What you look for when hosting big data activities in the cloud is definitely different from what you look for when hosting normal apps and data.
There are clouds that specialize in running mission-critical applications such as ERP (enterprise resource planning), and software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider clouds that specialize in providing services to specific industry sectors such as finance or logistics.
Likewise, when it comes to managing large sets of data that are a combination of structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data, there are clouds that specialize in big data.
The clouds that manage big data have the ability to quickly scale large amounts of storage and processing. They can rely on big data technology designed to ingest many different forms of data and then perform algorithmic operations on the data.
Some clouds excel at offering Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which gives businesses all the infrastructure and tools they need to run their own big data operations. In other cases, cloud big data service providers offer advice and expertise and also outsource staff.
So it can be difficult for companies to determine which selection approaches and criteria to consider when looking for a big data cloud provider.
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1. Understand your big data processing needs
Understanding where your organization fits on this spectrum is the first thing to do before looking for a big data cloud service provider.
There are large companies that have come a long way in implementing their big data strategies. They have human resources expertise and have already successfully implemented big data modeling and analytics.
Their interest in big data cloud services may be purely to scale out infrastructure when they need it, so they don’t have to make expensive capital investments in their data centers. In such a situation, an enterprise will likely look for a cloud big data service provider that has the ability to scale out its storage and processing infrastructure on demand.
At the other end of the spectrum are companies that lack in-house expertise and resources for big data, but still need to process it. These companies are more likely to look for a big data cloud provider that offers both infrastructure and add-on services such as consulting, data management, and even the ability to develop and maintain big data applications for the business.
Between these two extremes are companies that want a combination of both self-managed and provider-managed big data services.
2. Align with a big data service provider that is compatible with your existing IT infrastructure
If you are already running big data applications on a particular platform, it is important to find a big data cloud service provider that also supports it.
In addition, if you have a set of security and governance standards that you apply internally to big data, it’s important to find a big data cloud service provider that can provide the same level of governance and security, along with tools and tools in the cloud that come from affect those governance and security standards.
3. Check out the cloud provider’s tools and resources
Does the cloud provider have a robust set of tools and utilities that your workforce can easily learn and use to manage your big data operations in the cloud? And if you’re a company that doesn’t have big data expertise, does the big data cloud provider have consulting and outsourcing staff available who can manage your big data for you, based on your specifications?
4. Don’t forget the network
The costs of reliable data communication between your big data cloud provider and your own data center are not cheap. It is helpful if your big data service provider has a facility within your geographic region. A more localized cloud facility can reduce costs and also reduce the possibility of service interruptions.
5. Will the big data cloud service provider work with you on cost?
A recent Pepperdata survey found that more than a third of companies exceeded their cloud budgets for standard services by: up to 40%†
In the big data cloud world, determining processing and storage costs is even more difficult because there is so little cost history. You may not know how much big data your application will absorb or process or how much you will have to pay to store the data.
One last word
The good news for businesses looking for big data cloud services is the number of mature cloud providers that can deliver a wide variety of big data services. Among them are Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, IBM and others.
Once you understand your company’s current and future big data requirements, you can find the vendor that best fits your IT direction.