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How to select a cloud provider

Once your company has decided to move services to the cloud, the next decesion is which provider to select. Investigating the reliability and viability of a cloud provider is one of the most complex areas faced when managing the cloud.

You have to do your homework when evaluating the providers. Evaluate their experience in the market, the type of partnerships they’ve established, and their reputation in the market. You can also talk to other customers that have used their services. Before committing to a provider consider the following.

It’s particularly important for IT departments to enable administration systems that let them monitor every dimension of the service they’re getting.

Service level agreements and monitoring

Every company that buys any service from a cloud service provider must either accept a standard service level agreement (SLA) from the provider or negotiate such an agreement.

No organization should commit mission-critical systems to the cloud without negotiating an SLA that includes significant penalties for not delivering the promised service level.

Support problems don’t disappear when applications or infrastructures move to the cloud. You have to make sure that support targets are agreed on in advance with a cloud services provider. Therefore, your company must align its internal support team to deal with both internal customers and the cloud provider.

One cloud benefit is that, as a customer you can acquire just as much capability as needed. Billing and account management must be automated so that customers can monitor what they’re using and how much it costs.

Customers can run up unexpected bills if they can’t accurately track usage.
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