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How to Choose the Right Cloud Provider

Gartner published its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as Service, Worldwide earlier this year. What stood out for me in this recent MQ was one of the cautions provided for Amazon Web Services, which ranked the highest (amongst the other vendors evaluated) for completeness of vision and the ability to execute. I have quoted the caution below because it offers some practical advice that I would like to address.

“AWS’s extensive portfolio of services requires expertise to implement. Customers should be aware that while it’s easy to get started, optimal use — especially keeping up with new service innovations and best practices, and managing costs — may challenge even highly agile, expert IT organizations, including AWS partners. As new, less-experienced MSPs are added to AWS’s Audited MSP Partner program, this designation is becoming less of an assurance of MSP quality. However, since it sets a high minimum bar for MSP capabilities, it is still the best way to identify partners that use AWS best practices, especially when used in conjunction with the DevOps and Migration Partner competency designations.”
From Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide – Gartner, Inc.

The importance of expertise

Another word for “expertise” would be “experience.” You want to work with a partner that has been around the block more than a few times. Amazon Web Services has been around since 2006, so search for a partner in the AWS Partner Solutions Finder that has at least five years of experience and a broad range of capability with AWS solutions and services. Compare their AWS Partner Network listing with their website to see how long they have been in business, what other products they support and services they provide. Are they a one-note provider, or do they understand the full range of complexity when undertaking the planning, migrating, implementing, integrating, adopting, and managing multiple business apps in the cloud?

Easy to get started, now what?

One must have realistic expectations with the cloud when it comes to its maintenance and optimal use. To be frank, in order to get these optimal results in the cloud it requires careful planning and execution before the switch is flipped on. Most people start their cloud journey on a small scale and focus on only one application to get a feel for the process. What I find is after a customer has a small taste of being in the cloud, they dive in and want more and even have the option of cloud managed services, if they wish.

Look for credentials and references

Don’t overlook the importance of credentials. The Gartner MQ report makes a good point in its caution of being aware of less experienced Managed Service Provider (MSPs). Amazon Web Services has a “high minimum bar to start” but remember to consider the number of years the vendor has been an MSP and an Amazon partner. Don’t forget to ask about the credentials for the consultants who will be working on your project too.

Nothing says, “I trust this partner” like a reference. If they don’t have any case studies or references on their web site, ask for them or ask to speak directly with a recent client.

Getting started on the right foot

If you still are not sure about where to start, we at Apps Associates would love to speak with you about how we can evaluate your environment and get you up and running in the cloud.