How to take your Cloud for a “Test Drive”
Cloud computing has become a reality of modern enterprise infrastructure. Managing and operating networks and IT services isn’t getting any easier, and more organizations are realizing the benefits of remote hosting of IT services.
But the important question remains: with so many options, how do you choose the perfect cloud computing service to meet your needs and bring value to your business? Here’s an idea: how about if you test it out?
The testing challenge
Usually, companies start thinking about testing a cloud provider in one of the following stages:
- When they need to select a cloud provider but are confused due to the wide range of offerings
- When a vendor has deployed a product/infrastructure on the cloud and they need to make sure that it covers their business needs
So let’s see how testing and management for cloud services differ from traditional IT services, and what sort of questions you need to ask a potential cloud services provider during the “test drive”:
- Service availability
The first and fundamental challenge of providing cloud services is service availability. If your organization is looking to adopt cloud services rather than maintain local installations, you have to be convinced you can access the services and data you need whenever you need them without experiencing undue delays. The cloud service must look and feel as if it’s local, despite the fact that it’s hosted remotely.
- Requirements and software quality attributes
Non-functional requirements such as security, reliability, and price have a significant influence on your system and can actually drive your decision. Basically, defining your requirements and aligning them to the cloud service’s quality attributes helps set up your expectations. So, when you identify non-functional requirements, figure out measurable indicators to know if your system meets your target quality attributes.
- Elasticity testing and limits
Cloud’s elasticity brings great value for businesses since cloud providers charge only for used resources. In theory, elasticity is easily achieved; however, in practice, most solutions root from traditional non-elastic data centers and this can cause issues in scaling an application.
At the same time, cloud computing services are elastic and scalable, but are not immeasurable. Their limits include the maximum available number of service instances, storage sizes, network bandwidth, etc. By default, the limits are configured in a way to fit the needs of most customers. However, if you need to deploy more than 20 server instances, check the cloud resource limits.
- Customized and complex deployment
Flexibility and elasticity are the key values of any cloud computing service, which means that the provided service and its storage capacity may be adjusted as you see fit. If a framework that needs to be installed on each system node requires an unusual OS configuration, it’s important that the cloud service provider is able to deploy and support the necessary actions.
So make sure to check:
- How the deployment process differs from the current one
- What tools the provider recommends its clients use
- If your employees have the needed tools competence
- How much effort is required to deploy your system to the cloud computing service
- Legislation and regulation
There are several business industries like healthcare, education or finance that are strictly regulated, so make sure that your cloud and your product comply with the norms in the specific country where your data will be deployed.
- Disaster recovery and backup
It’s not enough to define backup and disaster recovery procedures. You also have to test them and make sure they meet target requirements for recovery time objective and recovery point objective indicators.
It’s your turn now. What other key issues would you recommend testing when it comes to a cloud computing service provider? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo souce: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/