The Cloud (Part 5): Choosing Your Cloud Vendor

The Cloud (Part 5): Choosing Your Cloud Vendor

Previous posts in this series have covered the state of cloud adoption in the UK, misconceptions regarding the cloud, the importance of strategy and the staging posts in your journey to the cloud.

In the final part of the series, we look at the criteria to consider when choosing a cloud vendor, highlighting these by saying a few words about Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

Choosing a Cloud Supplier

In the UK and globally, the cloud vendor market has become crowded with a large number of suppliers competing for share in a rapidly growing market. No fewer than 42 providers are listed as members on the UK Cloud Industry Forum web site.

While still fragmented, market concentration is taking place. Globally, the top four providers account for over fifty per cent of worldwide market share – Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Google. Twenty other companies account for an additional 25 per cent of the market including Alibaba, AT&T, BT, Fujitsu, NTT, Oracle, Rackspace, Salesforce and others.

With so much choice available, it is important to develop a checklist of criteria for choosing the most appropriate cloud vendor relevant to the specific needs of your own organisation.

A very useful list has been developed by Microsoft under four main categories:

  • Business health and processes
  • Administration support
  • Technical capabilities and processes
  • Security practices

The figure below summarises the main criteria under each heading. 

Figure 1: Criteria for Choosing a Cloud Vendor

Figure 1: Criteria for Choosing a Cloud Vendor 

As discussed in previous articles in this series, the move from on-premise IT services to cloud computing is an important strategic decision for your organisation. The cloud provides the foundation and infrastructure for future digital business transformation. It is critical to get your choice of vendor right.

About Microsoft Azure

Different options should be considered. At Bridgeall, we would encourage you to consider Microsoft Azure as one of those options.

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform running on a network of Microsoft managed datacentres as shown in Figure 2 below.

As reported in a recent blog post, the company opened its first UK datacentres in September of this year.  View the pictorial tour of inside one of Microsoft’s Cloud Data centres.

Figure 2: Worldwide Location of Microsoft Data centres (click to enlarge)

Figure 2: Worldwide Location of Microsoft Data centres (click to enlarge)

According to Bridgeall’s highly experienced Azure delivery team, the following benefits would be derived from effective use of the Microsoft platform.

  • Reduced costs – using a ‘pay as you go’ model, Azure reduces upfront costs by replacing the costs associated with infrastructure, procurement and support with a subscription based model.
  • Scalability & flexibility – Azure provides the ability to have the right level of compute power without having more resources running than you actually need. A Virtual Machine (VM) can be automatically brought online at peak periods and shutdown when not required. Applications can also be very quickly deployed with the option to run additional test environments for short periods if required.
  • Availability – Servers and data are replicated multiple times within datacentres and also geographically distributed across datacentres to ensure the application is always available. You do not need to worry about data loss in the event of a major datacentre disaster. Microsoft also provides a 24×7 99.95% uptime guarantee.
  • Security – Security and privacy are embedded into the development of Azure. It meets a broad set of international and industry specific compliance standards, including ISO 27001, ISO/IEC 27018, UK G-Cloud, SOC 1 and SOC 2.
  • Interoperability – Azure supports open standards and Internet protocols, such as HTTP, XML, SOAP, and REST and can easily be developed to integrate with on-premise applications.

More detail about Azure can be found on the Microsoft website.

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.

Concluding Comments

We hope that you have found our recent series of blog posts on the cloud to be interesting and useful. View The Cloud: Parts 1 to 4.

You can find more information on the cloud services and support provided by Bridgeall here.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any help in your journey to the cloud.