Selecting a cloud provider is a big decision. It might take you a bit of time, so we’ll save you some right off the bat: we’re going to recommend you select us for your business’ cloud needs.
Now, that might not sound 100% objective. But it is honest. And we wouldn’t tell you we reckon we’re the best for you if we didn’t truly believe it. There are some good providers out there, but we’ve worked hard to make the perfect base system for New Zealand businesses. And then we fit our cloud to your business, rather than making you fit your business to our cloud.
So there you have it! You’re looking for the right cloud provider for you? You’ve found it!
But if you do have the time to think over your cloud options a bit more, you should read on. In the interests of helping you make a more informed choice, here’s a few points to consider.
The big cloud players: big isn’t always good
You’ve probably heard by now that the world’s biggest book retailer and the manufacturer of the world’s most-used desktop operating system are both in the cloud business. You’ve probably even had them recommended to you. Maybe with prices and everything.
They’re both doing pretty well out of that cloud business. And they’ve got a lot of happy customers. If you’re looking for a cloud provider, that size and popularity might be reassuring.
But reader, there are reasons they’re not the best option for you.
Hidden costs mean they’re more expensive than they seem
You punch in the numbers, get a quote, and hey! Seems cheaper than what you’d be getting here with a local provider!
The price you’re quoted is usually the base price. And the base configuration just isn’t going to cut it.
This isn’t like you’re missing out on a fancier radio in a new car, or skipping paying that bit extra for a meal and movies on a flight. Most of the extra hidden costs are ones you need to do your work at all. And the others you’ll need if you want to do your work well.
Quite often quotes won’t include:
- Appropriate backups. They might not even be in there at all. But if they are, do they run often enough? How long does it take to restore them? How much does it cost to restore them? A cloud setup without the right backups is like a house without insurance: you can live in it, but if something goes wrong, it’s going to cost you an awful lot.
- Data transfer costs. Is data transfer (in and out) billed? Is there a cap at which you’ll be billed if you exceed it?
- High availability. If your host fails, what will happen to your virtual machine? Will it power up? How long will it take?
- Support. If you need to resolve a problem, ask a question, or change what you’re getting, you could be billed extra. And that’s the last thing you want to think about when something’s going wrong, right?
These extra costs can be significant – up to 3.5 times the base cost each month.
They’re not based in New Zealand
Those big cloud providers don’t keep your data in New Zealand. Instead, it whizzes through undersea cables to vast data warehouses in foreign countries. You don’t get a say in it. Often times you won’t even know where it’s gone.
Out of sight, out of mind? Well, not really. It can be a real problem:
- You’re under obligation to keep some types of data in New Zealand. (See, for example, the Law Society’s cloud computing guidelines.) An overseas data centre won’t cut it.
- Data kept overseas is subject to the laws of that country, and any countries it passes through. How up-to-speed are you about the latest privacy laws and scrutiny powers of the United States, or Australia, or China? How confident are you in their law-makers and governments?
- You’re dependent on connections between you and the other countries – and those can fail.
- There’s one more link in the chain between you and your data.
- It’ll take just that little bit longer to access your data or apps.
Not to mention, it can be a lot more difficult to get someone on the phone. And when you do, they might not even have heard of you.
Which brings us to…
With them, you’re a tiny fish in a big ocean
We’re sorry to say it, but no matter how big your business is, it is merely one blinking light amongst dozens on one server amongst millions. They can’t adapt to make things work well for you. They won’t design things to make them operate as effectively and affordably as possible. And if you get in touch with them, odds are the person you talk with will never have heard of you. They’ll have little interest in helping make your business thrive.
They’re not always reliable
Some big cloud providers will simply power off hosts during the middle of the day to patch them. Unless you’ve paid extra, your data or system simply won’t be available.
Others, if something goes wrong, it could take five to fifteen minutes to power back up. If that happens at the wrong time, you could suffer big-time.
So are they really worth it?
This might sound like scare-mongering. But we want to be absolutely clear about all the possible pitfalls with these big providers – because they won’t be clear about them.
So when considering the big players for your cloud hosting, ask your IT partner or manager about these:
- Where is data kept?
- How often is data backed up? And how much does that cost?
- Is the resource guaranteed to only you, or are you competing against everyone else on the platform?
- Is data transfer (in and out) billed? Is there a cap at which you’ll be billed if you exceed it?
- How reliable is it? Is there high availability?
- Is support included? How good is their support?
And maybe that big player passes the muster! But if not – maybe consider one closer to home. We reckon you’ll find the value much more to your liking.