attention to at the initial stages, and how to choose the right provider that meets your expectations? In this article, we will guide you through the factors that should drive your choice.
Checklist for evaluating a cloud service provider
When it comes to choosing a cloud service provider, the requirements you have will be unique to your organization, but there are some common areas for focus during comparing vendors.
Hardware models and class. Outdated hardware is a guarantee of regular failures and performance degradation. A reliable service provider regularly upgrades the hardware complex. As for the class, you should rely on a provider with enterprise solutions. Using solutions from budget segment vendors increases the risk of hardware failures and outages.
Redundancy, reservation. If dealing with a reliable, high availability platform, a single failed element should not affect the performance of the entire complex. Every component of a data centers’ system (power supply, cooling, networking equipment, etc.) should be duplicated. This ensures zero downtime, even in the worst scenarios.
Cloud platform. The reliability of a cloud platform is also reflected in the number of data centers on which it operates. There should be at least two of them so that even a failure of the entire building of one of the data centers could not disrupt the work of client services in the cloud. It is also worth paying attention to the certification of data centers. Uptime Institute – the world’s most respected organization for data center certification – divides data centers into several categories. In terms of fault tolerance, data centers are certified from Tier I to Tier IV.
Compliance. Make sure you choose a cloud platform that helps you meet the compliance standards that apply to your industry. Find out if a provider has the appropriate certificates. Whether you are looking at GDPR, PCI DSS, or any other infrastructure, make sure you understand what it will take to achieve compliance once your applications and data are in the public cloud.
Quality of service. No one is secure against hardware malfunctions and system failures. Malfunctions do happen, and it is important to know how the provider handles them and to what extent he guarantees the availability of systems deployed in the cloud. This parameter is fixed in the SLA (service level agreement) and indicates the expected service availability for a year. Ideally, the availability level should be in the range of 99.9 to 99.95 – this confirms the high resilience of the cloud platform to various accidents.
Support. The very availability of technical support does not guarantee a quick response to customers’ requests and quality assistance. Find out more about the technical support of your provider: the schedule of work (for your convenience it should be 24/7), the speed of responses, and the level and types of support. To verify the availability of technical support in practice, contact them using various channels.
Pricing structure. The cloud offers simple billing options, usually a pay-as-you-go model. This means you pay only for what you use. Fees can be charged hourly, monthly, or annually. Be aware that reputable cloud providers do not charge large upfront costs.
By using this checklist you’ll be on your way to finding the right partner that can meet your business and IT requirements. But do not stop at this point. Ask for demo access to test the performance of servers, storage, and networks to see if they are suitable for your needs. Testing will be the best indicator of whether a particular provider is right for you. Remember that not all the features of a cloud platform can be experienced during testing. Some specifics will surely come up during the long-term service usage.