What lies behind the cloud? Part 3
Now that I have located a few cloud providers who are more likely to meet my requirements, I decided to pose a few questions to them before taking a final call. Here are some questions which you must ask your future cloud vendor.
Everyone is aware that cloud computing has been around for not more than a few years. Obviously, many of them are hardly a couple of years old. Even Microsoft paddled into the cloud recently. How do you then decide how good or bad they are? They don’t have a lineage or a huge track record. One of the ways is to enquire about awards they have won in the recent past. Normally industry organizations give away annual awards to a few specific companies who excel in their respective field. Getting on the top 5 spot for Best Cloud Hosting is a big plus.
In this world of instant feedback through multiple social media channels, it is quite simple to find independent feedback on companies. I would consider customer feedback as a significant contributor to my decision to choose a particular vendor. I have often seen that disgruntled employees leave negative feedback which is in dissonance with the general opinion. I would therefore ignore such feedback, especially from former employees.
Sometimes you get only generalized feedback which doesn’t say much about the working of a cloud vendor. I would rather appreciate specific and focused look by a customer.
Friendly Help desk
You need handholding only when you are in a real crisis. In such situations, the single ray of hope is the help desk. Many a times I have found myself at the short end of the ladder when trying to contact help. After having burnt my fingers, I have learnt to ensure that I would get adequate support during emergency. An email could take a long wait so a chat support would really help you get things done faster.
You must include all such requirements in the contract to ensure compliance.
Use trial period to evaluate services
You must make use of the Trial Period to evaluate a cloud vendor. Usually, during the trial period, you are unlikely to face a crisis situation. How do you critically appraise a cloud vendor and compare the services with competitors is a difficult question to answer. Probably, you can create situations where the capabilities of a vendor can be tested in real time. Another problem you may face after the trial period is to cancel your order. These are tricky situations which you must plan for.
What about setting up and maintenance?
A small ecommerce shop or a gaming portal faces the problem of adequate support which setting up the services and for further maintenance. A cloud vendor is only as good as the support he offers. I would rather pay the cloud provider and get services on a turnkey basis. By this I mean the entire setting up and maintenance is carried out by the vendor. The cost of such services may be a bit on the higher side, but worth the trouble.
Your online business will only be as good as your cloud vendor. Unnecessary downtime and outrages can damage your reputation. You must therefore ensure that your cloud service provider is reliable and trustworthy.
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About the Guest Author:
Sankarambadi Srinivasan, ‘Srini’, is a maverick writer, technopreneur, geek and online marketing enthusiast rolled into one. He began his career as a Naval weapon specialist. Later, he sold his maiden venture and became head of an offshore Database administration company in Mumbai. He moved on as Chief Technology Officer of one of the largest online entities, where he led consolidation of 300 online servers and introduced several Web 2.0 initiatives. He holds a Master’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.