5 key points to look for in a cloud service

With the cloud buzz going around, it has become usual that some of my friends ask me how they can choose between so many different services. Of course I have already evangelized them about the advantages, so now they just want help to pick the best service…

My first answer should be: wait for Lunacloud to become commercial. But I try to be fair with other providers, so I outline the 5 key factors that everyone should look for before deciding what service to bond to:

  1. Interoperability. This is one of the most important technological questions you have to answer to ensure a long and successful life for you service or product. Never bet on a software that makes you work on a silo, even if it is a very nice and strong one. The databases, programming environment and languages must be standard, and the data should flow free between different services. If you need to change providers, you should not be attached to proprietary software.
  2. Reliability. Verify all the standards provided by the company and the certifications they have. In the cloud the services must be on almost 100% of the time, with fast access from users (meaning low network latency to your cloud services). Don’t forget that databases and personal information must comply with the security requirements of each local legislation of the countries where you want to provide your service.
  3. Security. What kind of security measures does the provider offer? What about the physical data centers security? And do they have different locations to storage the data, with redundancy? How qualified are the team that runs the datacenter? These are some of the questions you must be asking to your provider. In the end of the day it will be your name that comes around if something goes wrong with your service.
  4. Future proof. If you want your service to last for many years, and I am sure you do, check that the technology used is “future proof” and not some outdated infrastructure.
  5. Price. In today’s economic scenario this is one of the first issues that may people, and many companies, look for. It is not the only element that matters, but if all the rest checks OK you should go for the provider that gives you the same service for less money. And the differences exist.

I hope this helps guiding on most of the concerns and questions when you are looking for a cloud provider, although my friends can keep asking me for some more insights… I can always charge them for a beer.

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