Public cloud criteria for a strong IT infrastructure
Public cloud services have become integral to enterprise success, offering flexibility, security and cost-effectiveness for businesses of all types and sizes. However, not all public clouds are created equal, and decision-makers need to be discerning when they pick a provider. Here are five criteria to follow during the search for an ideal public cloud service.
1. A consultative approach: Entering a public cloud should be simple, but this doesn’t mean a company should leap into a contract without undergoing a complete consultation with a team of expert engineers. The initial conversation with a service provider should include details such as the scope of the deployment (processing power, memory, availability, bandwidth, security and storage) and the types of applications in question.
Factors such as a service-level agreement should also be discussed upfront to set clear expectations for performance, pricing and management and support. The best service providers will lead the client through this process with total transparency and explain why they are taking a certain course of action. This approach is necessary to minimize risk and create a public cloud that will truly benefit the business in the long run.
“A vendor should be conscious of compliance terms.”
2. Quality enterprise hardware: A public cloud should be built to handle resource-heavy applications with high I/O specifications, such as large databases that experience a high volume of writes and rewrites. Only top-tier enterprise hardware such as HP servers, Cisco networking components, Nimble storage and VMware for virtualization are capable of handling these intense workloads and a public cloud service should have these systems in place to ensure performance and reliability.
A service provider should be fully transparent about the hardware that makes up its public cloud, as well as the types of applications that will be running in this multi-tenant environment. Top cloud providers will be picky about the businesses they host in their cloud, and only allow reputable, safe applications to be stored in their cloud.
3. Compliance and security: Every business has its own regulatory standards that must be met, whether they deal with health, financial or personal information. Entering a public cloud environment with this data requires that the vendor is highly conscious of these compliance terms, and will manage the information accordingly to avoid any violations of the terms.
From SOC1 and SOC2 to PCI to HIPAA and everything in between, a provider should ensure that its public cloud can help facilitate with its clients’ necessary regulations.
4. Redundancy and backup: There’s no telling when a company may make a mistake that wipes out a significant portion of its data, or simply wishes to revert to system settings that were in place weeks ago. This is simply a part of business, and a public cloud service should offer full backup systems to protect the organization in this regard.
Ideally, a public cloud will have a wide range of backup options which a client can choose, reflecting its unique business needs and maximizing the efficiency of the available hardware.
5. Compatibility for hybrid: While 30 percent of organizations only use public cloud services, according to RightScale research, 58 percent use some combination of public and private clouds, making hybrid the most popular type of deployment today. Hybrid is a great tactic for any business that experiences seasonal changes in data usage or customer traffic, or experiments with new types of applications on a frequent basis.
An ideal public cloud service will be readily compatible with a private environment to create a fully functional hybrid setup. Business leaders should be confident in their provider’s ability to quickly and fluidly launch additional cloud resources in both public and private cloud models.
With these criteria in mind, a business can enjoy a public cloud that is a cut above its competition.