In this audio blog, I discuss the four main attributes an enterprise should consider when selecting a public cloud provider.

(A complete transcript is available below.)

Hi, this is Vishwas Lele from Applied Information Sciences and I wanted to share very briefly how you should go about selecting a public cloud provider. We, of course, do a lot of work on Azure and we think that the most important criteria for selecting a public cloud is the time to value capability or a metric that it offers, which means that if the business comes to you with a certain requirement, how quickly can you turn that around into reality. So most people then, they make a decision about the public cloud. They’re just not making a long list of features and checking them off against each provider. They oftentimes are looking at what are the core set of capabilities that I need for my business and what are the skill characteristics that I need for my business, and does the public cloud meet those needs.

So, let me get back to the time to value argument, and let me position that in the context of four different areas. Number one is developer productivity, developer friendliness, and openness of the platform. Time to value is incumbent upon how productive your developers are. Of course, the code is running the cloud, but can the developers do line by line debugging? Do they have ability to see what’s going wrong? Do they have the system supporting them to figure out problems that are happening? Do they have the ability to take, deploy a database to a certain region and just ask the platform to then replicate it to other regions in a manner where SLA’s preserved? That’s the developer-friendly aspect of it. But then there’s also the openness aspect of it, which is, can I use the tools of my choice? Not just .NET, but also know Java, what have you. Can I use the tools, the frameworks, the databases of my choice that makes most sense for a given application?

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So, that’s the developer productivity in openness aspect. The bullet number two that I would like to present to you is that when we talk to customers about the cloud, the discussion is not just limited to IaaS or PasS alone. The discussion is often around rationalization of their entire portfolio of applications. So, there may be some applications that move to IaaS, there may be some application that move to PaaS, and of course there are applications that move to SaaS. And then beyond that, maybe the SaaS offering does not meet your need completely and you need to run some customizations on top of that. Maybe those customizations need to run in a PaaS platform. This ability to combine these clouds, so in the case of Azure when we talk to customers, we are often talking to them in the context of, maybe you need the Power app, which then calls Office 365 or goes to Dynamics 365 for certain entity information, or maybe uses LinkedIn for some intelligence within your organization. So, the power of having these multiple clouds is really differentiator and ultimately leads to better productivity.

The third bullet point that I want to talk about is hybrid. Oftentimes people say that there is no public cloud, there’s no private cloud, there’s always a hybrid cloud. What people often mean is, most people have large investments in their own premises data centers, and as much as they would like, these investments are not going to disappear overnight. So, you need a public cloud provider that deeply understands the hybrid scenario. In Azure, and given Microsoft’s focus in the enterprise, there are a number of hybrid capabilities that are built into the platform. For example, you might have an identity or active directory. There is an equal in Azure active directory. You have something like OMS, which allows you a single pane glass of management of resources, both on premises and in the cloud. So hybrid is really important, and of course we should mention stack, for example. This ability to take a slice of Azure monitoring your data center and still have the same control plane is really important.

The last bullet that I want to talk to you about is that when we talk in terms of time to value, productivity’s important. So is hybrid, so is the combination of multiple clouds, but you also have to be concerned that your competition may completely leapfrog you by building maybe some kind of an AI capability. They’ve developed some deep learning algorithm that completely leapfrogs your imperative algorithm that you may have developed. So, you want to go to a public cloud platform that gives you easy access to machine learning, artificial intelligence capability so developers can easily tap into that power and build your applications in that manner.

So, we think that this combination of four attributes; the openness, the developer productivity, hybrid combination of multiple clouds dynamics linked into Office 365, and a first-class experience in terms of leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence; leads to a platform, Azure, which has a better time to market characteristic. Hope you found this useful. Thank you.