5 Questions to Answer When Choosing a Cloud Provider

Want to get the most out of choosing a cloud provider for your ISV? Don’t make a move without answering these five questions.

Software development in the cloud is increasingly more commonplace. Gartner research saw the greatest cloud computing market gains in Infrastructure as a s Service (IaaS) last year, with the market reaching $34.7 billion in 2017 and expected to grow to $72.4 billion by 2020. Gartner analysts also reported that the Platform as a Service (PaaS) market is outperforming previous forecasts and is expected to increase from $11.4 billion in 2017 to $20.8 billion in 2020.

Factors driving this growth — and driving ISVs to the cloud — include:

  • Lower costs compared to maintaining your own servers and infrastructure
  • Easier and more cost-effective scalability
  • Faster deployment
  • Increased redundancy/lower risk of lost data

However, with all of the cloud providers in this growing market courting you for your business, it can make choosing a cloud provider a tougher decision. To help make the right cloud provider choice for your ISV, answer these five questions:

IaaS or PaaS?

First, find out exactly what the cloud provider is offering. IaaS is basically virtualized infrastructure; PaaS is a cloud-based, managed operating environment. Both require you to maintain less hardware on site and allow you to scale computing resources more easily. With PaaS, however, you have access to development tools that help you build things faster. With IaaS, you are in control of the development environment — you only use the provider’s cloud-based infrastructure. Choose the service that best align with your business.

Also be aware that “as-a-Service” offerings aren’t standardized. One IaaS provider’s services could be different than another’s. When choosing a cloud provider, make sure you have a clear pictures of what each service includes, as well as the service level the provider will guarantee.

Will it Make Your Work Easier … or Harder?

Migrating development projects to the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean they will be simpler to complete. Will the cloud provider’s environment support the work you do or will you have to adapt your work to use it? Are you comfortable with the interface? Does it seem like the cloud provider has created an environment for enterprise clients rather than developers who may need more flexibility?

When choosing a cloud provider also research the support that’s available for developers such as dedicated technical support team or a developer community. Resources for developers are an indication that the cloud provider is committed to helping you succeed and that they’re ready to provide technical assistance and advice when needed.

What are the Provider’s Security Policies?

It seems like IaaS or PaaS security should be a given. The level of security, however, may differ. Make sure the cloud provider has specific security certifications if you are doing work that requires them. Also ask about security policies the cloud provider has established, including disaster recovery and physical security, and request a copy of an audit to make sure the cloud provider is in compliance with all security requirements.

How Transparent is Pricing?

If you’ve made progress toward choosing a cloud provider, and you’ve reached the point where you have a few that contenders for your business, the next step is to compare costs. Research exactly what’s included in the “list’ price and all additional costs associated with the service to make an informed comparison. Also ask how services are billed to confirm that you can keep an eye on exactly what you are paying for.

How Easily Can You Make a Change?

Something you may not be thinking about when you’re choosing a cloud provider is how easy it will be to change cloud providers if needed. When DevPro Journal polled ISVs, we found reasons for making a change were related to issues such as pricing model, branding, and access to new development tools. ISVs also told us the process can be long and may take a lot of preplanning to ensure it goes smoothly. Investigate this upfront so you can enter into a partnership with a cloud provider fully informed.

The cloud offers ISVs a variety of advantages, but how much your business can benefit hinges on choosing the right partner. Don’t take the decision lightly. Thoroughly research each service and weigh your options carefully before committing to a cloud provider for development projects.