There are several new businesses who begin well in their initial stages and also reach a certain level where they consolidate for a while. However, when the time to take the next big jump arrives, they are stymied owing to a gap in understanding the technology they need to get that spurt for their jump. One of these “gaps” is understanding how a cloud works and which of those providers in the market may be trusted!
Cloud hosting services bring on the table a number of advantages to your business enabling accelerated development of applications, codes, databases etc. The scalability of a cloud facilitates lower turn around times in the development cycle enabling IT to more rapidly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable business demand. Given the differences between cloud and on premise deployments, it is important to partner with the cloud hosting computing services with the right experience.
At CloudBox 99, we believe there are five guiding principles to adhere to while looking out for the cloud service provider who best fits your requirements.
I. Service Level Agreement (SLA)
SLA is possibly the most misunderstood concept around. It is predominantly taken to be a “guarantee” of services, whereas, actually, it is a commitment given by the provider that you as a customer will not be left along if and when things go wrong. Let us accept a fact, however robust a technology maybe, there is a chance it may go wrong. The essence of service is swift response and remediation being facilitated by the service provider. Generally, every hosting company would have a SLA in place. Their character is defined when they are ready to work with customers to modify it if there is a need! Yet another yardstick to measure a SLA is the provider’s level of transparency, and their policy in terms of proactive information being given to consumers of SLA noncompliance and breaches.
II. Customer Service and Tech Support
Every hoster out there claims to have the best possible technical support being given to their customers, there is no end to the superlatives they use. However, cloud hosting is a different beast altogether and many providers are known to offer reactive and paid support only! The questions you need to ask yourself about the prospective cloud service provider are as follows
(a) What level of support do you think you need to work with a cloud server?
(b) Would you be able to manage with FAQ’s / 101’s and knowledgebase or you need more attention?
(c) Do you need managed service or is your internal team skilled enough to ensure your cloud virtual machine functions at all times?
(d) What are the kind of support plans and managed service offerings are available to choose from?
With the ever increasing penetration of cloud based services, it is extremely imperative to know and understand the assistance available before making a decision.
III. Billing Methodology and Pricing
CPU, Memory, Disk Space and Bandwidth are the four elements which make up any cloud hosting service. A majority of the cloud server plans come with these bundled together with a limit on their usage. By billing in simple and transparent units for each resource separately users can see the real computing costs and purchase only what they need. It is always a good idea to understand the requirements of your own usage and buying accordingly, than aim to buy the cheapest plan offered on the web.
Instead of looking at a plethora of plans and their cheap and often impractical pricing, it would be worthwhile to first understand 4 factors – IT Budget, Current IT Goals, Pricing of the Solution, Variations in Pricing. A prudent way of buying from a provider would be to ask for any and every additional feature (s) they may have to be included in the quote along with any exceptions and conditions.
IV. Total Cost of Ownership
More often than not, the advertised pricing may not be the actual price one pays at the end while buying a hosting plan, especially a cloud service. To entice potential customers, the publicized price is often the cost of bare essential services which may not include all that you need to run your business. These “hidden” surprises commonly account for operating system license cost, control panels, data migration charges and most importantly additional I/O and / or inodes.
When one accounts for the actual cost which adds up after a precise and accurate projection of your requirements, there would have been a surge of atleast 20% addition in the cost. This upsets all calculations and estimates of earnings and only ends up inflating your total cost of ownership. A good cloud hosting provider would be clearly articulating their plan’s offerings.
V. Provisioning and Account Set-up
How many times have we heard the axiom – first impression is the last impression. It indeed is true that nothing beats a great first impression. If it is not a good beginning, opportunities would be lost for sure. For a hosting provider, first impression (s) include the website’s design, content, interaction with the sales team and a hassle free online purchase.
Whenever you evaluate a hosting provider, keep in mind the following aspects.
(a) Are the plans and offerings simple and easy to comprehend?
(b) Is the website displaying all the information you need or is it hard to find it?
(c) Did the sales team make an effort to understand your requirement or were they pushing their own “best offer”?
(d) Is the account set-up simple and quick?
Take an informed decision based on the answers you get for the above. You will never go wrong!
CloudBox 99 offers very attractive Cloud Services. Our pedigree and stability makes us an apt service provider for you. Please get in touch with us today!
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