Choosing any cloud service requires understanding what you want and need from the cloud and whether the cloud provider can satisfy those wants and needs. Unlike Platform as a Service (PaaS), which can require complex decisions about your entire development technology, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) seems to offer relatively straightforward choices regarding virtual machines and storage capacity. Nevertheless, selecting the right IaaS vendor is an important strategic consideration that requires assessing the vendor's capabilities in several areas.
IaaS Vendor Selection Criteria
The exact criteria you'll evaluate and the relative weights you'll assign them depend on the specifics of your business, but in general, selecting the right IaaS vendor requires looking at these aspects of their business:
- Reliability. The cloud promises high availability, and reduced downtime is one of the main reasons many companies decide to migrate to cloud. But even the biggest cloud vendors have had outages that impacted their customers. You'll want to consider the vendor's track record and their service level agreements to understand the uptime you can expect. A vendor that offers multiple regions may be able to mitigate the impact of local issues.
- Location. Cloud is reachable from anywhere, but your cloud vendor's location matters. The location of cloud instances will impact both network latency and your ability to comply with data residency and data privacy laws.
- Price. There are no standards for pricing. Comparing vendors requires matching instances with similar capacity and considering offers such as special pricing when you pay in advance for reserved instances.
- Performance. A low-cost solution is no bargain if it can't handle your workloads. Understand the hardware used in available instance configurations to make sure it will support your application needs.
- Security. Security in the cloud is a partnership between you and the vendor. If the vendor offers environments compliant with the regulations that apply to your industry, it will be far easier to achieve the appropriate level of protection for your systems.
- Interoperability. Your cloud environment will probably not stand alone; most companies have either formal cloud or more informal hybrid IT environments. Make managing your hybrid environment easier by working with an IaaS provider whose tools will integrate into your environment and who makes it easy to share data between their cloud and external systems.
- Usability. If the goal of IaaS is to simplify management of your resources, that will be easier if the provider offers a dashboard that helps your admins monitor and manage your instances, along with tools that automate common functions.
Once you've evaluated several candidate cloud providers and narrowed down the field, take advantage of free trials to experience their services first-hand. After you finally make your decision, move slow. Plan your cloud migration carefully, and don't try to migrate all applications at once. Take time to assess whether IaaS is providing the benefits you need before continuing with the transition.
dcVAST provides complete support for your journey to cloud, including professional services, managed Amazon Web Services, and IaaS. Contact us to learn more about choosing an IaaS solution and making the move to cloud.