• 08/15/2014
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The Headaches Of Multiple Cloud Services

IT professionals and users alike understand the benefits of cloud services. However, migrating several IT services to the cloud can create more pain than you might expect.

The many benefits of cloud IT services make their appeal widespread to enterprises large and small. In fact, today many enterprises are not debating whether they should migrate their IT services to the cloud, but how many IT services they should migrate. The availability of disparate types of cloud services -- from file sharing to communications and collaboration services -- means these discussions span across all areas of IT.

And while one cloud service may work well, and several may work great, the opposite can also be true when something goes wrong. Let's explore some of the real headaches that can occur when migrating multiple IT services to the cloud.

Headache 1: Inconsistent service attributes
While the features of each cloud service are important and have to be evaluated, there is a whole other side of them that IT must evaluate: service attributes. Service attributes include security, reliability, availability, scalability, quality of service (QoS), support, and service level agreements (SLAs). These seven attributes will determine how well a service will perform for its end-users. More importantly, they will determine how much time and energy will be required by IT resources to maintain the service. Ideally, you want to select cloud services that all meet or exceed your enterprise's seven service attribute requirements.

Headache 2: Crosstalk
You may run into the problem of inter-service "crosstalk," or cross-service interference. This can happen when multiple services compete for the same resource, such as bandwidth or network router processing power. Eventually one wins out, and the other services suffer in terms of actual operation or QoS. Service crosstalk can be virtually impossible to figure out, because the cloud providers in question are unlikely to understand the intricate inter-relationship of their service with the other service providers' services. Evaluate each service and its critical resource requirements. Be sure to match those to your enterprise's resources before adding the service.


NEXT PAGE: Headaches 3 & 4




Arthur, are there certain types of cloud services that typically require more critical resources? 

Service attributes

Service attributes include security, reliability, availability, scalability, quality of service (QoS), support, and service level agreements (SLAs).

@Arthur: I agree to your point about Service attributes, but with same most of the CSP lag in SLA and Support, where do you think is scope of improvement as every service provider is trying best.

Re: Service attributes

Hi Aditshar1,

Thanks for your question, I do agree that most, if not all Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), are trying their best.  I think "trying" is not an issue.  As a business CSP, we must constantly try to improve our 7 key service attributes for our customers.  Support is a great attribute to talk about.  With companies going global and employees both mobile and armed with mobile devices that allow them to be accessible 24/7, CSPs must address the changing need to deliver support 24/7, instead of the traditional 8 hr work week.  Utilizing global support resources can help alleviate some of the direct costs of providing a 24/7 support capability.  For Service Level Agreements (SLA), CSPs can add confidence building statements that ensure a customer can receive compensation should their service fall below a level of quality unacceptable to a business.  As a business-class CSP, we can turn these often overlooked areas into clear advantages for our customers.  Thanks!  Artie

Re: crosstalk

Hi MarciaNWC,

Absolutely.  Some services, like communication services, depend on things like low latency and absolutely bandwidth in order to function properly.  Other services, like file sharing, depend on a service providers aggregate bandwidth and distribution strategy across all their storage locations.  I would say any service that has an element of "real-time" to it is going to require more critical resources at every part of the cloud solution.  So not only at the data centers, but also the bandwidth (and quality of that bandwidth) as well as the local networking equipment (does it have QoS capability) level too.  Thanks for the question, Artie.

Re: crosstalk

Thanks for those details Artie. So it seems that in addition to making sure local resources can handle the cloud service, an organization needs to do plenty of due diligence on the cloud provider's architecture.

Re: crosstalk

Selecting the right provider is not an easy task, we have plenty of players here, the idea here is to determine who is really fit for your requirement. There's must be some sort of procedures and IT best practices in choosing the right one. 

Re: crosstalk

Hi NetCrawl,

You're absolutely correct, not all service providers are the same and choosing the right one for your company needs to be done with forethought and analysis.  We see a number of our customers doing just that.  The seven key service attributes most of them evaluate for a cloud service provider are: Reliability, Availability, Scalability, Security, Quality of Service, Service Level Agreements and Support.  Each company should evaluate what their minimum requirements are for each of these service attributes and then determine whether a prospective service provider's profile fits.

Cloud services money pit. Period-level bracketing

The pricing models are getting really complicated. Some service providers are using the same tricks as cell carriers with customer contracts.

Some customers rather than evaluating multi-period service contracts at the contract-level, customers use period-level bracketing.

Standard economic theory assumes that a customer evaluates payments and benefits at the contract level and is indifferent about the distribution of payments and benefits within acontract, so long as the total net discounted value of the contract remains the same.

But some people are looking at cloud contracts the same way people look at the down payment for a new iPhone when choosing a two-year contract, not realizing that is cheaper to buy the iPhone at full retail price and choose a MVNO with no contract obligations.