We have a lot of conversations around cloud, what the solutions are, and which ones have an advantage over others. When our customers want to evaluate a solution – most want to discuss three main criteria: data locality, security, and price.
When it comes to data locality and security, evaluating a solution is fairly simple:
1.Data Locality: Do you have control over where your data is, or not?
2.Security: Typical industry standard policies are SSAE16 and PCI DSS, does the cloud solution adhere to these policies? That means that not only does the facility adhere to these policies to keep your data protected, but also that the people working on the systems that run your workloads do as well.
When it comes to price, the conversation gets a little more complicated. Many of our customers not only want to compare cloud solutions, but also cloud against traditional deployments. This is a challenge because even though cloud has become commoditized, it is not as easy to put two solutions next to each other and compare them like shampoo or toothpaste.
3.Price: There are three lenses in which we talk about price:
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): what are the other costs associated with the solution? Cloud vs cloud – think about costs for on-boarding and self-management etc. Cloud vs traditional – think about costs for deployment, maintenance, power, cooling, integration etc.
- Workload requirements: this is more like choosing a restaurant. There are cheap places, and expensive places. Places that have standardized meals, and those that allow for customization to your dietary needs. These considerations are important, you get what you pay for and so you need to understand the workload, the expectations of the business and then evaluate the solution against these requirements.
- Budgeting: For many customers, cloud solutions means moving from a CAPEX to an OPEX model which can be appealing, but it is important to understand the payment terms and make sure that they suit your needs.
We help our customers evaluate and deploy a variety of solutions across cloud providers and traditional models, so we know that there are many criteria that are worth considering when evaluating a solution, but I will only cover a few more of the criteria that aren’t typically top of mind but we feel are critical before making a decision.
4.Contracts and Compliance: Is the cloud service provider rigid, or flexible with their contracts and terms? We can’t always predict when business requirement are going to radically change. If one of the beautiful things about the cloud is only paying for what you need, what happens if you don’t need it at all anymore? Is there a minimum threshold for usage levels or duration? Do they have the level of compliance you need, and are they willing to share the details around the compliance?
5.Mechanics: How do you get your data in at the beginning and out if you should you choose to cease using the solution? It is important to check the fine print and ensure that you retain ownership and access to your data as well as what happens if the cloud solution provider defaults or is acquired.
6.Restrictions: What aren’t you able to do? Are there limits in terms of scale or consumption increase? What about the service and the service offerings – are they broad, or limiting? Some service providers will give a few options (based on size, service level etc), for example they may offer bronze, silver and gold packages. If you need just a little more than what is offered in the silver package do you have to pay for gold or is there flexibility to “right size” the solution for your needs?
These are just the preliminary steps to evaluating a solution. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, or get married without dating first. So with all solutions, before investing understand how it works with your environment and performs against your requirements, (and more importantly, the solution might look good on paper) but run a test, pilot, or POC to see how it works in reality and determine if it works for you.
Ask us for a test drive of our OnDemand Cloud solution at firstname.lastname@example.org.