Historically, there has been no set framework for accessing cloud service providers or for browsing a comprehensive list of which cloud offerings are available on the market. For example, organizations seeking infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud providers online will soon realize that no two are the same, and that finding one that suits their exact needs is both challenging and time-consuming.
Some organizations may wish to use multiple cloud providers to serve their various requirements, as some workloads may be suited to different cloud vendors. Some business requirements may even require additional security and additional computing power or a mix between virtual servers, single-tenant physical servers, colocation services, etc. Ultimately, an organization’s cloud requirements must align not only with their current needs but with their future plans for growth and expansion.
Deciding on a cloud service provider is no simple task. Here are some of the steps you can take to find the best cloud service provider for your strategic plan.
Define Your Cloud Strategy
Cloud computing is still confusing to many IT professionals, including CIOs. In fact, Gartner estimated in 2016 that less than ⅓ of enterprises had a documented cloud strategy. Regardless, this isn’t stopping most of the world from moving forward and harnessing the many advantages of the cloud
Donna Scott, vice president at Gartner, said, “Cloud computing will become the dominant design style for new applications and for refactoring a large number of existing applications over the next 10-plus years... having a cloud strategy will enable you to apply its tenets quickly with fewer delays, thus speeding the arrival of your ultimate business outcomes.”
As part of a documented plan for digital transformation across your entire organization, your cloud strategy should support your organization’s growth plan over the next 3, 5, and even 10 years. That means creating a vision, identifying the value of your next stage of cloud adoption, documenting a comprehensive road map for your cloud strategy, and working with cloud vendors to deploy your strategy.
Adopting a new cloud strategy may require buy-in from multiple levels of your organization. Ultimately, cloud technology will have to be incorporated into at least part of your organization’s strategic growth plan if you wish to compete or at least keep up with others in your field.
Shopping for Cloud Service Providers
Once you have a clear and documented strategy for your cloud transformation, you can begin the process of buying cloud computing services. In the past, this was a lengthy process that involved tiresome conversations with multiple salespeople and only a brief snapshot of all the services that the global cloud marketplace has to offer. But today, you can shop for the cloud services that suit your exact needs all in one place.
Before shopping for cloud services, you should already know your budget, exactly how much computing power you’ll need, and what type of service you require. You may need to rent space on a virtual server, to have a data center host a physical server your organization owns, or to deploy some other type of arrangement.
Scaling for the Future
Of course, nothing is more important than determining how your cloud strategy will help your organization prepare for the future. In general, cloud services enable your business to upscale easily. Instead of purchasing more hardware, you can simply acquire more server space or computing power for a fee. When searching for providers, project how well each service matches with your 3, 5, and 10-year plans before engaging in any cloud spending.