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Basic Checklist For Cloud Computing Customers

Basic Checklist For Cloud Computing Customers

Transition to the cloud could be one of the most important decisions you make in your IT infrastructure management. Thus, it is important that you do it the right way. I have collected a list of the basic things you should consider, before signing a contract with your cloud service provider:

1. Pricing
  • What is the initial setup fee?
  • What are the ongoing fees?
  • Are there any usage fees (charged according to bandwidth used or number of users)?
  • Is there a cap on how much the provider can increase the rates by? If the provider increases the rates beyond the cap, does it provide valid grounds for service termination?
  • What is the total cost of your existing IT infrastructure discounted to the present value? Is it higher than the total cost of the cloud infrastructure?

2. Availability

  • What is the uptime guaranteed by the provider?
  • How does the provider calculate the uptime?
  • Is there any compensation for not satisfying the uptime guarantee?
  • What is the cost per minute of your service downtime? For instance, if you run an online store, you could include the lost sales, cost of increased support calls and an estimate of the loss of brand goodwill.

3. Data Storage

  • How sensitive is your data?
  • Where are the data servers located?
  • What encryption methods are used to secure the data?
  • Are there any guarantees to protect your data against leaks?
  • Who can access your data in the data center?
  • Is the provider allowed to use data and/or metadata? For instance, in Gmail your email content can be read by Google’s algorithms for advertising purposes.
  • In what formats is the data stored? Are those formats easily convertible to the data storage format you use in-house?
  • How often are backups scheduled?
  • Do they use any kind of RAID architecture to improve reliability?

4.Performance and scaling

  • What are the specifications of the discs, RAM and processors used in the servers?
  • Do they use SSDs, flash devices or optimization techniques to improve performance?
  • What is the maximum bandwidth offered?
  • Are your data buses and discs shared with other users?
  • How soon can you add computing resources when needed?
  • What are the performance guarantees offered in the SLA?

5.Termination clauses

  • Can you terminate the contract at any time without a significant penalty?
  • Can you terminate the contract without penalty if there is a security breach or other tenuous circumstances?
  • On what grounds can the provider can terminate your contract?
  • How soon will the provider return your data after termination?

6. Support

  • Is emergency support available 24/7?
  • What kind of support channels are available (phone hotline/email/Web-based chat)?
  • How helpful is the customer help desk?
  • Does the provider have an extensive KB (knowledge base) to help your staff handle simple issues?
By Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and tech strategy. He has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Maryland and has been blogging for the past 7 years on technology and business related topics.

5 Responses to Basic Checklist For Cloud Computing Customers

  1. These are really important things that we need to reconsider before purchasing and adding cloud to our system. 

  2. Thanks for this great list to consider when moving to the cloud. I’ve had some interesting experiences when a vendor was chosen before considering all of the variables. This will definitely help me in the future!

  3. Very Informative. This check-list is ideal for startup’s and organizations that are thinking or in process of transitioning to Cloud. However, I feel we can also add ” Cloud Migration” within it ; the capability of a Cloud Provider to transfer your data from the previous or to a new Cloud Provider. In the early days of Cloud there might be many transitions in between different providers/vendors until the consumer find the right service. 

  4.  @cloud computing Great article. Thanks Balaji for finding out the detail checklists. A basic understanding of cloud computing and the potential impact for companies is a good place to start cloud adoption. These checklists should be understood, discussed and analyzed during the development of an IT strategy to meet business objectives, including whether it makes sense for the company.

  5.  @sarojkar Thanks Sarojkar and Cloud Computing. Given the range of services it makes sense to understand what they offer.
     
    regards,
    Balaji

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