IT Innovators: Need Help Selecting a Cloud Partner?

IT Innovators: Need Help Selecting a Cloud Partner?

Let’s assume you’ve done your homework and determined that the cloud—public, private, hybrid, or multi cloud—is the way to go. Both the business part of your organization and your IT decision-makers are in agreement. The next step naturally, is to select a cloud partner. But how exactly do you go about doing that?

If you’ve spent any time at all on the Internet, kept up with cloud-related news or talked to your peers, you already know that there are a large number of cloud partners/vendors to choose from. They all have their own specialized areas of focus and their solutions each have a wide range of capabilities that target different sectors, such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each vendor also has different pricing models to choose from. And, while all of these choices are great in terms of enabling you to get exactly the solution you want, with the capabilities you need and at a price you can afford, they also make your decision of which cloud vendor to select very difficult.

Let’s be clear here. Picking the right partner is an important decision. You’ll realize just how important if you ever have the unfortunate experience of finding out the one you selected is not as helpful or timely in their response as you imagined when a problem occurs—especially one that threatens your organization’s reputation and business success.

To help you with this decision, I’ve compiled a checklist of some key things you might want to consider before diving in:

  1. Cost. This consideration is fairly self-explanatory. You know what your budget is and you have to stick with it. However, do make sure you are getting the best value for the money you spend and that there is no hidden cost.
  2. Ability to scale applications and resources. Your organization’s needs today may not be the same tomorrow. If it grows, you’ll want to be able to scale quickly. Likewise, if business recedes you don’t want to be stuck paying for something you aren’t fully using.
  3. Are managed services provided? While you may prefer to use a cloud management tool to manage your cloud solution yourself, it’s nice to have the flexibility of switching to managed cloud services if your needs change or the job just becomes too much for you to handle.
  4. Does the solution support your business initiatives? Your business objections and initiatives are not the same as those of other organizations. Make sure the cloud vendor you select is best suited to help you achieve your specific goals. More importantly, make sure they can tell you specifically how they plan to support you, instead of just touting the technical advantages of their offering. It they can’t give you specifics, look elsewhere.
  5. Does the vendor have data centers where you need them? If the answer is no, then the vendor likely isn’t going to be able to help you meet your business objectives and initiatives. Look elsewhere.
  6. Is there flexibility in the vendor’s service level agreements (SLAs)? Read your cloud vendor’s SLA closely. Make sure it is flexible enough to account for change, both expected and unexpected.
  7. Can it support a wide range of diverse applications? As your needs change, so too will the applications you use. Making sure the vendor you select supports diverse applications may just save you from a big headache down the road.
  8. Does the vendor enable you to buy and/or lease data center space? Again, your needs may change, so picking a vendor that offers you options is the best way to future-proof your decision.

Another important thing you will want to do before making any final decision is to check references. Don’t just trust that everything a cloud vendor tells you is true. And, don’t just ask for the references and then not follow through on checking them. The only way to really be sure about a vendor is to ask people who are using them about their experiences.

Hopefully you will find this list of considerations helpful. If you’ve already selected a cloud vendor; however, and have any other items you’d like to add that may be helpful to your peers, drop me a line at [email protected]. In the meantime, don’t forget to check back here each week for more information on the hybrid cloud and other important IT-related topics.

This blog is sponsored by Microsoft.

Cheryl J. Ajluni is a freelance writer and editor based in California. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Wireless Systems Design and served as the EDA/Advanced Technology editor for Electronic Design for over 10 years. She is also a published book author and patented engineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online publications. Contact her at [email protected] with your comments or story ideas.

This blog is sponsored by Microsoft.

Cheryl J. Ajluni is a freelance writer and editor based in California. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Wireless Systems Design and served as the EDA/Advanced Technology editor for Electronic Design for over 10 years. She is also a published book author and patented engineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online publications. Contact her at [email protected] with your comments or story ideas.

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