AWS Cloud Cover

Oct 31 2014   9:21PM GMT

Making cloud choices for midsized businesses

Jan Stafford Jan Stafford Profile: Jan Stafford

IT consultant Dr. Sheryl Kitchen talked about the benefits of AWS and Rackspace cloud services for midsized businesses in our recent conversation. Midsized businesses, those with over $50 million in revenue, should look for cloud providers with proven track records for like-sized enterprises, as well as trial periods and seamless integration, said Kitchen, who has worked in senior management positions with NetApp, Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

A midsized business needs to ensure the cloud provider can meet the service level commitments of customers’ end users. Some typical service level demands include:

  •  How long can I expect a restore of service in the event of an outage or disruption in service?
  • What can I expect in levels of uptime 99.9% or 99.999%?

Those indicators of reliability and disaster recovery are must-have criteria for midsized businesses. “Ensure that the cloud provider can meet these service level commitments to your end users,” Kitchen said.

Amazon Web Services and Rackspace Managed Cloud services are two providers with strong track records in this sector, said Kitchen.

“Rackspace has deployed managed cloud services with companies such as Fujifilm, Six Flags, Dominos and others,” Kitchen told me. “Amazon has a portfolio that ranges from small, midsize and enterprise businesses including Nokia, NASA, Pfizer, Comcast and Pinterest.”

Both Rackspace and AWS provide the ability to see how well a midsized business’ existing application will work in their environment. Each has tiers of services, which enable risk-reducing, step-by-step adoption and investment. “With either, you can have a cloud environment up and running in a very short time,” Kitchen said. In addition both companies offer the ability to expand or decrease services as required based upon the needs of the business.

Of course, Kitchen said, AWS and Rackspace are just two of the many companies with competent solutions. A test drive is the most important evaluation tool, she advised. Don’t choose a provider which doesn’t let you try before you buy.

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