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5 tips in choosing a cloud service provider

Wesley Lim, Director, DCIM (Asia), Emerson Network Power | Dec. 10, 2014
When choosing a cloud service provider, it is important for IT managers and business leaders to take the time and do their research, understand the risks, and be fully aware of the capabilities of the provider so they can make an informed decision before embarking on a cloud deployment. Here's how to do so.

Cloud adoption in Asia is growing at a steady rate, as more and more businesses are realizing its potential. Many are now turning to the cloud as a more cost-effective alternative for their businesses, while those not yet ready to set up their own cloud architecture are looking at third-party cloud providers for their services. When choosing a cloud service provider, it is important for IT managers and business leaders to take the time and do their research, understand the risks, and be fully aware of the capabilities of the provider so they can make an informed decision before embarking on a cloud deployment.

In choosing a cloud service provider, here are five things to look for:

1.  Robust IT infrastructure
If your organisation does decide to utilise an external cloud provider to embark on a cloud deployment, bear in mind that control of the infrastructure that is protecting your data largely shifts to your service provider. In turn, the risk of an outage also shifts from your data centre to the provider's. The damages brought by an outage can be devastating, as evidenced by a 2013 Emerson study. It is critical, then, to review a provider's data center availability record and IT infrastructure before choosing its services.

Make sure that the provider has a robust IT infrastructure that can handle new stress points brought by a cloud deployment. A robust IT infrastructure has fault-tolerant systems in place, including power, thermal management, and infrastructure management solutions, to sustain the highest possible levels of availability and service and, while reducing operating costs and management complexity.

2. Seamless Integration of Hardware and Software
Having a robust IT infrastructure is only the first step in determining if a cloud service provider can be trusted with your sensitive data. For an optimal cloud computing environment, providers should be able to bridge the gap between the physical layer of the data centre infrastructure and the virtualised systems. Thus, make sure that the provider adopts an infrastructuree management strategy that effectively aggregates and correlates real-time data across a data centre's once heterogeneous IT and facility equipment. This will also allow organisations to maximise performance, reliability, and efficiency of the cloud. Visibility into both hardware and software is important, and a provider with data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions in place has a critical advantage as this provides real-time information into the infrastructure so you are assured that both your hardware and software is optimized and protected at all times.

3. Security
Security remains a major concern for organisations when it comes to cloud deployment. This was highlighted in 2013 when it was revealed that the NSA was able to access and retrieve private data from cloud servers. In fact, a recent study by NTT Communications revealed that 62 percent of IT decision-makers surveyed cited cyber-surveillance as a reason for not moving to cloud.

 

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