Cloud services are everywhere; Google them, and you’ll receive million search results about cloud services. You will be able to find a number of well-known vendors with each company providing strengths and specialties that are tailored according to your needs.
If you decide to spend time comparing product descriptions, features and prices, it will benefit you in the long term, especially if you want to end up with the right cloud service vendor. You must remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in cloud computing; that’s why we’re writing the following features and considerations as a guide.
If you’ve already decided to test the power of cloud to run your business, it’s high time to sit down for a while and take it one feature at a time with our checklist. Gartner, the leading research firm, said that cloud computing will affect almost all aspects of IT this year. If that is the case, then we must educate ourselves on what to do to understand the repercussions in our businesses.
1. No upfront fees and vendor lock-in
Compelling copywriting and marketing techniques on pricing plans require scrutiny when you are comparing the prices. If you think it’s too good to be true, then you can always do more research and call up vendors to enquire more information about it. Some cloud server vendors offer a pay-as-you-go model; so you’re only paying what you have outsourced and there is no vendor lock-in to give you more options from other cloud services. It also gives you the freedom to cancel anytime if you’re not satisfied.
2. Flexible server features
You can either choose a public, private or hybrid solution when outsourcing servers. Do the servers support different operating systems? Are they capable of hosting mission-critical apps? How much storage and how many storage options, e.g. block data storage, file storage and object storage, do they offer? Find a cloud vendor who can build the infrastructure with ultimate flexible server functionalities to match your business needs.
[Read also: Top 5 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Entrepreneurs]
3. Offers bare metal dedicated servers
Depending on what your business requires, you may need to have both cloud servers and dedicated servers for optimized architecture and the need to submit to compliance and legal requirements. Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution, you are free to mix and match computing resources for robust and efficient data processing with possible storage for optimum performance.
4. Strong SLAs
Spend time to read the long service level agreements on the services offered. With responsible reading and inspection of what the cloud vendor is capable of giving and its ability to compensate unprecedented outages, find out how the vendor is going to function if there’s a downtime.
[Suggested reading: Tips for Safely Using The Cloud]
5. Global CDN to host media
If your business requires rich media hosting, consider the global CDN (content delivery network) of the cloud service provider. Video streaming requires robust computing solutions for fast delivery of the media to end-users or viewers. Does the vendor use an integrated CDN to guarantee fast and efficient delivery of live streams, downloads, and uploads? Find time to compare each one of your candidates.
6. Rock-solid support
Where there is a dedicated support team to assist you, there is growth in your business as a whole. Find a customer-driven cloud service company that is willing to help you through the thick and thin of your business operations, whether it’s a technical issue, troubleshooting or maintenance.
[Image credit: Thomas Bach, Flickr]