Top 3 Mistakes When Selecting Cloud Service Providers


Cloud computing offers the ability to rent capacity and share applications on a third party’s server farm. IT departments worldwide are actively looking at how they can embrace this new model for delivering computer solutions to their users.

This article is part of a series of focused articles that will help you successfully embrace this new delivery model. In this article, we are going to focus on the three common mistakes that IT professional make when selecting a third party cloud service provider.

Failure to quantify the expected advantages

When people talk about the cloud, they will give you a list of reasons and benefits of moving to the cloud. Experience tells us that there are two dominant reasons why companies adopt cloud technologies. It either saves them money or time.

The cloud offers a substantial financial advantage if you have situations where you need additional capacity for short periods. For example, if you are a retailer and have high system loading during holiday periods, or if you are a service provider that runs extensive billing computations on a month cadence. In these situations it is cheaper to rent than to buy.

The second key advantage of using a third party cloud provider is quick access to massive amounts of computer resources. For example, if your business is project based, you could get set up and ready to go within minutes of a contract being signed, instead of weeks if you had to order and install new equipment.

You need to make sure that you clearly articulate in quantifiable terms the expected benefit of moving to cloud computing. Remember, projects that get measured are projects that get done.

Failure to apply Pareto’s rule of efficiency

Pareto’s 80/20 rule tells us that 80% of the advantages of moving to the cloud can be achieved by focusing on moving 20% of your systems to the cloud. The challenge then becomes how to select which systems you should move.

First look at your operational performance data. Start with data storage. For most companies data storage requirements are increasing at an amazing rate, as companies want to keep years of web statistics, as well as performance and operational data. Offloading data storage is technically simply to implement. However, if you choose the right cloud provider, you can improve your businesses ability to run complex analytics on this data. This could yield significant competitive advantages for your company.

Second look at application development. You may be tempted to first look at new application developments. However the largest savings are often in moving your older systems, as these typically incur the highest maintenance costs. Moving to an online cloud application eliminates the need to maintain multiple versions of the same applications, supporting multiple releases a year, and can provide new features and capability to the users. You will be surprised how many online cloud application solutions are out there.

Failure to plan for multiple cloud service providers

Common sense mandates that you start with one cloud provider. This enables you to understand and put processes in place that work well for managing that cloud provider. The problem occurs when you then begin to work with a second and third cloud provider. You soon find out that there are no cloud standards, and that the process that works with one cloud provider may not work with another.

It is important to recognize from the beginning that you will eventually end up with multiple cloud service providers. Your will need to put in place an overall methodology that will enable you to interface and manage your resources on different clouds. Do not despair; you can use a similar approach to how you would have worked with multiple platform and application providers years ago.

Avoiding the major pitfalls

Transitioning to the cloud is complicated and requires careful planning. Hopefully this article helps you avoid the major pitfalls.

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