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Gartner's cloud computing evaluation checklist

When it comes to cloud computing evaluation, it's essential to understand offerings available in the market. At the moment, there are primarily three types of cloud computing services offered by vendors. 

While software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) seem to be gaining popularity, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is yet to gain ground in India. However, irrespective of type of services that a CIO opts for in the cloud, this five pointer reality check will be useful for cloud computing evaluation before you sign on the dotted line.
 

Cloud computing evaluation checklist item 1: First item on the cloud computing evaluation checklist is to conduct a thorough check on the availability of resources for your selected model of adoption. For instance, insist on precise information about the overall availability of infrastructure with the service provider in case your requirement is IaaS. You should also be inquisitive about the resources dedicated serving your organization during the cloud computing vendor's evaluation.

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Cloud computing evaluation checklist item 2: There should be transparent communication when it comes to the business continuity and disaster recovery plan. As part of your cloud computing evaluation exercise, begin with how the service provider defines these terms and his mechanisms to deal with disaster. The agreement should clearly state the cloud computing vendor's role in case of disaster recovery.
Cloud computing evaluation checklist item 3: Going ahead, you should finely examine the service level agreement—critically assess the deliverables and consequences of failure in delivery. Penalty points should be clearly stated and discussed in detail to cover operational losses.  A proactive discussion to minimize damage surely helps in case of a mishap, and avoids confusion in later stages.
Cloud computing evaluation checklist item 4: Since payment is the most critical aspect, clearly negotiate this part. Clarify whether you want the cloud computing service's pricing on number of licenses or in the form of a part capex and part opex model. However clichéd it may sound, you should clearly stay away from fly-by-night operators—services are extremely vital and so is their stability, which might incur risks due to such dependencies.
Cloud computing evaluation checklist item 5: You should be completely assured about the deliverables history of your vendor during the cloud computing evaluation process. No matter how big a brand name the service provider boasts of, its delivery credentials should be reviewed before sealing the deal. Reviewing the service provider's clientele and checking their records is surely one of the best ways while doing a reality check.

About the author: Diptarup Chakraborti is a principal analyst at Gartner.

(As told to Snigdha Karjatkar)

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This was first published in May 2010

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