How to choose the right cloud provider?
Here's a good article that describes this challenge and also evaluates what Txture does to reduce this pain. Thanks for sharing Radovan Drsata.
Let us start with a double confirmation. Yes, cloud is becoming the only alternative for a vast majority of the current and future IT solutions. Yes, the journey to cloud can be troublesome or sometimes even dangerous. Therefore, no wonder many managers feel uncomfortable when they are about to cross a sea of uncertainty from their current safe but ageing on-premise embankment to the future cloud environment. Luckily, also here helps the adage: forewarned is forearmed. Nowadays the forewarning is naturally technology supported. The market offers several very solid decision-making platforms where Txture is the one that I was able to test.
But before looking to any solution, let us explore the caveats of the problem of choosing a cloud provider first. As with every choice in a booming market, variety is the classical buyer’s dilemma. Also in Europe, there are at least ten to twenty providers you can seriously consider. AWS, as the “inventor” of the cloud, followed by Microsoft Azure, Google, IBM, DigitalOcean, 1&1 Ionos, UpCloud, NextCloud, Dimension Data, OVH, CenturyLink, Rackspace, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Exoscale…. With cloud, however, the agony of choice is augmented on three extra levels – morphology, technology, and pricology… sorry, I meant pricing :)
The morphology maze starts with the definition of the cloud services itself. Some providers will contend that the cloud starts with offering rack space in a data centre. Others will brand Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) as the real cloud, the next group will claim that only Platform as a Service (PaaS) including managed databases and Kubernetes is to be called cloud today. The last group will go one step further promoting Software as a Service (SaaS), since only here the customer can concentrate on his core business while the provider takes care of everything else.
The agony of technology adds up an additional layer of headaches. Should you go for a reserved or dedicated CPUs or just virtual ones? Is 1ms less latency a real change-maker? Can you survive without GPUs? Is T-shirt sizing for your instances ok, or do you require a free choice of cores and RAM combinations? Are snapshots and backups performed automatically? Can you create, store and upload your own images? When finally these and many more purely technical questions are solved, others rather architectural or legal ones follow. Can you determine which dat acentre to use? Does it need to be in your country? How does it really look like with the blurred conflict between the US Cloud Act and GDPR?
The crowning of the confusion comes when you want to compare pricing. By default – and we cannot blame the providers – each of them sets up a pricing structure that is almost incomparable to anyone else. The devil is here virtually in the detail. Managed Kubernetes, e.g., is a common term but it can be managed in multiple ways (ticketing system, automatic) and it can include a various number of nodes and security features. Data transfer between data centres can be, within one provider, free of charge in one set up but costly with a different architecture. Some utility tools may be included, others to be paid depending on the provider. Choosing and comparing all of these aspects above leads to only one clear conclusion: Without a helping hand, you are very likely to get lost.
Txture, as mentioned above, is an efficient helping hand. This company created a knowledge base decision platform which covers three major areas on your journey to cloud:
Let us focus within this article on the first part only. For the selection of the most fitting provider, The platform offers an intelligent dialogue. This means the decision-maker is prompted to answer many critical questions and based on the answers other questions are asked or left out. The online-questionnaire starts with the hard facts of the required performance. Further, it qualifies a number of soft facts like: “How important is to have a datacentre in your country/area? How important is to be GDPR compliant?” and many more. Based on these hard and soft attributes, this platform calculates a ranked preference list of the best providers including the estimated pricing for each application and calculates scenarios of entire landscapes. I have witnessed a real aha effect of one prospect when seeing Txture at work. It felt like finding a torch while passing a dark forest in the middle of the night. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that one of the largest consulting firms in the world is using Txture as well when advising their enterprise customers on their cloud journey.
If you are further interested in Multi-Cloud pricing and want to know more about the comparability of cloud products and vendors, read our article about "Surviving in the Messy World of Multi-Cloud Pricing".
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