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Are you moving your outsourcing to the cloud?

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If your company is currently in an outsourcing engagement, the cloud conversation is going to start soon (if it hasn’t already). Cloud-based content in outsourcing contracts is expected to grow to 50 percent by 2017. Let’s explore some of the key aspects to consider when moving to the cloud with your outsourcing partner.

Starting the conversation

Crossroad signWhen working with a cloud provider, make sure they have content to back up sales claims. IBM SoftLayer provides plenty of valuable resources to help with this. Live chat is available on the main page to help sort out any additional questions that arise. Getting your questions answered in a timely manner really shortens the time it takes to evaluate a solution. SoftLayer also provides KnowlegeLayer to answer commonly asked questions. The Customer Forums provide a place where you can experience actual customer feedback and see other users’ issues and resolutions.

(Related: Check out our latest CAI study, Cloud bound: Advice from organizations in outsourcing relationships (2014))

Evaluating options

Make sure your cloud provider offers the product and services that you need and are constantly providing new and enhanced services. SoftLayer provides server, storage, networking, security, development, and management solutions. Details of each of these are available under the Products & Services link on the main site. SoftLayer is constantly adding new data centers to expand its global reach, exemplified by Toronto going live just recently. Additionally, new functionality like auto scaling has been made available.

Reducing the potential for risk

Cloud computing architectures can help reduce organizational risk. The ability to quickly and efficiently spread workloads across geographies can help in a disaster recovery scenario. More information on disaster recovery can be found on this blog post. SoftLayer provides 14 data centers across the globe, and having the option to deploy in any of these data centers also provides the ability to meet compliance and data residency requirements.

Improving the procurement process

With the ability to create standard images, the change process can be greatly streamlined. Organizations can spend time creating an image once and then reuse it for other installations. Having standard images reduces the change management process since there won’t be any deviation from known working images. In addition, the SoftLayer application programming interface (API) provides the ability to completely automate the provisioning process, removing human error and enabling faster provisioning.

(Related: 5 key success factors for cloud implementation)

Considering a hybrid approach

Not all services need to be or should be on the cloud. Work with your current outsourcing provider to determine the best fit for your business. Private data like Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) for user authentication can reside on a customer data center. SoftLayer provides easy to configure virtual private networks (VPNs) that can securely connect your existing infrastructure to SoftLayer. In addition, SoftLayer provides Direct Link if the solution requires a high volume of data.

Hopefully I’ve been able to shed some light on some key aspects of moving to the cloud. decisions are most important for your move to the cloud? Comment below, or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter @aDavidCox if you have any additional questions.

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