I have been talking directly to many users of cloud servers lately. They seem to all share the same story.
It is a great idea, but the long term financial risk is great. And no one likes a surprise invoice.
The leading providers of Cloud Servers and Storage do make it easy to use them. What they don’t tell you are all of the different billing and measurement techniques that are being used to determine what to bill you for.
For example, you can set up an instance of a server in some cases for either no charge or a small charge. So far so good… but, add some traffic and utilization and voila, a $ 15,000 per month bill. Obviously not something that you would have signed up for.
When signing up for a Cloud Server it is best to get acquainted with the respective providers language:
Here is an example:
Start with what they call an on-demand license, this essentially is the server, from there you pick or best anticipate your volume, this is often stated in Standard, Micro, or high demand. Then, pick or anticipate your memory usage on this platform. Then, pick or anticipate your CPU utilization. And last but not least, pick or anticipate the total amount of bandwidth needed by each server or instance. Remember to pick or anticipate the total bandwidth inbound (in) or outbound (out).
Note the use of the term ‘anticipate’. Make sure you are not wrong.
With all that said, price does often reign as the most important influence on the selection of a service provider for cloud servers and storage but there are four others.
Guarantee an agreed-upon level of customer service.
Do you need “five-nines” of availability (99.999% uptime), or can you make do with lower levels of performance to save money? Make sure you understand what a half hour (or 10 minutes) of service interruption every month (or every three months) could mean to your business.
Frontier’s thought: Pick your platform, pick your server design and pick the locations which you would like to store your servers or virtual instances. With us you can ‘pick’ your level of diversity and scale from there.
Offer flexibility regarding the length and structure of an agreement.
Make sure you understand the billing basics and how different levels of service and different levels of use, including number of users, will change your costs. The predictability of costs is an important benefit of outsourced services, but it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure you understand all the cost components from the start.
Frontier’s thought: We are one of the very few ‘flat rate’ cloud based service providers. This means, the number on your contract is the number that will be on your bill. You pick your platform, pick your bandwidth and pick your location and that is it.
Make certain to have an “exit strategy” to ensure a smooth transition for the end of the relationship with a service provider.
Changes in the environment may make it necessary for you to bring capabilities back in-house. This should be set forth ahead of time to guarantee the secure return of your data and any other resources that may be under the care of a service provider. It is critical that this provision survive beyond the life of a service provider so that your data remains secure.
Frontier’s thought: Our physical servers can be ‘removed’ at any time by you and relocated to another facility (either our own, yours or any third party) during the agreement. We know that requirements change – we want to be flexible.