Expert Advice

How to choose the right cloud: Five quick tips

Cloud computing is now a major marketplace strategy for any company aiming to deliver high quality services to customers over a variety of channels, especially those involving high levels of online traffic. But how does an organisation know if, and which, cloud is best?

This five-point audit simplifies cloud hosting and will help you find the best solution:

1. Understand the scale of your business requirements
Assess your existing platforms before planning a change. Understand the scale of the organisation, volumes of data, traffic and existing hosting budgets. In our experience, companies spending over £3.5K a month on hosting can get the most benefit from moving to a private cloud.

2. Recognise the true value of data/websites to your business
If your website handles sales, then hosting is a mission-critical application. Protecting your IT infrastructure through a virtualised cloud environment provides added protection for business continuity. Private clouds from some hosting companies offer a more secure environment than public or shared clouds.

3. Ensure all associated costs, including downtime, maintenance, upgrade and internal resources, are considered
Managing your IT infrastructure's performance is critical for effective operations and your online performance. Managed cloud hosting provides additional security over a traditional hosting models, offering peace of mind through high performance and resiliency. For companies looking to migrate from an in-house data centre to a managed cloud solution, cost savings will include energy usage, floor space, internal support and staffing.

4. Analyse the commercial and operational benefits of cloud hosting
Consolidating disperse IT infrastructure into a private cloud environment can lead to a more manageable and cost effective platform. A cloud approach enhances operational performance through increased flexibility, scalability and deliverability allowing businesses to react quickly to changing requirements.

5. Look at tomorrow's needs...today!
A cloud offers a flexible, on-demand platform that can contract or expand to accommodate growth in traffic, applications and data volumes. But it's vital to understand fee structures, delivery models and service-level agreements and confirm them with hosting and service partners in advance to ensure you're not paying an unnecessarily high price for success. Public cloud may be ideal for a start-up company, but it may not offer the long term flexible pricing structures of a managed private cloud.

Craig Martin, is the chief executive of vendor independent DediPower Managed Hosting and a contributor to SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.uk.

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This was first published in May 2010

 

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