Editor’s Note: In a previous post, John Cupit explored the first three KPIs for evaluating cloud and managed hosting providers. In this post, John explores the final two KPIs that can serve as a starting point for your evaluation process.
Over the past nine years, I have developed a list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs – I also sometimes refer to them as “flags”) that I use in my personal evaluation of a Cloud or Managed Hosting provider. Over time I have developed KPIs that are critical in terms of selecting a viable Cloud or Managed Hosting provider. In a previous post I covered the first three KPIs. Here I discuss the depth of skills necessary in selecting a cloud and managed hosting partner and the importance of CCMPs.
KPI 4 – Engineering Gravity. A Cloud and Managed Hosting provider has to be a strategic partner in order to effectively assist you in reaching your strategic objectives. “Strategic Partner” from my perspective suggests that the provider must possess engineering gravity – that means being deep and wide with respect to skill sets and an ability to manage customer environments as the partner finds them.
I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth as I write this. But the fact remains that any significant limitation in managing specific platforms, middleware, and applications is a weakness. Quite frankly, I have never understood why Cloud and Managed Hosting providers aren’t more organized like system integrators as opposed to ISPs. I look for Cloud and Managed Hosting providers who can understand and operate the customer environment “as-is,” but who have sufficient engineering gravity to support the necessary changes to the BC/DR plan or to the new data replication requirements of the managed environment. The provider must have the engineering chops to own the design and deployment of new technologies and services for the customer in the future. If the provider requires the customer to be responsible for the design and deployment of new technologies and services, my advice is to not to walk, but run, away.
KPI 5 – Does the provider support a Common Cloud Management Platform? “We support the REST API.” I am really tired of reading Cloud and Managed Hosting providers responses to RFP questions with respect to how they manage cloud services which refer to support of the REST API. “We support vCloud connector” runs a close second.
The provider must have the engineering chops to own the design and deployment of new technologies...
The key factor that I look for is whether the Cloud and Managed Hosting provider supports a Common Cloud Management Platform (CCMP) which demonstrates appropriate functionality to accelerate migration to the cloud or managed hosting environment. In short, I look for the following functionality from the CCMP:
From the customer perspective, I evaluate the following factors to determine the strength of the proposed CCMP:
From my perspective, this KPI helps to determine the speed at which applications and data can be migrated to the Cloud and Managed Hosting provider. It also provides a readout of the degree of complexity of providing appropriate management dashboards within the customer’s global operations center.
Most large Enterprises clearly understand Cloud and Managed Hosting models and the technologies that are used to sustain their operation. The difficulty in selecting a Cloud and Managed Hosting provider is the necessity to filter all of the marketing fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) surrounding the offered services and understanding the KPIs that indicate the potential for successful selection. While these KPIs may not always be applicable, they do tend to be a great starting point as you evaluate and select a Cloud and Managed Hosting Provider.
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