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Enter the Matrix: How to Approach Cloud Services Decision-Making

John Kaufling | | July 3, 2019

Journalists are always looking for the trendiest subjects to write about – it’s called “the news,” after all – and IT journalists are no exception. That’s why there’s so much virtual ink being expended on the subject of cloud services, and a corresponding push to explore how cloud services can benefit your own operations.

 
In some ways it’s reminiscent of Keanu Reeves’ 1999 megahit The Matrix, a world in which everything is virtual. The promise of cloud services is that they’ll take workloads and full business processes from your physical in-house data centers to the “virtual” data centers of off-site providers, where they can be managed more efficiently and with more stable, predictable costs.

Of course, Neo faced a very straightforward choice between two pills. Database managers must make a more nuanced decision between a number of cloud services with different characteristics, and even differing definitions of what exactly constitutes “the cloud.”

A simple list of pros and cons wouldn’t do justice to the problem, nor – even worse – an incompletely informed decision followed by a painful adjustment while you try to make your processes work with the service you’ve chosen.

A more logical approach is to construct a decision-making matrix (there’s that word again) that identifies the key elements of your business processes, and the areas in which cloud services might streamline them, and then applies appropriate weighting to both the potential advantages and disadvantages.

Do you want the virtual equivalent of bare iron that you can roll your existing processes onto without any visible change from the user’s perspective? That’s Infrastructure as a Service.

Are you tired of reinventing the wheel, and want to use an off-the-shelf product to handle routine tasks? That’s Software as a Service.

Do you need the ability to do some customization of your online services? That’s Platform as a Service, and it’s often offered in conjuction with IaaS or SaaS.

Do you want the ability to stand up a self-contained database environment in just a few minutes? That’s Database as a Service.

Even hosting and application management services can be thought of as “the cloud,” offering much of the same functionality as higher profile, large-provider services but arguably with better options for you to control your data and how it’s handled.

Each of these approaches to cloud services has its own strengths and weaknesses, and when decision-making time rolls around you’ll need to take those into account. More importantly you’ll need to go beyond their hypothetical pros and cons to the rubber-meets-road details of how – or even whether – they’ll work for your specific business processes in the real world.

This is where Datavail can help. Our experienced teams have tremendous real-world experience with cloud migrations, and all the various factors that can complicate what’s already a non-trivial project. To choose just one example, do you know right off the top of your head what laws govern the data you hold and where it can be stored?

For a broad overview of the [X]aaS decision-making process, and real-world considerations that can affect your decision, download our white paper, “The Cloud Matrix: Which XaaS Should You Choose?” It’s an eye-opening discussion and can help give you some clarity as you approach the problem. It also highlights some of the ways our collective expertise can help smooth your path to the cloud. After all, even Neo had an outside consultant (Morpheus) to advise him on his decision. Why should you have less?

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