Evaluating_cloud_service-providersIn a recent webinar, Internap and our guest, Forrester Research’s James Staten, reviewed the cloud service provider landscape and discussed how hybridization is shaping cloud deployment strategies.

IT decision makers evaluating cloud service providers need a clear understanding of how cloud can support business drivers, but in many cases, a hybrid approach may be the best choice. Choosing a provider with a breadth of services beyond cloud will give your business more flexibility and control in the future.

“Cloudy” service offerings

As cloud service providers race to meet the growing demands of businesses, the definition of the term “cloud” is becoming blurry. The practice of “cloud washing” – when providers simply add “cloud” to existing service offerings – creates confusion in the marketplace and muddies the waters as to what cloud is and what it isn’t. Enterprises and SMBs are challenged to look beneath the surface and find out if the solution will actually meet their needs.

Evaluating cloud service providers

To further complicate matters, a cloud environment isn’t always the best fit. Even if your infrastructure could migrate completely to the cloud, this option may not be the most cost-effective choice in the long run.

For example, a hybrid environment can be more cost effective for a typical ecommerce business. Let’s look at a cost analysis for an ecommerce site infrastructure and compare three different environments – public cloud only, colocation only and hybrid.

In this scenario, the ecommerce site has predictable levels of demand for 95% of the year and higher peak demand for 5% of the year. Assumptions include dedicated firewalls, dedicated load balancers, web servers, application and cache servers, and database servers.

Colocation – Utilization is low and there is a significant amount of unused resources since the infrastructure is built to handle peak demand.
Public Cloud – Utilization is high, but allows the company to only use what it needs. Effective utilization is achieved, but at a high cost.
Hybrid – Combining both colocation and cloud provides high utilization at a lower cost than either option alone.

The bottom line is to do what’s best for the application instead of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. When evaluating cloud service providers, choose one that encompasses hybrid infrastructure capabilities as well as cloud hosting solutions.

To learn more about selecting the right cloud service provider, watch the on-demand webinar, Surveying the Cloud Service Provider Landscape featuring our guest, Forrester Research’s James Staten.