This is the second part in our IaaS feature, where we talk about the rising popularity of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), how companies are using it to accelerate innovation, and what to look for in a service partner.
Read part one of this feature – IaaS: You’ve come a long way, baby
There are three options available in IaaS: public cloud, internal private cloud, and hosted private cloud.
To build and manage your own private cloud, you will either need the skills in-house or hire an IT outsourcer or systems integrator.
Managed IaaS is a subscription and support contract, where the service provider actively supports you in getting the most out of your infrastructure.
The options can seem complicated, with almost limitless configurations available. In reality, it’s a fairly simple exercise to determine what you need.
Run through BigAir’s IaaS checklist list of areas to determine what you need, and what you can manage without, or plan for a future IaaS design.
Determine your networking/computer/storage needs
- Do you run a single production environment from your business premises or at an off-site Data Centre?
- Is your main concern freeing up internal resources or creating new environments quickly?
- Is your infrastructure ageing?
- Are you relocating and need backup or to replace existing infrastructure?
Mitigating privacy and security risks
- Do you have unsecured wireless networks that need securing?
- Does the service provider offer data-in-transit encryption?
- Is there provision for a secure tunnel or VPN?
- Do you have education initiatives to ensure employees protect organisation and customer data and privacy?
- What is your company policy on lost or stolen devices? Do you have one? Consider incorporating multi-factor authentication with location and device based implementations.
What are your legal risks?
- What contracts are required for clients if you are offering services via managed IaaS?
- Does the service providers have liabilities spelled out in their contracts for SLAs?
- Will your data reside in Australia so you can be sure you operate within any legal governance for which you are committed?
- What is your budget for infrastructure upgrades (consider future ageing) versus subscription costs? Don't forget the opportunity cost of losing infrastructure due to ageing equipment, slow applications and no capacity.
- Calculate the resource savings from reducing IT maintenance overheads – include extra infrastructure for monitoring / backups / cooling / data centre / etc.
- Consider the opportunity of charge-back arrangements to internal departments or clients.
- What systems do you want to outsource?
- How important are those systems to your business’s core objectives?
- Can the vendor you’re considering provide you with everything you need?
- Do you have the necessary resources to train your staff in the use of IaaS?
- What processes, systems, and applications will you need to change in order to implement IaaS?
- Will you need to upgrade any of your existing infrastructure to use IaaS?
Selecting the right partner
Determined that you need a service provider? Then carefully consider the alternatives, as selecting the right IaaS partner is critical to a headache-free partnership. You are potentially entrusting this company with the future of your business – you cannot afford to make a bad choice.
How experienced are your internal resources?
- Will you require provider support with training and maintaining your infrastructure?
- Will the resources needed to manage your provider outweigh the experience of your current staff?
- Compare pricing options for your compute workloads
- Does the provider include managed services and support for VMs within the pricing?
- Can you offset pricing with internal savings?
- What are the upload/download limits? What are the charges for exceeding these?
- What are their on-boarding processes?
- Are professional services engineers and project management provided?
- Are there charges for data ingress/egress?
Shared security considerations
- Do you get access to a dedicated and private network?
- Is your data separated from other customers’ data?
- Do you have dedicated virtual firewalls for perimeter security?
- Do they have another geographically separated data centre for data recovery and business continuity?
- Does management include Operating System patching, antivirus, backups, monitoring, incident and change management?