How to choose a virtual machine provider?
Selecting a virtual machine and cloud provider doesn’t have to be challenging, as long as you know what to look for. The virtual machine needs to fit your workload needs and business budget, of course, but other factors play key roles between you and your virtualization environment. Choosing a virtual machine provider involves considering several factors to ensure that the provider meets your specific requirements. Here are key considerations to help you make an informed decision:
1. Performance Requirements: Consider the performance needs of your applications. Different providers offer various levels of compute power, memory, and storage. Assess the performance capabilities and specifications of virtual machines offered by each provider.
2. Service Offerings: Evaluate the range of services offered by each provider. Some providers specialize in specific services or cater to particular industries. Ensure that the provider offers the services and features your applications require.
3. Pricing Structure: Understand the pricing model of each provider. Consider factors such as pay-as-you-go pricing, reserved instances, and any additional costs for data transfer, storage, or other services. Calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) based on your usage patterns.
4. Reliable support: Ensure there’s 24/7 customer support by phone, email and chat or walk away. You want a real person on the other end of the line to help you through critical IT situations. It’s also important to note which cloud providers offer additional services for more hands-on backing.
5. Managed options: Does the cloud provider offer both unmanaged and managed solutions? If you don’t know virtualization technology in and out, consider a provider that’ll be responsible for setup, maintenance and ongoing performance monitoring.
6. Software integration: Will your virtual machine environment play well with others? Operating systems, third party software, open source technology and applications help you deliver more solutions across your business. You’ll want a virtual machine provider with both support for and strong partnerships with the industry’s most-used software suppliers. Note: Stay away from vendor lock-ins.
7. High-quality network, infrastructure and Connectivity: How up-to-date is the infrastructure your new virtual machine will run on? This includes dependable bare metal servers, modern data centers, and the network backbone. A cloud provider should be able to deliver its part of the deal with state-of-the-art hardware and high-speed networking technology. Evaluate the network performance and available data centers. Choose a provider with a robust network infrastructure to ensure low latency and reliable connectivity. Consider geographical locations to reduce latency for your users.
8. Reliability, Uptime and Support: Check the provider's historical uptime and reliability. Look for providers that offer service level agreements (SLAs) with high uptime guarantees. Examine the level of support offered by the provider. Review SLAs to understand the commitments regarding uptime, support response times, and issue resolution.
9. Security Measures: Assess the security features provided by the virtual machine provider. This includes data encryption, firewall options, identity and access management, and compliance certifications.
10. Ease of Use and Management: Consider the user interface and management tools provided by the virtual machine provider. A user-friendly interface and robust management tools can simplify the deployment and administration of your virtual machines.
11. Community and Documentation: Check for an active community and comprehensive documentation. A strong community can be a valuable resource for troubleshooting and sharing best practices.
12. Compliance and Regulations: Ensure that the provider complies with relevant industry regulations and standards. This is crucial, especially if your application deals with sensitive or regulated data.
13. Reviews and Reputation: Research reviews and testimonials from other users. This can provide insights into the experiences of others with the provider's services.
14. Location: The closer the data is to your users, the less hassles you’ll run into with latency, security, and timely service delivery. A good global network of scattered data centers and POP locations is central to having data where and when you need it most.
15. Backup and recovery: What plan does your cloud provider have in place for keeping your virtual machines up and running in the face of unexpected events? Do they also provide add-on backup and redundancy options for your virtualized environment? Continuous operation is something you should take seriously.
16. Scalability ease: How fast and easy will it be for you to spin up, spin down, reserve, pause, and update your virtual machine? The word you want to hear most when it comes to virtual machine scalability is “on-demand.” Choose a provider that allows you to scale resources easily as your needs evolve. This includes the ability to add or remove virtual machines, adjust storage, and scale other resources.
17. Varied CPU configurations: The more configurations, the better. Not every virtual machine configuration fits every workload during every season of usage. Be sure to look for a virtual machine provider that delivers varied configuration packages for both single and multi-tenant requirements.
18. Security layers: Ask your provider about them, then ask about them again. Your business data is currency in the highest form, especially when dealing with sensitive client information. Private network lines, federal data center options, built-in encryption features, and meeting regulatory compliance standards are essential to protecting your most valuable asset.
19. Seamless migration support: Your IT priorities will always evolve. This we all know. Any virtual machine provider should be able to help you lift and shift between hybrid, on-premise and off-prem environments. Look for full data ingest, over-the-network and application-led migration options.
By carefully considering these factors, you can identify a virtual machine provider that aligns with your technical and business requirements. It's often helpful to start with a small pilot or trial to evaluate the provider's services in a real-world scenario before committing to a long-term arrangement.