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

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