How to navigate the public cloud service provider selection process

Last updated:January 2017

Buyer's Guide

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Editor's note

Cloud computing gives organizations the ability to improve productivity, fuel future growth and quickly provision IT resources. Public cloud storage services are especially appealing because they provide computing, scalability and performance benefits without the associated hardware costs or overhead of an on-premises storage network.

By offloading the management and costs associated with supporting physical hardware to an external public cloud service provider, an organization can reduce its operating expenses. The cloud provider stores, manages and maintains the organization's data. The organization uses the public cloud provider's API to upload, retrieve and manage the data in the cloud.

Using a public cloud enables an organization to adjust its storage capacity as needed during peak processing times and to only pay for the storage it uses. Public cloud storage can also become an off-site target for backups, and it can help improve recovery time in the event of a disaster. Cloud storage also offers long-term archival on less expensive disks for data in records that are rarely accessed.

The move to public cloud storage, and entrusting data with a public cloud service provider, can be daunting for any business, but this guide will help answer the most-pressing questions. In addition to examining the features, functions, cost and licensing models of the three market-leading vendors -- Amazon, Google and Microsoft -- IT decision-makers can examine the critical questions a company must ask when vetting each vendor's security measures, regulatory compliance, service-level agreements and data management capabilities. Although the three leading vendors address these considerations in a similar way, the features and functionality they offer -- such as cloud gateways, API management and long-term data storage -- are different from one vendor to the next. Those differences are what can help IT buyers select the right service.

1How to vet a public cloud service provider

The challenge of selecting a public cloud vendor can be simplified once a company examines the features each vendor offers. Other areas to scrutinize include long-term costs, architecture services, security and how each vendor will handle ownership of your organization's data.

2An overview of the leading public cloud storage services

Learn what features, functions, cost and licensing models the three market-leading vendors provide.

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