Businesses of all sizes are invested in cloud computing. Both the SME and large enterprise segments are relying on cloud giants Microsoft, Amazon and Google to achieve their growth or business agility aspirations. There is a catch, though: a shift from one vendor managing all IT needs to outsourcing to several flexible vendors.
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the cloud, and most enterprises will consider a multitude of layered solutions or architectures: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Consider the cloud as a stacked universe. IaaS provides storage and server infrastructure, PaaS offers platform-level support and the top application layer SaaS services cloud applications. Each technology layer focuses on different issues, and cloud service agreements should consider the purpose and the relevant technology for clients’ benefit.
Although cloud technology underlies everything, each of these stacks – IaaS, PaaS and SaaS -can be outsourced and interlinked with different vendors, and the way this is done involves careful tailoring to customer requirements.
For example, IaaS will need to provide critical back-end functionality, while a SaaS service agreement will focus on application performance and business continuity.
Virtualization can increase IT agility, flexibility, and scalability while creating significant cost savings. Workloads get deployed faster, performance and availability increases and operations become automated, resulting in IT that’s simpler to manage and less costly to own and operate.
Whatever the case, the key to successful cloud outsourcing and contracting is flexibility and scalability, allowing cloud environment to be expanded or contracted as needed. Depending on the requirements, multiple vendors may be a better prospect. However, it may also raise platform integration issues and security concerns.
Clients need to ensure that their cloud vendor has relevant measurements and procedures in place as per the service-level agreement. Also, the cloud service agreement must accurately set out the scope of services being procured and identify any customisations required, if this is a possibility.
The biggest challenge with cloud outsourcing is to merge the cloud provider’s benefits with the client’s objectives and business goals, whereas the outsourcing process can be rather seen as a joint collaboration with mutual benefits. Ensure your cloud services vendor can advise on and support the cloud requirements your business needs to implement.
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