How to achieve an effective cloud deployment

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Getting the best possible performance from your cloud deployment should run in tandem with conducting regular assessments and audits.

Making a successful switch to public or hybrid cloud goes beyond choosing the right provider. It requires effective cloud deployment, in order that costs are managed.

To benefit from the switch, a cloud deployment must be scalable within an organisation – not just within internal IT, or Dev/Ops, or a line-of-business. Each group has different uses for cloud services so the selected technology provider must deliver powerful capabilities – supporting policies and governance, automation and advanced features to manage consumption and performance.

The ideal IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) is a single platform that delivers cloud infrastructure, platform services, integration and governance all in one. It is key to choose the cloud provider carefully to achieve the ITaaS benefits needed.

Organisations can use the technology provider’s own tools to manage their public cloud, including handling access, configurations, change policies and profiles. Alternatively, businesses can work with a cloud-services broker to set up roles and policies, and enforce those using a policy engine. With the second approach, you introduce additional cost and complexity that may not be needed.

Setting guidelines regarding service level agreements (SLAs) with cloud providers is key for effective cloud management. Avoid working with a cloud provider who doesn’t offer business-grade SLAs, as it adds risk of downtime, with no accountability or recourse to the cloud vendor. If you operate in one geographic area, choose a cloud service that offers a high-availability solution within that zone, rather than paying for a more expensive multi-region deployment you don’t need.

It is essential to partner with a cloud-service provider offering industry-leading SLAs that will support business-critical applications running in a single cloud zone.

As a customer reviewing SLAs, take note of these guidelines. First, consider your own policies around data preservation, redundancy, location, seizure and privacy. Be clear about your policy on guarantees, services covered, excess usage, payment and penalty methods, subcontracted services, licensed software and industry-specific standards.*

It’s also likely that different SLAs may apply to Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service, since business demands on these may vary.

When it comes to SLAs, consider these three: what metrics can measure performance objectives, how to deal with security breaches or service outages and how to get out of the service contract if the cloud provider isn’t delivering.

Getting the best possible performance from your cloud deployment doesn’t stop there. It’s important to conduct regular assessments and audits. This helps ensure the cloud provider is meeting the agreed standards and the cloud is delivering on expectations.

For example, Cloud Spectator gave our company a strong CloudSpecs Score™ versus nine other cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers tested. The CloudSpecs Score compares performance against cost to identify the highest performing, lowest cost cloud provider. CenturyLink’s score of 100 outstripped other established players including Azure (50), Amazon (49) and IBM SoftLayer (40).**

This statistic demonstrates that it is possible to halve the costs of cloud deployment and achieve the same performance, or double the performance for the same cost. This is important for organisations migrating to the cloud for efficiency and savings.


** Cloud Spectator: Cloud performance and value comparison: comparing 9 major IaaS vendors with data centers in Europe, May 2016

Stuart Mills, Regional Sales Director, ANZ, CenturyLink