Navigating the Cloud Vendor Landscape

Businesses often believe in the need to implement the latest innovation in the IT landscape because doing so will hopefully resolve numerous issues and provide firms with a competitive advantage. Although not all technologies truly align with these capabilities, cloud computing is an exception because everything is being positioned to make its way into the hosted landscape sooner or later.

For this reason, it is important that enterprise executives understand which cloud models will deliver the most benefits: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings. Although all these solutions promise to deliver a new level of functionality, IaaS will have a particularly important role to play in tomorrow's business world.

TechTarget highlighted how SaaS represents the traditional "make versus buy" scenario, and PaaS can sometimes be too complicated for organizations, especially if those agencies are smaller and less experienced. IaaS, on the other hand, enables companies to outsource their infrastructure, which is a critical factor in day-to-day operations.

At the same time, the growing need for infrastructure services has led the cloud market in general to be crowded with vendors, forcing decision-makers to take their time in locating the right partner, TechTarget noted. When selecting an IaaS provider, for example, there are several characteristics that executives should watch for.

Finding the right IaaS partner
Infoworld noted that organizations looking for an IaaS provider need to consider their fundamental needs, especially any financial restrictions that may prevent them from selecting certain vendors. Although pricing can be a difficult metric to weigh, forward-thinking decision-makers should enter the IaaS market with a reasonable understanding of their basic computing, storage, and underlying networking needs. In doing so, companies may be able to more accurately measure one service against another.

Executives also need to consider their network, application, and bandwidth requirements when selecting a cloud infrastructure service, Infoworld stated. If organizations don't have a firm grasp on their network traffic levels, for example, they may end up selecting a vendor that doesn't necessarily support their specific needs.

Analysts often predict the IaaS segment of the cloud computing market will grow the fastest, largely because companies need a scalable and flexible infrastructure to survive in today's fast-paced and highly technical business world. Because this trend mean the IaaS landscape will likely become even more crowded with providers, it will be important for decision-makers to know how to select a reliable and efficient partner that will meet the unique demands of their organization.

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