Look Before You Leap: Cloud Vendor Reliability
From the look of things, most individuals and businesses will have found solace in cloud computing, either due to personal pressure or public demand. In spite of the concerted efforts to outline the challenges and shortcomings of cloud computing, everyone knows that cloud computing is the ‘big bad wolf’ that’s going to swallow us all at one point. As a result, before you get in with both feet, it is advisable to appreciate the characteristics which indicate whether your vendor can deliver. Changes in technology are bound to affect the ability of numerous vendors in the future, but the relativity of changes is of utmost important: if your vendor is not reliable as yet, they may never be!
So, what should you look for in a cloud computing vendor? And what indicators are there to affirm their reliability?
Newcomers vs old dogs
Stability in the internet services industry is a product of creativity and length of service. The dynamic nature of the industry makes it risky to base efforts on newcomers in the market, especially considering such organizations have not yet acquired a foot hold in the market. Old dogs in the market have specific and established operational standards, making them less responsive to change.
As a result, it is important to consider that cloud computing vendors in the market are comprised of individuals who have been in the market for ages, and some who are novel to the market. In addition to other factors, it is imperative to consider the length of operations when selecting a service vendor.
The switch over to cloud computing thrusts your organization from dedicated to shared resources. Since most of the resources are related to networking and storage, it is necessary to establish whether the availability of the resources. Regardless of whether you are operating on a public or private cloud, it is important to realize that there are other clients utilizing the same service.
For this reason, some vendors are keen on identifying the availability of the resources. For example, your vendor could indicate that network and server services have 99 % availability. This is normally calibrated in the service level agreement. Some people rarely read the service level agreement, and end up assuming total availability of services. Just like other forms of ‘Terms of Agreement’, the assumption lies in that the contents never change. However it is up to you to understand the terms before you sign, and avoid the perils of ignorance.
In the next part, I will be looking at other factors to consider before selecting your cloud services provider, considering that this is a strategic imperative for the success of your company, or even your social life.
By Rick Watson