How do we help you choose a CSP?
One of the most important decisions you will make in your journey to the Cloud is the selection of the Cloud Service Provider(s) (CSPs) you will trust.
We typically use a four step process to help in that selection:
- We create a Requirements Document that contains your specific requirements in the areas of performance, availability, security and control.
- We determine how you measure each of these items, and specify that in the document.
We also ask each respondent to define how they measure each of these.
- We consider about a dozen different CSPs initially, then after a quick review of their capabilities we submit the Requirements Document to about six CSPs and ask for a formal response.
We almost always get a response from all that we contact.
- We analyze the responses and provide recommendations of the top two or three CSPs.
We often provide separate sets of requirements for different workloads in the Requirements Document and invite each CSP to bid on one, several or all of your workloads.
Our goal is to get a small set of semi-finalist CSPs that can cover all of your workloads.
We measure each CSP on seven different attributes.
Our ratings are based on how well we believe they meet your specific requirements.
Thus they do not necessarily reflect how the same CSP would rate in a different situation.
- Company Outlook
We look at how long the company has been in existance, and how long it has been providing Cloud services.
For older companies, we look at its long term experience in providing enterprise-class hosting and support services.
We believe that consolidation among various Cloud Service Providers will continue.
Financial stability defined by number and kind of customers plays a significant role in the outlook.
We also gather views by different financial analysts on Wall Street for both publicly traded and privately held CSPs.
There are a wide range of Cloud functionality claims made by both traditional Managed Service Providers and relatively new CSPs.
We analyze each CSP's software Cloud stack and data center capabilities to assess how well their offerings deliver key Cloud capabilities such as agility, self-service and scalability.
We look for companies that have impressive access-controlled physical facilities with dual power sources plus their own backup power, multiple high-speed ISP connections, plus the latest network and storage capabilities for high performance.
If disaster recovery is one of your requirements or even a future goal, we make sure each also has multiple centers suitable for disaster recovery.
- Service and Support
There is often a wide variation in the service and support options available from the candidate CSPs.
Some by design offer very little support, others offer extensive support either as part of their package or as extra cost options.
In some cases we will pair a CSP will little or no support with a services company that provides the tools and expertise to effective manage and support that CSP.
Our rating is not based on the amount of service and support provided, but how that level of support meets your needs.
If you intend to rely on the CSP to handle virtually everything, then only those CSPs that can provide that level of support get a "passing" rating.
If you have your own support team and intend to keep it, then a CSP that offers substantially more support than you need will get a lower rating than one that meets your needs.
CSPs will not offer Service Level Agreements on security nor will they provide credit when there are security problems.
What is important here is that the CSP has sufficient seucrity policies and procedures in place to meet your security needs, plus a proven track record.
- Performance and Availability Service Level Agreements
We look carefully at the SLAs committed to by the CSPs in their response document compared with your requirements.
Usually this means a translation of the CSPs metrics into metrics that are consistent with your needs.
In this area we also look at disaster recovery capabilities to insure they match with your needs.
We look at how quickly and how automatically the CSP responses to changes in resource requirements, and compare that with your historical and projected resource needs.
For example, if you have a generally smooth growth in your future you probably need less agility than if you have a few very sharp spikes in resource requirements.
We project the cost of the CSP over time based on the projections of your resource needs.
For our final recommendations, we weigh each of these attributes based on how you prioritize them for your business.