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Cloud computing has absolutely changed the landscape of the modern business. Data center and cloud partners help organizations compete more efficiently, deliver rich experiences, and enable the ever-digital end-user. When selecting the right cloud partner, managers and IT administrators must know who will be accessing their environment, in what quantities, and when there may be spikes. This holds true for any cloud-based deployment.
Let’s discuss the right and wrong approach to some different cloud use cases and provide deployment strategies to keep in mind when you are planning your next steps into the cloud.
CLOUD USE CASES | WEBSITES, E-COMMERCE, PORTALS & DATA SERVICES
A very common way to partner with a cloud provider is to create some type of online presence, and when it comes to cloud, retail, and online shopping, speed is everything. Amazon found that every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. And, to put that into further perspective, Amazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost $1.6 billion in sales each year. Google has calculated that by slowing its search results by just four tenths of a second, they could lose 8 million searches per day–meaning they’d serve up many millions fewer online adverts.
Although every business is different, you don’t have to be the size of Amazon or Google to feel the real-world impacts of latency and network slowness. During the planning stages, ensure that the partner has the right type of components to support your organization’s needs.
QUICK CHECK LIST:
- Underlying hardware and software
- Solid support
- International domain support (as needed)
- Backup and redundancy
- Compliance and regulation needs
- Growth capability
- Support for latency-sensitive applications
- Edge and caching capabilities
- Network and carrier options
CLOUD USE CASES | APPLICATION & DEVELOPMENT (DEVOPS) HOSTING
Another common way to use a cloud and data center partner is to deliver applications either through a portal or directly through a website. In these cases, ensure that the provider is able to support this type of infrastructure. Application delivery isn’t always as easy as just building a website. There are several serious considerations that must be understood prior to any application deployment in a cloud environment. Furthermore, if you’re planning on creating a development platform in the cloud, there are a few other considerations you need to understand. A big one with DevOps in the cloud will revolve around your partner’s capabilities to support advanced use cases. Can they provide a hyperscale ecosystem to support DevOps data requirements? What about hosting things like containers and microservices? Although the following list isn’t all-encompassing, it does outline some of the more important elements in selecting the right partner.
- Application delivery security
- User load on the application servers
- User load-balancing
- International application access
- Latency and Wide Area Network requirements
- Database capabilities
- DevOps platform support
- Integration and API capabilities
- Multi-cloud access
CLOUD USE CASES | VIRTUAL MACHINE (VM) DELIVERY
This has become a growing trend among many organizations looking to streamline their virtual machine and desktop delivery process. Aside from just hosting websites, some providers will also allow customers to host VMs or desktops for use and access. Although not available with every cloud provider, many will offer the right type of infrastructure to support VM and desktop delivery processes. Remember, in most cases, you are given the hardware and are expected to build out this infrastructure internally. Some providers will offer professional services to help with the process. Take note, poor planning around desktop or VM delivery can result in a bad end-user experience. There are several considerations in selecting the right type of partner for this specific type of deploying. In working with cloud-based desktops and VMs, remember the following:
- Resource utilization
- User access loads
- Latency between the user and the cloud provider
- VM and desktop load-balancing
- Expansion capabilities
- Desktop, VM and application compatibility
- Hybrid and multi-cloud access
- Multi-tenancy capabilities
WHEN IS CLOUD THE WRONG APPROACH?
The vast nature of the cloud can also be a drawback. Aside from the standard public, private, and hybrid cloud options – there are even more micro-cloud and specific cloud services to choose from. That said, it really is important to note that cloud is not just one option. Rather, it’s a part of a bigger design picture. So, when is cloud the wrong approach?
- Latency-sensitivity. If you’re working with an application or service that’s very latency sensitive, working with a public cloud provider may not be the way to go. Or, if anything, it’ll turn out to be very expensive. A major challenge for larger cloud providers is being able to deliver data close to the source.
- Data control and sovereignty. In some cases, data locality is critical. And, in those situations you may need to work with a data center partner that can keep data safe within a very specific location. Yes, major cloud providers have regions, but they can’t always isolate data points down to a city or even state. Data center partners can help geo-fence information while still helping other parts of the business scale into the cloud.
- Cost vs Benefit for specific workloads and applications. Some applications are just more expensive to run in the cloud. Or, some data warehousing services don’t make sense with a given cloud provider. The point is that with application and data requirements, you need to take into consideration what it’ll cost to run these resources in the cloud. Oftentimes a split, or hybrid, approach will give you the best of both worlds.
- Vastly distributed systems and data points. This is basically talking about the edge. Large cloud providers are great at hosting applications, large sets of users, and even complex systems. However, they’re not always great at data or service proximity. If you’re trying to reduce latency, focus on content caching, or are doing things like data analytics for IoT, a large cloud instance may not perform well. Instead, focus on good data center and edge partnerships that’ll allow you to process data closer to the source and faster than your competition.
Remember when selecting the right partner for your organization, you must know the capabilities of the underlying provider infrastructure. This means that just because they offer a certain technology or tool does not mean they are always capable of handling the needs of the customer. The selection process must take into consideration current and future trends for any organization since growth and expansion are expected outcomes of a growing business. The right partner will be able to scale as your business needs evolve. That said, know that you have options in how you deploy your cloud architecture. This is a big reason why so many are looking more closely at multi-cloud and hybrid designs. Where cloud can’t handle everything, your data center partner can help offload the rest.