I evangelize cloud computing in this blog and, also, in my professional life.
I can’t do justice to my evangelism if I don’t use them myself. In fact, I use
cloud based apps in both my professional life and personal one. Our company in
India is totally virtual and all the employees (there are five of them now) work
together using cloud based technologies. In short, I live in the clouds. I
thought, I will share my cloud strategy in this space. As a part of this, I will
be writing a series of posts reviewing different cloud based apps I use in my
I use the following guidelines when I select one app
provider over the other. Again, I want to emphasize that these are my personal
preferences and there is no fool proof way to select a provider. Also, read my
post about the questions
you should ask a cloud vendor before trusting your data.
- Reliability of the provider: Before I trust my data with a cloud provider, I
want to make sure that the provider will be there for a long haul. I check the
“About Us” or “Contact Us” page to make sure that there is a physical address
associated with the provider. Having a telephone number in the contacts page is
a big plus. I also check if they have any information about the management team
and if anyone in the team is a well known person in the techbiz field. Though it
is not a essential criteria for me, I try to gather as much information about
the company before I trust my data with them.
- Security: I check their website, including FAQ pages, to make sure that they
have implemented security correctly and to my satisfaction. When I put the data
out there in the clouds, I want to have the best possible security and there can
be no compromises on this.
- Data Portability: I will trust a provider with my data only if they offer an
easy way for me to export my data in an open standards based format. This is
very vital for me because I don’t want a cloud provider to take my data hostage.
If any provider offers to export the data in a proprietary format, it doesn’t
cut ice with me. I want it in an open standards based format so that I can take
data along with me wherever I go.
- Multi-OS Support: I use different OS on my different machines. So I want a
client which will work across many different OSes.
- Mobile Support: The greatest advantage of putting my data in the clouds is
its near ubiquitous availability. In order to tap on this unique property of
cloud computing, I would like the cloud vendor to release a mobile app to access
my data from anywhere.
- Ownership of Data: The first thing I check before trusting my data with a
cloud vendor is their Terms of Service. If any cloud vendor tells me that they
will assume the ownership of any data we entrust in their clouds, I just close
my browser tab and move on. Only I own my data and no one else can claim any
ownership to that data.
- Ease of Use: The app should be easy to use even for a layman.
are the absolute essential requirements for me before I trust my data with a
cloud vendor. I would also like to see the following two features incorporated
though they are not part of the essential requirements.
- OpenID: I would prefer to have openID based login so that I can use the same
identity over all the different apps.
- Opensource: This is a long shot and it is based entirely on my personal
beliefs. I will feel very confident if the vendor releases the source code of
the app under one of the OSI approved licenses. Apart from the actual benefits
of Opensource, I can also be sure that I will still be able to use the app even
if the cloud vendor goes out of business. WordPress, Wikidot, Deki Wiki, etc. are examples of
cloud based apps available as opensource.
The idea behind this post is
to share my experience as a consumer of cloud computing services. Everyone has
their own requirements and philosophy while selecting a cloud vendor. There is
no single approach that can be considered as a correct approach. However, I hope
that this series serves as a good starting point for the newcomers planning to
enter the clouds.