INSIGHT: How to assess your next NZ cloud provider

As cloud migration escalates, it's vital that Kiwi companies first understand their specific requirements and then decide which metrics are key for their organisation.

• Understand your prospective cloud’s flexibility:

Clearly, the best forecasts can still be wrong. Hence check the costs involved to change to a different cloud pricing scheme, should circumstances change.

After all, flexibility is one of the cloud’s inherent benefits. The cost to change plans shouldn’t prohibit you.

• Understand your data migration costs:

Invariably, your data is already located on premise / with another cloud provider / co-located or a mixture of all three. Getting it to your new cloud vendor involves data transport costs.

This cost alone can be a complex calculation, depending on the number of locations involved. Check extraction costs and include them into your calculations.

• Understand your prospective vendor’s disaster recovery:

What happens should disaster strike your vendor’s data centre? Check if your vendor has a backup location that automatically assumes control without user action.

Natural disaster, user error, power failure - none of these unforeseen incidents should cause data loss or application availability.

• Understand your prospective cloud’s backup solution:

Is backup included, or an add-on? What are the costs involved to retrieve and restore files? What recovery time does your cloud provider work to (Recovery Time Objective) versus what is acceptable for you?

Similarly, how far back can your cloud provider retrieve files (Recovery Point Objective), versus the oldest data your organisation might need?

• Understand your prospective vendor’s support structure:

Is their support team locally based, or are they around the world – following the sun. There are implications in how issues are resolved under both scenarios.

• Understand your prospective vendor’s Service Level Agreement (SLA):

Scrutinise your prospective vendors’ SLA and negotiate up-front on areas / time-frames that are unacceptable to your organisation. Look for a provider who has 99.9% uptime at a minimum, with financial incentives to ensure this SLA is met.

• Understand if your prospective vendor is software agnostic:

Your applications and data shouldn’t need to change to move into a vendor’s cloud. Choose a vendor who supports your choices of operating system, applications and other collaborative tools. After all, you’re the customer.

By Will Lai - Marketing Executive, ICONZ-Webvisions

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