Being an IT guy, it’s very difficult to control our temptations to talk about cloud and we do that everyday. But if you ask the question whether there is consistency in the understanding of ‘what is cloud’ and ‘who is the real cloud service provider’, the answer is a big ‘NO’. There is nothing wrong with that inconsistency, because it brings new perspectives. Cloud means different things to different people – for some it’s a technology, for some it’s a new business model, for some it’s a new IT services delivery model. The irony is that all these definitions are true and that doesn’t help clear our confusions.

Let’s try to identify who is a real cloud service provider amidst a battery of ‘pseudo’ providers. Check for yourself whether your provider meets the following criteria

  • Entire IT capability (whether it’s the knowledge/expertise of the IT person or resources like computing power, storage, etc.) is provisioned as a service, on-demand basis
  • There are no up-front fixed costs that you need to pay while registering for IT services
  • Your IT provider has pooled in all the IT resources using virtualization. He doesn’t talk in terms of how many servers he has got, instead talks like ‘I have got XX terabytes of storage, YY terabytes of memory’ etc.
  • You have got a great self-service portal through which you demand the IT capabilities
  • The self-service portal lists all the available services, SLAs associated with each service, cost of each service, etc.
  • You have the power to specify what are the minimum units you need(eg. 6GB memory) and how ‘elastic’ it can be (meaning it can go up to 64 GB since X-mas is round the corner). In other words, it’s auto-elastic within the range set by you
  • When you demand any IT capability, the portal takes care of the approval workflow, auto-approval limits etc.
  • When approved, the IT resources are provisioned dynamically without manual intervention (at least in most cases, if not all)
  • You are able to make a ‘template’ request? Meaning: common demand patterns are studied and consolidated and available as templates. For example, you can demand a VM for the developer of Bank of America XX project and the portal readily knows what it is
  • You are provided with regular mailed reports on SLA performance
  • You get regular reports on the agreed metrics trends
  • You are continuously kept informed about your consumption levels just like while using a Cab or call taxi meter unit
  • You get the ‘charge back’ invoices regularly and you are invoiced only for your actual consumptions
  • You have the power to discontinue service at any time without any penalties
  • You have friendly hand-shake parting terms when you try to move to another cloud provider

 

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