Enterprise cloud hosting has become an important IT solution for over 60% of large organisations. Its appeal is underpinned by the removal of capital expenditure, the outsourcing of IT management and exceptional scalability: these being just some of its many benefits. Finding the right solution, however, is a task that takes some consideration, especially if it involves migration from an on-site datacentre. Here, we’ll look at eight features a provider should offer in an enterprise cloud hosting solution.
1. Expert technical support
As a managed service, some of the IT tasks involved in managing an enterprise cloud hosting solution will be undertaken by the provider. It will ensure the hardware and networking infrastructure is effectively managed and maintained, monitor the server and ensure the operating system is updated and patched. This reduces the burden on enterprises, effectively leaving them with the task of administering their applications.
While this division of responsibilities has obvious benefits, it will only work effectively if the provider and the organisation can communicate on a technical level. Should an issue arise, companies need to be confident that the provider has the necessary expertise not just to understand and deal with the problem, but to do so through collaboration with their in-house team. What’s more, this expert technical support needs to be available 24/7, every day of the year, and accessible through various channels, including telephone, live chat, email and ticket.
2. High availability with top-class performance
The quality of a provider’s hardware environment plays a significant role in the availability and performance of cloud hosted applications. This is particularly important if companies intend to use a cloud system to run resource-hungry applications or critical applications which need to be online all the time.
When considering performance, look for Key features of high-performance hardware, like Intel Xeon CPUs and enterprise-class SSD storage. For high availability, look for a hyper-converged infrastructure; its self-healing architecture will ensure critical apps have 100% uptime.
3. Pay per use scalability
A major attraction of enterprise cloud hosting is that it enables organisations to scale up instantly. Additional resources needed to cope with peaks in demand or to undertake resource-heavy workloads like data analytics can be had at the click of a mouse.
What enterprises should ensure, however, is that they can scale down again just as easily as scaling up and that any additional resources are only charged for on a pay per use basis. In this model, where cloud resources are provided in a similar way to electricity from an energy supplier, enterprises only pay for what they use, enabling them to scale back and cut costs during less busy times.
4. Compliance and security
With the ICO having issued fines as large as £183 million to companies that have suffered data breaches and failed to comply with GDPR, enterprises need to ensure that any IT solution they put in place is secure and compliant.
While responsibility lies with the organisation, a good cloud vendor can put in place a number of security measures to help the cloud system stay secure. The most important of these being an advanced firewall, such as the FortiGate Next-Generation firewall which provides application security, intrusion, malware and botnet protection, web security and web filtering.
5. Industry-leading control panel
Control panels are the administrative hub of a cloud environment and a high-quality product offers both a wide range of tools to manage the system and a user-friendly interface that simplifies the tasks needing to be done.
The quality of the control panel, therefore, should be one of the factors under consideration when choosing a solution. While many providers have developed in-house control panels of their own, it can be more beneficial to choose one of the two industry leaders: cPanel and Plesk. With years of development behind them and regular upgrades, they offer an unparalleled range of features and usability, and many of the hosting companies which provide them have experts fully trained in their use.
6. Help with migration
For any enterprise considering migrating from an in-house datacentre to the cloud, or between two different providers, the process can be technically challenging. There may be compatibility issues between the cloud operating system and older applications, as well as the potential disruption of services, especially when attempting to maintain services while transferring the large volumes of data they use.
Look for a solution where the provider gives expert, technical assistance with the migration process. This will ensure that the move takes place smoothly and on schedule and that potential issues are discovered before they become major problems.
Though enterprise cloud hosting generally works out less expensive than running an on-site datacentre, price is a factor when procuring a cloud hosting service. As a criterion, however, it should not take precedence over the quality of the hosting provider’s solution. If a migration to the cloud is to be successful, the hosting solution has to be the right fit for the organisation. Enterprises should be aware, therefore, that no two providers or solutions are the same.
Enterprise cloud hosting is a key contributor to digital transformation, enabling organisations to make considerable improvements to their operations. Choosing the right provider ensures they have access to the latest technologies, expert support and scalable resources, with the added benefits of managed services, improved security and reduced capital expenditure.
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