Tips for Selecting a Public Cloud Provider
When an organization needs to select a public cloud service provider, there are several variables and factors to take into consideration that will help you choose the most appropriate cloud provider suitable for the organization’s needs.
In this post, we will review various considerations that will help organizations in the decision-making process.
Before deciding to use a public cloud solution, or migrating existing environments to the cloud, it is important that organizations review their business goals. Explore what brings the organization value by maintaining existing systems on premise and what value does the migration to the cloud promise. In accordance with what you discover, decide which systems will be deployed in the cloud first, or which systems your organization will choose to use as managed services.
Review the lists of services offered in the cloud
Public cloud providers publish a list of services in various areas.
Review the list of current services and see how they stand up to your organization’s needs. This will help you narrow down the most suitable options.
Here are some examples of public cloud service catalogues:
· AWS - https://aws.amazon.com/products/
· Azure - https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/
· GCP - https://cloud.google.com/products
· Oracle Cloud - https://www.oracle.com/cloud/products.html
· IBM - https://www.ibm.com/cloud/products
· Salesforce - https://www.salesforce.com/eu/products/
· SAP - https://www.sap.com/products.html
Centrally authenticating users against Active Directory in IaaS / PaaS environments
Many organizations manage access rights to various systems based on an organizational Active Directory.
Although it is possible to deploy Domain Controllers based on virtual servers in an IaaS environment, or create a federation between the on-premise and the cloud environments, at least some cloud providers offer managed Active Directory service based on Kerberos protocol (the most common authentication protocol in the on-premise environments) might ease the migration to the public cloud.
Examples of managed Active Directory services:
· Azure Active Directory Domain Services
· Google Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory
Understanding IaaS / PaaS pricing models
Public cloud providers publish pricing calculators and documentation on their service pricing models.
Understanding pricing models might be complex for some services. For this reason, it is highly recommended to contact an account manager, a partners or reseller for assistance.
Comparing similar services among different cloud providers will enable an organization to identify and choose the most suitable cloud provider based on the organization’s needs and budget.
Examples of pricing calculators:
· AWS Simple Monthly Calculator
· Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator
Check if your country has a local region of one of the public cloud providers
The decision may be easier, or it may be easier to select one provider over a competitor, if in your specific country the provider has a local region. This can help for example in cases where there are limitations on data transfer outside a specific country’s borders (or between continents), or issues of network latency when transferring large amount of data sets between the local data centres and cloud environments,
This is relevant for all cloud service models (IaaS / PaaS / SaaS).
Examples of regional mapping:
o AWS Regions and Availability Zones
· Azure and Office 365:
o Where your Microsoft 365 customer data is stored
· Google Cloud Platform:
· Oracle Cloud:
o Oracle Data Regions for Platform and Infrastructure Services
o Where is my Salesforce instance located?
o SAP Cloud Platform Regions and Service Portfolio
Service status reporting and outage history
Mature cloud providers transparently publish their service availability status in various regions around the world, including outage history of their services.
Mature cloud providers transparently share service status and outages with customers, and know how to build stable and available infrastructure over the long term, and over multiple geographic locations, as well as how to minimize the “blast radius”, which might affect many customers.
A thorough review of an outage history report allows organizations to get a good picture over an extended period and help in the decision-making process.
Example of cloud providers’ service status and outage history documentation:
o AWS Service Health Dashboard
· Google Cloud Platform:
o Google Cloud Status Dashboard
o Google Cloud Status Dashboard - Incidents Summary
· Oracle Cloud:
o Oracle Cloud Infrastructure - Current Status
o Oracle Cloud Infrastructure – Incident History
o Salesforce ongoing incidents
o SAP Cloud Platform Status Page
As you can see, there are several important factors to take into consideration when selecting a specific cloud provider. We have covered some of the more common ones in this post.
For an organization to make an educated decision, it is recommended to check what brings value for the organization, in both the short and long-term. It is important to review cloud providers’ service catalogues, alongside a thorough review of global service availability, transparency, understanding pricing models and hybrid architecture that connects local data centres to the cloud.