July 16, 2019

Choosing a New Cloud Provider? Let the Workload Be Your Guide

By Steve Prentice

Improving IT efficiency, delivery, and cost structure

There’s no question that customers are embracing cloud for all types of workloads. Whether the workloads are mission-critical, third-tier applications, or somewhere in between, the cloud has become the destination of choice for customers looking to improve their IT efficiency, delivery, and cost structure.

However, because workloads are all unique – performance, capacity, security, and compliance requirements often differ from application to application – customers must choose a cloud provider based on their application needs. Not all clouds are created equal, and there is no one-size-fits-all provider for all workloads. Here are a few common considerations to keep in mind:

Is the application mission-critical? This means the application is critical to the operation of the business. It is likely the application has very specific performance, availability, and security requirements. The good news? Over the last few years, cloud capabilities have focused on improving in the areas specific to mission-critical applications. For customers vetting a cloud provider for their mission-critical apps, understanding what performance and availability capabilities exist is a good place start.

  • Is there a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
  • What data protection capabilities does the provider offer?
  • What underlying hardware and management software does the provider use?
  • What migration services exist if downtime needs to be limited?

Is there a planning tool or service to ensure the cloud environment meets performance and capacity requirements?

Ultimately, the goal is to move to the cloud for its benefits, including performance and management, without sacrificing any of the capabilities that already exist On-Premises.

Are you looking for disaster recovery or backup? Deploying a new cloud strategy for the purpose of data protection is very common. It enables the customer to protect their business while also seeing firsthand how cloud can improve IT. For customers moving to the cloud for data protection, geographic/global capabilities will be necessary to protect against disaster locality such as regional flooding. Also, depending on the workload in question, performance of the solution in terms of recovery time objective (RTO) to recovery point objective (RPO) will be important. A specific cloud infrastructure, such as cloud built on VMware, may be necessary to create a seamless failover, and failback, experience, and ensure fast recovery.

Do you have specific security and compliance requirements? The increase in sensitive data has changed how companies manage their security and compliance. In moving to the cloud, do you want to manage your own security and compliance, or do you want an expert provider to do it? In many cases, cloud security providers (CSPs) can improve the security and compliance posture for the customer. This is because some specialized CSPs maintain a dedicated security and compliance team ready to assist in important compliance topics like GDPR, HIPAA and PCI. That said, it’s a question that needs to be asked, not assumed.

Are you moving existing applications? This means you want to move your existing applications from on-premises to the cloud. In this case, you want to avoid “replatforming” which can require significant effort to move the application properly. Instead, look for an apples-to-apples cloud environment. In other words, if you have an application virtualized with VMware, find a VMware-based cloud provider. Moving to the cloud will be less effort-intensive and managing the application in the cloud will be much easier. No new tools or skillsets required.

Cloud native application development: If you are developing a new application for your business, you likely need different capabilities than production applications. Performance and availability may be less important – and more cloud services for development becomes much more important in the decision.

Do you need managed services? The application landscape has become more complex in recent years. As a result, some companies have turned to managed Service Providers (some managing on customer premises or in a shared facility) for their hardware management. While in this case the strategy can appear cloud-like, it’s likely the IT is still owned by the customer. Moving to a CSP will improve economies of scale and efficiency through pay-per-use. But to successfully transition the application, the CSP must also have a managed service practice to satisfy the management requirement.

iland’s cloud platform is ideally suited for mission-critical applications, data protection, for VMware-based workloads, and for applications that require a focus on security and compliance. Our global Secure Cloud portfolio was designed with enterprise-grade technology like VMware, HPE, and Cisco – making it ideal for performance-intensive applications. We have also been focused on data protection for more than a decade. In recent months, we have won several awards including Veeam and Zerto Partner of the Year, CRN Magazine 5-Star Rating, and our fourth time (in a row) as “Leader” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for DRaaS.

Companies are moving workloads to the cloud at a rapid pace, but that doesn’t mean that all companies are successful in doing it. Asking the right questions ahead of time, specific to your workloads and application requirements, will ensure that your experience is positive – and your workloads perform as expected.

By Steve Prentice

Steve Prentice

Steve Prentice is a project manager, writer, speaker and expert on productivity in the workplace, specifically the juncture where people and technology intersect. He is a senior writer for CloudTweaks.
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