Tips For Buying Cloud Infrastructure

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1 27 Tips For Buying Cloud Infrastructure A Comprehensive list of questions to ask yourself when reviewing potential cloud providers By Christopher

2 Table of Contents Intro: Evaluating a Crowded Market Section 1: Look Within - Section 2: Cloud Provider Must-Asks Final Thoughts Free 30 Minute Cloud Assessment

3 Where to Begin? Intro: Evaluating a Crowded Market Public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is a complex market. It s also a market that s evolving rapidly with new entrants and offerings continually emerging. The fast pace of cloud innovation brings businesses a solution for more flexible, agile and better performing IT. However, navigating the crowded market to find the best provider for your organization can be a daunting task. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to cloud IaaS. And, the right decision is critical not only to IT security and performance, but to the overall competitiveness, growth, and bottom-line success of your organization. Within this ebook, we ve given you a head start to evaluating the crowded cloud market to support you moving forward in your path toward cloud adoption. Read on for expert tips, summarized with resources that make cloud IaaS selection a more digestible, tackle-able task for CIOs and IT managers. 22. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Privacy

4 Section 1: Look Within Your

5 Start your internal assessment: Looking Within... What are your business goals and expectations for the cloud? Where does your organization currently stand in terms of business processes and its IT environment, where do you want to go? And, how does this affect your cloud computing evaluation process? It s easy (yet overwhelming) to start Googling cloud computing in your search for the perfect option. However, Googling cloud computing makes you one of more than 1.5 million global searches per month. Are you willing to trust your business and IT processes to the bestranking results? The best reason to adopt a cloud infrastructure is because it makes sense for your organization. To make sure that business goals and processes drive cloud computing decisions, the first step in cloud evaluation is internal assessment both for IT and company executives. Then, go to search engines with a detailed, more specified query for more relevant results Quick Questions To Ask Yourself: What are your business goals and expectations for the cloud? What are your current business processes you want to move to the cloud? What is the best reason to move to the cloud? What s Next? Tips Questions 2. Questions to Ask 3. Free 30 Cloud Assessment

6 Tip - What are your organization s short- and long-term business goals? This is a conversation that should involve the C-suite, and identify the potential business impact that the cloud can have. - What are your expectations for the cloud s role in achieving these short and long-term business goals? Are all parties on the same page? How will business processes and procedures improve with cloud adoption? Tip - What current business processes include IT? (Or perhaps more simply, which don t?) How is IT involved? How can or should it be? - How would cloud computing affect these processes? Would it improve them? - What does your current ecosystem look like in terms of storage, capacity, hardware, software, usage, and more? Document your current state of IT to start conversations about how to integrate and manage a cloud-based system. Tip - With a clear idea of business and technology goals, along with your current environment assessment, you will be able to better see how the cloud can fit into and improve your processes. - Document expectations and benchmark KPIs to ensure you know what you want to achieve, gauge potential providers against goals, and measure success after implementation. 21. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Performance

7 Section 2 Cloud Provider Must-Asks

8 Cloud Provider Must-Asks What are the need-to-knows in evaluating different cloud options? It starts with knowing what you need, clearly identifying options, then being able to compare applesto-apples on some of your most important criteria. With a handle on your internal business and IT assets, and an idea of how the cloud can best fit into your organization for optimal impact, start to assess your top cloud providers. The following is a list of 24 cloud qualifiers. We recommend that you scan through the list, rank your organization s top 5-10 considerations, then find the best providers for each of those categories. For example, if you re in healthcare, you ll want to immediately weed out providers that may not be able to meet compliance requirements. Quick Takeaways: - Now that you have an idea of how the cloud can best fit your business you can start to assess potential cloud providers. - Use the following list of Cloud Qualifiers to rank your organization s top categories when choosing a cloud provider. Looking to do your own Cloud Assessment? See: Cloud Assessment: Where Does IaaS Fit Within Your Organization?

9 Tip 4 Certifications Do potential cloud providers processes and technologies stand up to recommendations from the IT industry s leading organizations? Ask about how the cloud solution compares to: Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) high-impact security controls International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Tip 5 Cloud Model - Will the cloud model you choose (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) driven by business needs? - Does your IaaS solution work well with existing software and platform applications? - What processes and technologies would you like to migrate to the cloud? Can you meet these requirements with your current infrastructure? Tip 6 Storage Architecture - How will data be stored in the cloud? Will it have a private network, or shared space? - Does storage architecture account for redundancy planning? Ensure that it will be stored with continuity of operations (COOP) in mind. - Is data replication built-in? Does the provider use network attached storage (NAS) or storage area networks (SANs) within the data center? 21. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Performance

10 Tip 7 Data Center - How do location, security and reputation impact your compliance posture or business processes? - Do potential providers offer at least two certified data centers in different regions for cloud redundancy? - Are data center locations geographically aligned with end users? Tip 8 Capacity - How much storage, CPU and network bandwidth does your business currently use? What are the amounts you anticipate needing in the future, supplemented by the cloud? - Do potential cloud providers offer flexible, easy-to-create server options to answer fluctuating capacity needs on demand? Tip 9 Elasticity - Will your cloud solution be able to provision up, out and down? Think in terms of cloud users, machines, and resources. - Will you be locked into a monthly contract, or can you avoid excess costs from over-provisioned services? 21. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Performance

