Picking an IaaS provider? Three issues to consider

Deloitte on Cloud Blog

Picking a public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider is often more important than picking a data center and its housed equipment. Why? When you deal with a single vendor as a public cloud provider, you need to make sure they meet your requirements.

July 3, 2018

A blog post by David Linthicum, managing director, chief cloud strategy officer, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Data centers leveraged all sorts of brands and types of hardware and software systems, which hedged your bets. With a public cloud provider, you put all of your eggs into a single basket.

The wrong decision could cost your company millions of dollars, and, perhaps worse, delay the leveraging of some very strategically important technology. Don’t worry, help is at hand. Here are three core issues to consider when picking an IaaS public cloud provider:

1. The IaaS provider has good primitives

Primitives, in the world of cloud computing, are foundational technologies such as storage, compute, and networking. If those aspects of a pubic cloud work well, other services that exist on top of those services should also work well. Or, at least, be as good as the underlying infrastructure/primitive services.

In 2018, platform services like machine learning and serverless computing are often looked at more than the primitives. Chasing shiny objects seems more compelling than understanding how to test for the basics.

You can’t ignore the basics. Most of what you leverage from a pubic IaaS cloud provider will be the primitive services. Keep in mind that these services are largely leveraged as platform analogs for migrated application workloads. While the higher-level services are interesting, it’s really a matter of what’s important to the enterprise, not what’s cool.

2. The IaaS provider has good native security

You would never know it from the hype around public clouds, but all security systems are not the same. Some providers’ native security systems have only been a part of their public cloud services for a short time. Some don’t provide all the security capabilities one would need from a public cloud provider, such as encryption and identity access management.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You need to provide the best path to the security you need, which depends on your industry, type of data, performance, and many other requirements. Again, this is not about picking the IaaS provider that’s the leader in the industry, but the provider that best meets your requirements.

3. The IaaS provider has good CloudOps services

Like it or not, cloud operations (CloudOps), is really where clouds work…or not. It’s about the long-term reliability, performance, and meeting the expectations of the business. Moreover, it’s about the ability to fix problems as they occur and hopefully do so in automated ways.

Like security, IaaS cloud providers offer very different CloudOps tools and technology. You need effective basic tools to monitor and manage most primitives, such as storage and compute, as well as the network, the applications, the databases, and other systems in your IaaS cloud that are important to the business.

Keep the above in mind, as well as other issues you should consider, and you’re likely to pick the right cloud provider for your enterprises. This is more about understanding what you need than understanding which public IaaS clouds will meet those needs. A bit of self-analysis is a good thing.

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