Questions to ask your cloud provider.

The migration to the cloud has been fast and furious over the past several years and it’s showing no signs of slowing. Often though, business owners are in such a rush to get into the cloud that some critical issues are overlooked and they find that their solution is much costlier than they anticipated or isn’t nearly as accessible as they require. What follows are nine questions you should be sure to ask of any prospective cloud providers you are considering. It’s in no way an exhaustive list, but it will help you to get off on the right foot.

  1. What are the costs for upload and download? This one is an issue that I come across repeatedly with companies who have migrated to the public cloud and find that using their data is much more expensive than they anticipated. Often, uploads are inexpensive if not free and downloading or accessing their data in any way sends their monthly cost through the roof. Before making any transition, it is essential to know how you’re going to use the data you are storing and the applications that are being virtualized and understanding how your initial cost might be impacted.
  2. Where is your cloud hosted (data center)? This might not be that big of a deal if you’re hosting with an Amazon or Microsoft since they have to service thousands of clients, but if you are hosting in a niche market, the location, security, and availability of your cloud’s data center is imperative.
  3. Do you have a secondary site? If so, where is that? Redundancy is key for any data center solution and the cloud is no exception. Know where the secondary data center is for their hosting services to ensure availability of the service should an outage occur.
  4. What certifications have you attained? This is especially critical for those in the regulatory industry. Make sure that the cloud you are migrating to is audited and certified to keep your business compliant.
  5. Do you provide replication/backups/disaster recovery? If so, how? Different clouds have different backup strategies and what works for your development server may not work for your eCommerce site. Do you need hourly or daily snapshots of your data? For what length of time do you require the backups to be stored? How long can you wait for it to be restored after an outage before your business is impacted? Know the answers to these questions and how much these options are going to cost you to make sure your cloud provider can meet your needs.
  6. How do you isolate my data from other clients? Resources in the cloud can be isolated or they can be shared. Shared is typically less expensive, but also comes with risk. Be sure you understand how your data is protected from security threats and resource drain.
  7. What, who, how is monitoring performed? When something goes wrong, you want to know immediately. Your cloud provider should have some sort of monitoring in place to alert you to disruptions or threats as they emerge.
  8. Can you connect with a hybrid environment? Not all clouds are easily connected to other infrastructure resources. Some have restrictions on how you can connect to collocated or on premise servers and some are not well-built for a multi-cloud environment. If you aren’t moving everything wholesale to one cloud, connectivity and management across multiple environments is essential.
  9. How do I migrate to/from another provider? Moving into a new environment is tough, make sure your provider is helping to make it as easy as possible.

Every virtualization effort has its challenges, but by asking the right questions of your cloud provider, you can work to eliminate unwanted surprises. Have more questions? Contact us today, we’ll be happy to help you find the virtualization strategy that is right for you.