Cloud Way of Russian Online Services
In late 2018, CROC Cloud Services interviewed 50 CIOs of online service developing companies to learn why they used clouds and how they selected service providers.
A word of mouth
The majority of interviewed CIOs come from IT Departments of large corporations, who know oats and understand perfectly the benefits of infrastructure solutions. They usually choose a service provider recommended by their colleagues or friends and come up with a detailed Requirements Specification and exact demands. Therefore, reputation is one of key criteria when choosing a cloud service provider.
Two-thirds of interviewed cloud customers emphasized the importance of data backup and infrastructure disaster tolerance. That is why they try to rely on themselves and use their own computing resources, even if only a small server room to backup and store sensitive information.
In addition, companies prefer using their own hardware with not yet expired service life instead of outsourced components. However, the situation changes during IT upgrade, with cost-efficiency becoming a top priority and growing interest in cloud technology. This is true for all companies, irrespective of business size.
CIOs look for a provider that holds required certifications and can offer a reliable and high-performance cloud platform and handy resource management. Other selection criteria include disk system performance, automation tools for quick infrastructure deployment in the cloud, certified protection tools, compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and penetration testing at least once a year.
Large providers offer customers a free demo access to clouds to enable them to perform a load testing, prove the specifications, and then select the best-fit provider that offers optimal price/quality ratio.
A cloud provider is expected to ensure reliable service and system operation and 24x7 incident response, and competently answer all questions. As a rule, a customer and a provider adjust the requirements and then put them in a SLA.
Respondents say that an ideal cloud provider is even more customer-focused and offers services beyond a SLA, such as consulting on service architecture adaptation or support and administration as a managed service. Indeed, customers want to outsource as many professional services as possible to save money. According to one of the respondents, it is almost impossible to find in the market cheaper alternatives to large cloud providers with the same expertise.
Easy come, easy go
Customers can rather quickly migrate from one cloud to another, unless it involves heavy business applications or a large infrastructure, and easily drop providers they are not happy with. Once again, reputation is everything for a cloud provider, as even a minor accident can cost it a customer.
Moreover, customers often leave when providers fail to comply with SLAs or notify them of technical failures or scheduled updates.
Local vs. Foreign
Most respondents are experienced IT developers that are used to Amazon cloud, with 80% of them saying that they wouldn’t look for a new hosting service provider but Federal Law 152-FZ requires Russian personal data to be hosted on local servers.
The legislation primarily affects businesses that provide services in Russia, while developers of online products for European and/or US markets are not going to stop using foreign hosting services.
“With the development of new IT products being our key business process, Tutu.ru requires minimum time to market. Therefore, we expect maximum infrastructure flexibility and manageability of our cloud providers. In particular, we want our cloud provider to offer specific resource management tools such as Terraform.”
Technical Director, Tutu.ru
“We started using a cloud when launching our new digital platform to host a universal e-commerce site and e-store, with the remaining services still being based on the local infrastructure. Our cloud provider selection criteria were documented specifications, including data center compliance with Tier III standard supported by relevant certificates.”
“For any startup, a cloud platform is always a cheaper and more convenient option than having its own infrastructure due to flexibility and lack of hardware administration costs. Rapid business growth causes customer's infrastructure to turn into a mix of technologies, services, and sometimes even clouds, increasing the cost of support and development, which we at Qlean experienced too. In 2018, we analyzed our mistakes, unified our technology stack, and moved everything into a single cloud to meet our technological requirements.”