Commonalities and differentiators Cloud providers

Herman Rensink, Datacenter Architect / CISSP .
File storage in cloud. 3D computer icon isolated on white
Profile of Cloud providers

When going to the “Cloud” an organisation has to decide on many subjects like Management strategy, Migration strategy, and Transition as well as Transformation strategy.

However, in the early stage, before thinking about going to the Cloud you have to have a very good and clear picture of what “Cloud” means or better, what do I expect from a Cloud provider.


Here I give a brief overview, called a profile, consisting of a few important parameters you can decide upon. What are the main or core features of all Cloud providers and what are the differentiators. In my other article about the Cloud I provide you with an extensive comparison between the Big-3 Cloud providers.

Key features Function profile
  Common features Cloud Unique features Cloud
Capabilities – 1 IaaS or PaaS All offer basic cloud IaaS — compute, storage and networking Some middleware and databases as a service — up to and including PaaS capabilities.
Capabilities – 2 Operations or agility Most aim at MODE 1, like IT operations organizations, with an emphasis on control, governance and security Some aim at MODE 2 for capabilities for new applications and a DevOps orientation and legacy applications
Capabilities – 3 Technology or development Most providers aim at technology at scale Some at development, small businesses and start-ups
Capabilities – 4 Colocation offering All providers offer colocation and some offer additional colocation for heavy workloads (databases, special network equipment, software not licensed for virtual servers or legacy equipment). Colocation as intermediate stage to IaaS  
Capabilities – 5 Degree of compliance All providers deliver solutions that meet the regulatory compliance, but the extend of security controls vary significantly. Some are compliant to ISO27001 and/or SOX 2 which is based on best-practices. Security is a SHARED RESPONSIBILITY
Capabilities – 6 Continuity (BC & DR) Some providers replicate computer resources to other locations and

Some providers deliver Disaster Recovery (no BC)

Capabilities – 7 Degree of fault tolerance Some provider use “multi-fault-domain SLA’s”. 99,98%
Support – 1      Type of application support Support of use cases; Cloud-native applications, E-business hosting, General business applications, Enterprise applications, Development environments, Batch computing, Internet of Things.
Support – 2      Extension of support All providers deliver enterprise 24/7 services Some deliver lower levels but allow enterprise service if the customer pays.
Support – 3     Language support All providers offer portal, documentation, technical support, customer support and contracts in English. Some can do this in languages other than English. Check mark: Datacenter locations, language support (business and technical)
Service – 1 Market places & services Some providers offer software market places / service and solutions on top of the providers’ platform.
Service – 2 Scope of SLA Most have NO over sub-subscription of these resources

Most providers have SLA for networking

Some providers have SLA for computer or storage
Metering – Type of metering per time All providers offer metering per hour Some shorter time periods of VM’s
Billing – 1 Type of charging Most provider charge per VM-basis Some per SRP (Shared Resource Pool) which is a contract for a certain amount for capacity which arbitrarily can be assigned to VM’s.
Billing – 2 Unit of charge Some providers deliver bare-metal on dynamic basis and the billing increment is daily instead of hourly (for virtual machines).
Billing – 3 Type of invoicing All the providers sign contracts with customers can invoice, and can consolidate from multiple accounts. Some offer credit card billing.

Some do not commit a customer to a certain volume.

Architecture & cross-platform systems management tools Some are offering a single architecture and feature set and cross-platform systems management tools
Evolution providers Providers are undergoing significant re-evaluation IaaS. Be aware of these big changes to the strategy and direction of their cloud IaaS business.

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