Our latest Buyer's Guide looks at 8 top IaaS offerings in a range of categories.
Security And Compliance
Let's face it, the default security stances of most IaaS vendors are significantly more stringent than standard on-premises security practices.
IaaS vendors are also quite used to questions about compliance with common regulations, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and some have guides on how to best achieve compliance within their infrastructures. Finally, the Cloud Security Alliance's Security, Trust, and Assurance Registry has responses from many IaaS vendors to a rich set of uniform questions about security practices.
Support And SLA
Every IaaS vendor we surveyed offers 24/7 online support, and most have telephone support as well, sometimes at an additional charge. However, not all telephone support is equal; SoftLayer is the only vendor that says it puts you in touch with a person who works directly on the hardware underlying your VM. Make sure to calculate the cost of premium support for vendors that price support as a percentage of usage, as that can quickly add up.
Every IaaS vendor with a service-level agreement provides credits for future service in the case of an outage, although offerings can be difficult to compare. Amazon and SoftLayer offer 10% of your monthly bill as credit in case of an outage, while Joyent offers 5% of your monthly bill as credit for every 30 minutes of outage, and GoGrid offers 10,000% credit on whatever amount you paid during the outage. Most customers find that IaaS SLAs are noncompensatory; that is, no SLA adequately compensates a company for downtime. SLAs serve more as an incentive to providers to make sure the service is up for the vast majority of its customers. If you have a mission-critical application on IaaS, you must have a multiregion or multicloud deployment, as SLAs don't provide adequate protection.
One of the most exciting aspects of infrastructure-as-a-service vendors is that they're constantly innovating and creating new services that make developing and deploying powerful applications even easier. Amazon has had such a head start that its additional offerings dwarf the competition, but a number of vendors are starting to add services, too.
Some of the offerings unique to Amazon are Route 53 (DNS service), ElastiCache (caching service), CloudSearch (full-text search service), Simple Notification Service, and Mechanical Turk (human worker service). A number of vendors offer or will soon offer NoSQL database services, aimed at customers who need to store a large number of key-indexed records, such as user preferences for a consumer website: Amazon (SimpleDB and DynamoDB), Google (BigQuery), and IBM (coming soon); as well as queue services (Amazon, Joyent and SoftLayer); and email services (Amazon and SoftLayer). Some vendors also offer consulting services, whereas others let partners do the consulting.
Multicloud Infrastructure & Application ManagementEnterprise cloud adoption has evolved to the point where hybrid public/private cloud designs and use of multiple providers is common. Who among us has mastered provisioning resources in different clouds; allocating the right resources to each application; assigning applications to the "best" cloud provider based on performance or reliability requirements.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.