After knowing the business benefits of cloud technology, let’s understand how to select the right cloud service provider (CSP) for your organization. Neither two CSPs are the same, nor is there any common framework available for assessing them. However, we can simplify the complexity of choosing your best fit by helping you with some criteria and comparisons among major CSPs that offer public cloud infrastructure.
Criteria to Select Your Public Cloud Service Provider
While selecting the CSP that best suits your business needs, following pointers can come handy.
Architecture is one of the primary driving factors during the selection as it determines the efforts and comfort about how the cloud platform will integrate with your workflows in the current and future. For example, if you have already invested in Microsoft technologies, it makes more sense to go with Azure to take full benefit of the offerings and often some free credits that might be available.
One important aspect is cloud storage architecture that you might need to give a thought. Often CSPs offer multiple types of storage and archival storage for catering to diverse needs. You can take a call based on your needs of storing and retrieving data frequently (hot storage) vs. infrequently (cool storage). Cool storage demands less cost but also comes with various restrictions.
Cloud service platforms can vastly differ when it comes to supporting orchestration tools and integration with other services. Hence, you need to understand your part of efforts and time to manage your preferred cloud platform. It’s also crucial to check the ease of integrating services that are vital for your business and the feasibility and comfort to port over to another similar service supported by the CSP.
- Degree of Security and Compliance
Security is the topmost concern for any organization. Your CSP should have a comprehensive security infrastructure for all levels with in-depth security policies and procedures for controlling access to customer and provider systems. Besides this, there should be appropriate data backup and retention policies and procedures in place for ensuring data integrity. Additionally, there should be a documented disaster recovery and business continuity plan and redundant networking and power for safeguarding data and equipment from disruptive events. You need to understand your security goals vis-a-vis the security measures and mechanisms offered by the CSP to protect your data and applications. In cloud space, security is a shared responsibility. Thus, you must understand the specific areas for which each party is responsible.
Your CSP should help you meet the industry and organization compliance standards applicable to you. You should ensure that you understand your share of responsibilities to obtain compliance once your data and applications reside in public cloud infrastructure and how your CSP will help you achieve the same. The provider should have the ability to validate compliance with all your requirements through a third-party audit.
- Support and Service Levels
Quick and hassle-free support is one of the critical decision-factors in selecting a CSP. You should be aware of the type of support you will get from your CSP – whether through a call center or a chat service or you will have access to a dedicated resource. Also, it would be best to have clarity on whether there will be constraints on access and time before selecting a CSP.
While selecting a CSP, you need a legal agreement that will back you up if something goes wrong. Cloud Service Level Agreements (Cloud SLAs) do precisely that by setting a clear contractual relationship between you and your CSP to ensure availability, capacity, response time and support. It will help if you are especially attentive about legal requirements for the security of your data hosted in the cloud service, specifically in the light of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Your provider should be able to guarantee you a basic level of service of your expectation.
It’s by far, one of the top deciding factors and you have to consider both sticker price and associated cost, including staff, you may need to hire for managing your cloud instances. When it comes to cost, it’s much more complicated than a simple apples-to-apples comparison as there are various plans and discounts which you cannot compare straightaway. You need to make a decision based on your predicted and actual usage pattern vis-a-vis the CSP’s plans after checking what fits best to your business model, timeline and budget.
- Container Capabilities
If your organization is planning to transition its virtual server workloads to containers, managed containers, container orchestration or serverless architecture, you should evaluate CSP’s container capabilities and offerings in terms of container management, operations and deployment.
Primary Cloud Environment Providers with Comparison
- AWS – Out of the many CSPs, AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are the three prominent and renowned public cloud vendors.
- Microsoft Azure – Launched in 2010, Microsoft Azure is available in 54 regions across 140 countries. With 16% of the global market share in the public cloud, its growth rate is 75%. It offers 100+ services and offers pay-per-minute billing. With Microsoft Azure, it’s easy to integrate Microsoft tools that are used by many organizations.
- Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – GCP was launched in 2011. It has availability in 20 regions with 3 more on the way. GCP owns 10% of the market share and has a growth rate of 83%. It offers 60+ services and offers pay-per-second billing.
Here’s the comparison of these 3 major CSPs for a glance –
|Type of Instance||Comparison Criteria||AWS||Azure|
|On-demand pricing per hour ($)||0.192||0.166||0.214|
|1 Year Commitment (Discounted Pricing per hour) ($)||0.123||0.097||0.128|
|Compute Optimized||Instances||c5.xlarge||F4s v2||n1-highcpu-4|
|On-demand pricing per hour||0.170||0.169-0.17||0.1626|
|1 Year Commitment (Discounted Pricing per hour) ($)||0.107||0.099||0.095|
|Memory Optimized||Instances||r5.xlarge||E4 v3||n1-highmem-4|
|On-demand pricing per hour||0.252||0.252||0.2696|
|1 Year Commitment (Discounted Pricing per hour) ($)||0.159||0.156||0.159|
|GPU Instances||Instances||g3s.4xlarge||NC 6||NVDIA@Tesla@P4|
|On-demand pricing per hour||0.75||0.899||2.4|
|1 Year Commitment (Discounted Pricing per hour) ($)||0.551||0.572||0.864|
(Updated as of August, 2019)
The robust cloud platform security safeguards your applications and documents alike. You can secure your files with the appropriate user permissions of Windows operating systems and granting the relevant access rights to users. You can store your data and information securely using your cloud Platform’s capabilities, which we will discuss in our upcoming blog.