October 29, 2012 5:30 AM
I think it’s fair to say that the “heat is on” in the Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service market in Canada with several significant developments.
In the last six months, we’ve seen major infrastructure investments that speak volumes about the state of the market and forward-thinking enterprises are beginning to develop and execute long-term roadmaps to leverage the promise of the cloud. Users are experiencing improved time-to-market for new applications, zero upfront costs and the freedom from long term hardware commitments – all of which are driving demand and increasing competition amongst Cloud IaaS providers. The US has played an early adopter role in the cloud, making the road for Canadian IT leaders that much easier as many of the concerns of security or performance have been addressed by other leading vendors.
In Canada, we are already seeing signs of a maturing marketplace, with buzz recently about Canadian acquisitions, data center launches, etc., all of which are making the playing field that much more interesting for those involved. Major cloud news in Canada recently includes the launch of TELUS’ AgilIT Virtual Private Cloud, the investment of Q9 Networks by BCE (Bell) (including a leading consortium of investors) and CSC’s launch of its on-premise private cloud billed as a service, BizCloud. Earlier this year, OnX also made headlines of its own with its $20 million data center and cloud computing investment, making the company one of the first to market with a dual data center cloud strategy in Canada, something that will likely become table stakes for high availability cloud computing.
All this news is well and good, but how are adoptees expected to sift through the buzzwords and identify the right vendor and cloud solution for their unique business need? Having been in the industry for some time I’ll admit that it’s hard for the average business user to decipher what’s really being offered from each vendor from a product capability perspective, billing options and support levels available. So for those of you in the early stages of selecting a cloud provider, make sure you’re asking vendors the right questions and that you’re doing some homework of your own. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a provider:
Choose the cloud that’s right for you – Do your due diligence and compare offerings. Ask cloud providers to run your application in their lab or live environment and see how it really performs. Test, and test again.
- Do a background check – See what kind of certifications your cloud providers in question have. Have they done more than just white label someone else’s technology and do they have the vendor certifications and staff to properly support your organization? You’ll learn a lot about their proactive ability and dedicated areas of focus.
- Consider your data’s home base – Who would deliver your support (and what would this include), and where would your data reside? Be mindful of any international border laws that prohibit data migration. You don’t want to involve yourself in any legal activity, so find out ahead of time what’s to be expected.
- Keep your mind on management – Will the provider manage your cloud instances, or will that be your team’s full responsibility? Or is the choice yours? Some may make you manage administrative, day-to-day operations, so think about whether or not this is the best use of your time.
- Factor in function - Are multi-tenant clouds a priority? If so, make sure your cloud provider can accommodate them in a secure manner and without impacting performance SLA’s of other tenants.
- Implement a solution to a business problem – Don’t move to the cloud simply because you are being pressured to do so for reasons like cost cutting. Make sure a cloud-based strategy solves the business challenge at hand and prevents future issues. Not every application, especially legacy, is right for the cloud.
- Look to the future – Most importantly, future-proof yourself. I mean this both from a capabilities and a technological standpoint. Understand the depth of capabilities amongst the service providers that you’re vetting. Look at how they will be able to service you one or two years down the road based on your roadmap and evolving technical needs. Spend time to clarify your foreseeable roadmap and ensure you are not married to a vendor that will pigeon hole you into a solution that is not flexible from a service delivery perspective, whether fully managed or self serve.
This list is merely a starting point, but it does contain critical questions that are sometimes overlooked and questions that need to be asked, up front.
The Canadian market is experiencing an interesting evolution and growth phase, one that’s full of options, promise and likely market confusion. Use the variety of options to your advantage and pick a partner that will support you now, and in the future. Cloud computing provides unlimited opportunities and is here to stay.
Roger Hamshaw is the Director of Marketing, Managed Services at OnX Enterprise Solutions and is passionate about evangelizing the real and measurable benefits of cloud computing in Canada. Previously, Roger worked at Savvis (CenturyLink) as the Director of Marketing where he was responsible for building brand awareness in Canada.
Posted by Sue Ansell at October 29, 2012 5:30 AM
Categories: Cloud computing