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7 Tips for Choosing a Cloud Service Provider

So you’re looking towards IaaS to increase productivity of your developers and boost time-to-market? But how do you find the right service provider? Before talking to any service providers, make sure you’ve done due diligence on your workloads and you’ve identified which apps are good candidates for the cloud. Then list your expectations, and deal-breakers.

If your expectations include scaling globally or sourcing a provider as a supplier to your IT organization you should be running a handful of providers through the gauntlet. In the long-term you’ll probably be using more than one anyways, so the data in the selection process maintains its value.


So take these 7 tips as a starting point and make sure you:

    • Red-line the SLA: Buyer beware! It’s important to note that cloud SLAs vary widely. Lydia Leong, the Queen Bee of IaaS and Research VP at Gartner even went so far as to call the SLAs of some major providers as meaningless. So take the SLA as a starting point, and have your legal team clarify sections as needed. Use customer references and their experience with the SLA, and come back with questions treating this as negotiation.


    • Risk Mitigation: Your data is not secure, anywhere. After a deep breath and acceptance – define the level of risk you can afford and ask potential providers how they satisfy it. Some qualifications and standards are easily audited and transparent, such as HIPAA and PCI compliance. But you should be thinking of your individual needs. Hollywood studios want 100% SLA and guarantee that a single scene will not be lost, what do you want?


    • Find the Right Locations: Understand where you will need your IaaS. If your applications crunch data of customers based outside of the U.S., you may need to host that data differently. In some cases there are legal implications, in others it’s merely to satisfy customer or stakeholder peace of mind.


    • Get Your Choice of Software: If you already know what stack your application needs, ask if they’ve already got it available. This creates additional efficiency instead of having to upload images and install base OS just to get started.


    • Calculate the Best Price: 2¢ an hour. It looks so good on paper! But it’s so easy to fall prey to VM sprawl, scaling inefficiencies, and hidden costs of IaaS services that lead to a whopper of a 3rd invoice. A lot of this is under-estimation of costs and TCO of cloud, stemming from “Workload Ignorance.”


    • Hear Some Customer References: This is especially crucial if you’re looking for managed IaaS. Make sure to talk to some customer’s and find out about support response, “unscheduled maintenance” (downtime), and overall satisfaction.


    • Benchmark! When things look good on paper, remember that IaaS should be on-demand! Don’t wait for them to assign an Account Executive or provision a “Virtual Data Center” – get in and test-drive.


As a cloud service brokerage, we understand that today this process isn’t very easy, and for most going with the de facto option in public cloud make sense – but you should be asking questions if IaaS is the long term delivery model for your organization.

Our goal as a cloud service broker is to facilitate the entire discovery and procurment process, today making many of these steps seamless, for example:

  • Benchmark your app on 20+ IaaS clouds from a single API, then deploy and scale it.
  • Access 600+ options in on-demand software, base OS, solution stacks (or even bare-metal.)
  • Go global and deploy your IaaS in any of 20+ unique locations worldwide.


While we’re building out the platform we still work through a lot of these issues on a personal basis, because everyone’s needs are different. And we love it! By learning about unique requirements in IaaS, we’re actually able to go back to our service partners and tell them what’s important for customer success in the cloud.

To tell us about your unique requirements, Sign up today!

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