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How to Choose an IaaS Provider

Infrastructure is a key part of every IT department before cloud or DevOps is even considered. Serving as the backbone of IT, it’s these components that keep every system running.

In recent years, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) has become a competitive and popular space, led by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and their affordable and reliable offerings. Nonethelss, no matter which platform you end up adopting, there are several considerations that need to be made. We cover them here:

  • Consideration #1: Pricing – Migrating to the cloud is pointless if you’re unable to enjoy the associated cost savings. You need a very good sense of your basic compute, storage, and networking needs from the outset; otherwise, forget about direct comparisons among IaaS providers. Options available to you will include hard disk space, RAM, 32-bit or 64-bit, and more. There may also be discounts to consider and the ability to reserve infrastructure in advance. Additionally, you’ll also need to consider how much bandwidth you’ll be using.
  • Consideration #2: Service Level Agreements – Support and uptime are critical for your infrastructure, depending on the industry. Some providers have different levels of guaranteed uptime for compute and storage while others have policies depending on refund for downtime. To get the most out of an infrastructure provider’s service level agreement, avail yourself of whatever free trials are available. Tweak your configurations, explore and determine the features you need, and calculate and recalculate pricing, especially if you plan to run heavy workloads over the long term. Make notes of any latency and technical issues that arise.
  • Consideration #3: Compute Options – IaaS providers vary widely in the features they offer. However, what you really want are prebuilt services, such as the database you need, so you can plug and go without burning endless upload, installation, maintenance, and configuration time. However, the biggest consideration for compute options lie in scalability That’s why an auto-scaling service — which spawns more instances automatically in response to increased demand — is a great feature to have.
  • Consideration #4: Storage and Networking Services – Migrating to the cloud means bracing for more data usage. You’ll find that most providers now support both object and block storage. Both respectively support multimedia and high performance applications, a critical part of daily operations. Additionally, there’s also Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), which enables you to set up multiple subnets with appropriate security tiers and select your own IP address ranges for better connectivity to data centers. For more media-intensive organizations, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) may also be helpful.
  • Consideration #5: Database and Application Development Services – You can upload almost any database software you like to the cloud — but it’s much better to have database services maintained by the IaaS provider and ready to deploy. SQL databases are fairly common with many choices to pick from. For application developer services, partner PaaS solutions often play a role. Depending on their coding languages, you may or may not find a fit.

In closing, IaaS solutions continue to evolve and providers will continue to add new features that make cloud migration more attractive. If any of these describe your considerations, let us know in the comments below.

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Albert Qian

Albert Qian is a Marketing Manager at Perficient for our IBM PCS, DevOps, and Enterprise Solutions Partners focused on cloud computing technologies.

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