There's a right way to choose a cloud provider and there's a wrong way. The right way is to do the research about your needs and requirements. The wrong way is to choose a provider by evaluating and comparing vendor offerings.
John Treadway writes on CloudBzz that IT leaders he speaks with are taking the latter approach. They're evaluating the vendors and not doing their own analysis.
Instead, IT leaders should be going through a long list of questions before starting to evaluate vendors. His initial list gives a taste about how IT leaders should approach the task:
- What are the strategic objectives for my cloud program?
- How will my cloud be used?
- Who are my users and what are their expectations and requirements?
- How should/will a cloud model change my data center workflows, policies, processes and skills requirements?
- How will cloud users be given visibility into their usage, costs and possible chargebacks?
- How will cloud users be given visibility into operational issues such as server/zone/regional availability and performance?
- What is my approach to the service catalog? Is it prix fixe, a la carte, or more like value meals? Can users make their own catalogs?
- How will I handle policy around identity, access control, user permissions, etc?
- What are the operational tools that I will use for event management & correlation, performance management, service desk, configuration and change management, monitoring, logging, auditability, and more?
- What will my vCenter administrators do when they are no longer creating VMs for every request?
- What will the approvers in my process flows today do when the handling of 95% of all future requests are policy driven and automated?
- What levels of dynamism are required regarding elasticity, workload placement, data placement and QoS management across all stack layers?
- Beyond a VM, what other services will I expose to my users?
- How will I address each of the key components such as compute, networking, structured & object storage, virtualization, security, automation, self-service, lifecycle management, databases and more?
- What are the workloads I expect to see in my cloud, and what are the requirements for these workloads to run?
Treadway says IT leaders are letting the tail wag the dog. We can see how that can be the case. It seems logical to do the research first. But this may not be about the right choice as much as it is about the economical one for the business. That's a problem. Vendors will offer all sorts of incentives to get your business. That can lead to trade offs that can really hurt down the road.