The Public Cloud As a Strategic Business Decision

When we hear the term “Cloud Computing” we make an immediate association with the concept of public cloud-based IaaS. Of course it is still a market that is not mature and could not be, because it is still very young, but this maturation process is accelerating fast. Consolidation goes up more when companies like ESDS also launched its cloud, which is called eNlight.

Let’s remember that a cloud is basically the combination of virtualization + standardization + automation, which allows portals to offer self-service access to users. IaaS model provides virtual servers and their operating systems. From there the responsibility of content, such as middleware and applications continues with the company that hires the cloud. It is the responsibility of the provider. Therefore, IaaS is a service that is quite different from PaaS and SaaS. They cannot and should not be considered as similar services. Ie, a cloud is not equal to another cloud …

Use of public cloud gradually become common, but still found some fears and even misinformation circulating in the market. Many people think that a public cloud is to be used only for middle peripheral things like web sites and applications that are not critical to businesses. But now we see many businesses based entirely on public clouds. And there are businesses that depend on IT to function. Demonstrate in practice that a public cloud is reliable. Small to midsize naturally tend to put their data centers into public clouds, not only for cost reasons, but for their own business need. Why spend scarce resources such as time and money maintaining servers indoors if there is another better option?

In fact, a public cloud can provide a level of security and availability that is much greater than that is offered in many of today’s data centers for small and medium businesses.

What begins to change? Adopting a public cloud IaaS is no longer a technical discussion to be a strategic decision for businesses. But to climb the ranks of decisions, the choice of cloud provider becomes something more complex. Moreover, the company’s IT governance remains with the company. Not completely outsourced!

IaaS model tends to gradually become commoditized, because the offerings, with the maturing of the market, tend to become quite similar in terms of security, availability, performance and support. A simplistic analogy is with the PC market, where we see virtually no significant differences between the various PCs AVAILABLE market.

But today, with the market still maturing, there are offers from several providers that are different and therefore the choice of cloud provider cannot be made lightly.

What to check when reviewing providers? First, if you are putting your business in the cloud, it is important that the provider has one or more data centers that are suitable to your requirements security, availability, performance and support. At first glance all offer, but when looking more deeply, we see that the location of a data center provider may not be the most appropriate in terms of ensuring safety and access at critical moments. Also the question of the support. Requires a good support crew which is trained and efficient. It costs money to maintain. Furthermore, the cloud has to have technology tools that ensure the excellence in the automation of the operation. And, of course, to support the growth of its customer base, without affecting the existing ones need to be able to scalability. Again come into play the expertise and capital requirements.

Well, let’s list some requirements that must be considered when analyzing potential providers of public clouds:

Availability and SLA (Service Level Agreement): What level of availability offered? When we analyze it in more detail, the application portfolio of a company, it is observed that most of them are not strategic or critical, with a profile of data that is not sensitive in terms of security. We also observed that most of these applications can operate in an environment of less than 95% availability. However, these applications can be moved to the public cloud without major scares. But what if the applications need 99.9% uptime? The provider offers this level of availability?

Statement of Prices: The cost of computing time tends to be much cheaper, but look carefully at the costs of storage and communications. See also the level of flexibility of pricing policy. Per hour? Per day? Monthly contracts? Check the additional capacity that you initially requested.

In a IaaS public cloud, you are still responsible for the governance of their IT, but look what the provider can offer in terms of additional services such as backup, performance monitoring tools, capacity planning, etc.. Are these tools available for you to analyze the performance of your virtual servers?

What are the security features implemented by the provider? For example, do they have defense against attacks like DoS (Denial of Service)? Is the provider compliant with certifications such as PCI, SAS 70, SSAE 16, ISO 27001 and FISMA, just to name the most common?

Is the data center located within India? If not, which laws will it be subject to? In case of any audit and forensic investigation, do you have access to your data?

What is the background of the provider in dealing with corporate clients? The market-oriented end-user and corporate are having quite different demands in support and preparation of the technical team. A provider who does not have strong roots in serving the corporate market may find it very difficult to meet the specific demands of its customers.

Support: How is the support? 24 x7? Via email, phone or chat? What is the pricing for different levels of support?

Billing: Is the invoice easy to understand and not comprehensive enough to generate questions?

Contract: What are the contractual guarantees? How is the termination? Are there facilities for you to migrate to another provider? What and how much they cost? Is there any guarantee that the data is erased after closing the contract? Also note that in most companies the audit requires a contract, unlike a cloud for personal use where with a simple credit card you open an account and get virtual servers.

Is the provider is financially stable? Is able to afford to invest and monitor the market and cloud technology? Is able to expand its capacity?

What is the strategy of the cloud provider? How important is it for business?

There is an ecosystem around provider, offering applications, education and advice that can help you make better use of cloud computing?

As we see there are several requirements that must be analyzed. Talk to sales representatives of the provider, visit the data center, connect to other clients and see the degree of satisfaction. And do not forget that IT governance is still with you. So, review the software licenses you have and validate them with respect to its use in the cloud. Keep a team that interacts with your ISP to troubleshoot and maintain SLA that suits your needs. And focus on your business, leaving the task of managing servers and their operating systems.

Welcome to the clouds!


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