11 Tip 10 Technology - What technologies are behind your cloud infrastructure? Do you trust them? - What data centers, machines, servers, and other hardware have access to your most critical business data and processes? What are the standard technologies behind your cloud infrastructure built to meet? Tip 11 Privacy - Is a private, virtual local area network (VLAN) stored behind a firewall for data protection and prevention of cross-traffic contamination? - Do potential cloud solutions offer virtual private clouds and connectivity? - Will your cloud share space and servers with other clients? Tip 12 Upgrades - How upgrades are delivered? What costs trickle to your solution pricing? - Are they all rolled into the product seamlessly, or will they be added into an instance of the application? 21. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Performance

12 Tip - Will the cloud solution you choose be compatible with the technology within your existing IT infrastructure? Will it work well with other cloudbased solutions? - Ask potential providers if solutions are driven by standard operating procedures (SOPs) and audits it will help you stay flexible and avoid future vendor lock-in. Tip 14. Infrastructure & Applications - Developers within your company will be the ones interested in cloud infrastructure, as certain IaaS and PaaS offerings may require them to rethink how they write and deploy applications. Do potential providers offer infrastructure details during the vetting phases of cloud selection? - What s behind your cloud s architecture? Are imaged servers available, and is customization possible? Tip - What systems are in place to enable transparent, real-time insight, management and control? - Will you be provided with analytics and management tools to maintain the level of insight and control your organization requires? - Do you require cloud management support, and if so, do potential providers offer managed services? 21. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Performance

13 Tip - How does the physical security of your cloud provider s data center compare to security of your own IT environment? Are you moving up in terms of data center security, or does the cloud provider leave you with doubts? Tip - What kind of intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) do potential providers offer? Do they go beyond industry IDPS standards? Tip - What is the standard protection for data at rest, in transfer, and as it s archived according to backup and recovery policies? Who is responsible and liable for data at each stage of the process? 21. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Performance

14 Tip - At what point in the process is data encrypted? - What resources and third-party audits do potential providers employ in data encryption processes? Tip 20 Tech Industry Compliance - Do potential providers look to industry-trusted organizations, like National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for guidance in developing secure, interoperable cloud offerings? How do they go beyond these baselines? Tip 21 Vertical Market Compliance - Can potential providers give references for expertise and success in your highly regulated industry? - Is their technology industry compliant, even in the most regulated healthcare, retail and federal industries? Look for solutions that are engineered to meet HIPPA and HITECH (healthcare), PCI DSS (retail), and FISMA (government) regulations. 21. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Performance

15 Tip (SLA) -Once you ve narrowed down options, compare details of potential providers SLAs closely. What levels of security, availability and performance does each offer? How do the high points align with what your organization expects from its cloud usage? Tip (24/7) - What levels of support does your cloud require? Do you need a hands-off solution or more attention and support? - Will you manage your cloud internally, or do you need managed cloud services? What access to support and customer service is available in each scenario? Tip - Do potential cloud providers offer data replication and DR planning? - Can you engineer redundancies into your cloud infrastructure via its management platforms, or will the provider work with you to create a 100% available solution? Ensure that the level of support offered meets your organization s needs. - In the case of disaster is cloud outage accounted for in SLAs? 21. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Performance

16 Tip 25. Performance -- How many IOPS and network bandwidth does your business currently use? What are the amounts you anticipate needing in the future, supplemented by the cloud? - Do potential cloud providers offer flexible, easy-to-create server options to answer fluctuating capacity needs on demand? Tip - Your IT Budgets: What resources are behind your organization s transition to a cloud-based infrastructure? How does budget align with the reality of achieving your current IT goals? - Competitive Pricing: How is the solution priced? Does it vary by compute capacity, network traffic, storage, additional services, flat fees and overages, etc.? Tip - Sometimes, it just has to feel right. - Who are you working with in the evaluation process, and do you trust them? - Has vetting this provider been an easy process, or does it make you question the level of service and support that lies ahead? 21. Vertical Market Compliance 25. Performance

17 FINAL THOUGHTS Thank you for reading, Technology changes every day. In the past few years we ve seen the cloud market move through its infancy with growing capabilities, adoption rates, and case studies filled with business impact. The market is still young, with new players continually emerging. Some see new players as less reliable, while others see them as the threat coming to market with the latest, more advanced cloud solutions. Whatever side you choose, navigate the crowded market by placing your business goals at the forefront. Make the cloud work for you it s flexible and limitless enough to do so. Best regards, Christopher Wilson Cloud Provider USA, LLC, is a public cloud hosting provider. Our infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud solution provides organizations with the flexibility to establish and scale server resources instantaneously. In addition, we provide complete transparency and control through our Cloud Portal interface. This takes the mystery out of the cloud, and gives you insight into security, data integrity, availability and more.

18 Questions? Free Cloud Assessment - We ll review your questions - You ll get expert IaaS Advice - More tips for Migrating to the cloud Book a Cloud Assessment or Call:

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