Shopping Advice for the Cloud

Shopping for a cloud service provider? What could be easier than following a list of key features for every buyer to consider?

First of all, let me say you’re certainly not the only one scoping things out.

Even though cloud IT spending is a small part of overall IT expenditures (5%), its growth is outdoing all other areas of IT sales. Sales of cloud-related technology are growing at 26% yearly – six times the rate of IT spending overall, says IDC’s Cloud Services Overview report.  The report predicts $44.2 billion in global spend on cloud technologies by 2013, up from $17.5 billion last year.

Anyway, to help out, here are four key things to look for in cloud services – whether you go private, public or hybrid:

1. Application Integration

This is important, although it may not be the first thing that IT pros think about when migrating to the cloud.  Integration isn’t just batch-processing data moving between applications. Rather, what’s critical is provisioning and managing all your users from a single location across apps. “What you’re looking for is take your schema and map it to PeopleSoft or another application so you can get more functional integration,” according to Tom Fisher, vice president of cloud computing at, a business-application SaaS provider in San Mateo, Calif., who was quoted in an article I read.

2. Security

The next most important item on your list should be a cloud provider that can securely connect without completely merging individual networks. Check whether the cloud provides layers of security, including:

  • multifactor authentication,
  • identity brokers,
  • access management
  • or even an external service provider who can provide that high a level of administrative control.

3. Virtualization

Virtual I/O is extremely important, too, because what you’re after is concentrating a lot of bandwidth via one device – and that saves space, power and cabling. It also keeps network performance high and saves money on network gear.

4. Storage

Shop discerningly when it comes to storage provided by cloud services. Storage – if you need a lot of it – is expensive (because you always wind up needing more) in both the virtualization and cloud-building world.

Oh, and let me add another item: 24/7 monitoring of your cloud services is a must! Don’t skimp on that. Look for cloud-based monitoring with plenty of locations globally to monitor your servers and networks, robust notification systems that you’ll get even if your server is down and a host of other features, such as cloud platform monitoring, itself, in an end-to-end system to take care of all your needs.

For more information on what you need, check out Monitis’s cloud-based monitoring services.