Survey ranks enterprise cloud providers: Who came out on top?

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a cloud provider. But a recent survey shows which provider is most popular for businesses. 

An IDC survey of 400 IT departments found that IBM’s cloud services ranked as the top choice for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers.

The result: IBM took the No. 1 spot, with 35% of first place votes. IBM was followed by Cisco, HP and AT&T.

Consumer cloud giants Microsoft, Google and Amazon didn’t fare quite as well. Both Microsoft and Google brought in about 16% of the votes, and Amazon carried 13%.

No right answer

Every organization has a different level of cloud penetration. And there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all solution.

And while more than half of survey respondents (52%) said they prefer one-stop shopping for cloud providers that also bundle in services like professional services, custom software and testing, etc., most companies rely on multiple providers and even multiple types of cloud services.

A recent survey by Juniper Networks found 75% of companies are planning on deploying a combination of public and private clouds – the s0-called hybrid model.

But with multiple providers to choose from, how can you be sure you’re getting the best deal and best service possible?

Here are 7 keys to help you out.

7 tactics to try

  1. Form a team. We recently covered NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s approach to cloud providers. Essentially, it involves bringing in representatives from each department, then having them evaluate potential providers on their own terms.
  2. Watch for start-ups. A start-up provider could be a great opportunity to save some money and be a big fish in a little pond. But be careful, many have the end goal of getting you sucked in and stuck with a situation where it’s too painful to get out, according to CITEWorld.
  3. Pit them against each other. When evaluating a deal from one provider, there’s no reason not to go to others and ask them to match terms.  If they want you bad enough as a customer, providers will rewrite contracts.
  4. Read the contract carefully. On that note, make sure contracts cover all the important bases – including up-time and who will be responsible in the event of a data breach or outage.
  5. Scalability matters. It’s hard to know how much you’ll need before a cloud project starts. Make sure you’re able to scale up to add more services or down to fewer if needed.
  6. Use industry contacts. Trusted colleagues will be happy to share stories of the best providers they’ve worked with … and more than happy to talk about the worst ones.
  7. Diversify. The more vendors you try out and use, the better the chances of finding the right fit. If you need to start out big, then winnow down to the best of the best, that can give you a better idea of who the primary provider should be.