Top 5 Questions When Choosing Your First Cloud Platform

April 1, 2020 by STEP Conference

Startups! We know that choosing your first Cloud platform might be tricky and often you think of your current state instead of your future state, and fail to consider what happens when you start gaining traction and scaling.

We’ve put together top 5 key questions that need to be considered to avoid Cloud migration, unwanted costs and lost time:

1. Where are my target customers or users located?

Your customers’ location can impact network latency and how your application performs for your users. If there are no data centers near your customers, there is a risk that your application does not perform well for them. And if there is, are the core Cloud services that you need for your application offered or available in that region?

Next, you need to be aware of compliance regulations for the countries in which your user or customer are. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) prohibits transferring data on EU residents outside of the EU. As a result, you may need to consider a Cloud platform that provides compliant services.

2. What open-source solutions or tools are my engineers using?

Your startup may be using one or more programming languages (e.g., Python, Node.js, Java, .NET, Ruby, etc.). You need a Cloud platform that offers SDKs available for the languages your startup is using – it’ll make development faster when integrating your application with Cloud services.

Also, many startups use free or open-source databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, MongoDB etc. Make sure to store, query, tune, manage, and optimize performance by comparing and seeing which Cloud platforms have the best capabilities for optimizing your database: built-in backup and restore; ability to scale in seconds to meet the most demanding spikes; and advanced monitoring and alerting.

3. What is the cost of Cloud services?

Yes, a Cloud platform may have all the services that you need, but as a startup, can you afford it? Take the time to cost out what you expect to spend; most Cloud providers have a cost calculator you can use to make rough estimates. Are there some workarounds available to you, like using other technologies? For example, you could use a serverless execution pipeline like Azure Data Factory to run your Big Data jobs. These solutions are often much more cost-effective because you’re not charged so much for compute and not charged when they are not in use.

These costings are also useful to know when pitching to investors when you’re trying to raise capital!

4. Does the Cloud provider have excellent Customer Service and documentation?

No matter how good a Cloud provider is if they do not provide excellent Customer Service, Documentation or YouTube tutorials then run! Let’s face it; as a startup, you probably do not have the privilege to pick up the phone and call a Cloud provider whenever you run into an issue or have questions. So, it’s critical to do a quick POC of your application on the Cloud platform. This POC gives you insight into how good their documentation and tutorials are and how easy the platform is to use. If you get unlucky and run into issues or questions, examine how responsive and helpful their online support center is. This response gives you insight into what your future business dealings with the Cloud provider are likely to be. As a startup, you need a quick to market solution for your revenue and customers, delays from a Cloud provider equal delays in your product or feature release.

5. How are Disaster and Recovery handled?

As a startup, you need to protect your business from unplanned events ranging from human error, transient hardware failures, network or power outages, and even natural disasters and so on. Bad is your application being down in this circumstance, even worse is losing customer data. Even with backups, how long will your users or customers experience downtime before the application is back up and running? As a startup you need to evaluate the replication options of your resources; the cost to store the backups, service-level agreements (SLA), and automated tools that are in place to back up and restore your application when there’s an issue. Comparing all these factors for different Cloud Platforms is essential.

There… we’ve laid it all out for you… Now check out what digiteam had to say about Microsoft’s support here!