Making the move to the cloud

So you’ve heard all about the benefits of the cloud to your business, and the different cloud deployment options ranging from a multi-tenant cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud. You are also cognizant of the top misconceptions of the public cloud, and know how cloud orchestration makes it possible to tap into the capabilities of more than one cloud.

Yet with so many cloud options available, the search for the right cloud partner is often easier said than done. To help you along, below are some pointers to bear in mind when performing the due diligence prior to the big move.

Self-service provisioning


One of the key benefit of a cloud-centric deployment is the ability to self-deploy cloud services and instances. This cuts out redundant layers of intermediaries that adds little or no value, but which can dramatically slow down the process of either on-boarding or scaling up of one’s cloud consumption.

Not every cloud offers the same level of self-service autonomy however, or even lets you spin up services immediately. Before making a commitment, it makes sense to understand the level of control offered by a cloud platform. In addition, some providers may offer full access to their cloud, but impose predefined thresholds to them, or limit what can be rolled out before additional validation is required.

Whatever the case, be sure to find out about them from the get-go so as not to be caught out. There is nothing worse than trying to double your web store presence on the eve of a major holiday, but left unable to do until manual verification could be performed after the holiday.

Access to connectivity


Aside from the usual compute, memory and storage, it may also be worth checking what your cloud provider of choice offers in terms of the network connectivity. While network specifications are typically mentioned, they are often not explicit in terms of latency and sustained bandwidth, or offered only on a “best efforts” basis.

Enterprises hosting important services in the cloud will want some uptime and performance guarantees at the network level so that apps perform as expected, and to ensure that overseas branches or customers around the world are not faced with excessive latency. Another important consideration would be the presence of network security and secure communications to the cloud resource, which are ever so important in today’s highly insecure world.

As such, it may be worth checking that cloud providers offer additional connectivity and network-centric services such as MPLS connectivity and CDN (Content Distribution Network) services. The availability of firewalls, IDS/IPS options are also welcome, as well as VPN (Virtual Private Network) offerings.

Availability of managed services


For all the advantages of self-service provisioning, there are times when some handholding is desirable. The primary consideration on this front would probably be during the initial on-boarding process to ensure that the cloud infrastructure is being deployed in the most efficient manner. In addition, access to expert assistance during the migration process would probably be useful as well.

Ultimately, the evaluation criteria when approaching the cloud should not be based on a one-dimension approach made solely in terms of raw cloud capabilities and cost, but one that also includes factors such as administration, connectivity, and the availability of managed services.


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