Operators’ needs in the cloud data center are constantly evolving. They spend a lot of time articulating what they want, evaluating partners and managing build cycles. But as busy people, where do you start, and how do you know you’re asking the right questions? Here are four to ask when talking with a potential manufacturing partner in the cloud infrastructure space.
Do their products scale?
Cloud data centers are incredibly elastic. Deploying new services, complying with evolving security requirements, and adding or removing capacity for customers are just some of the examples partners must face on a daily basis. Scaling up and down to meet these computing needs on weeks’ or even days’ notice is the norm. This requires infrastructure solutions that are flexible and can scale with the needs of the network.
Is their manufacturing capability up to the task?
For capacity, redundancy and latency purposes, cloud data center footprints are often spread over several sites across several geographic regions. Additionally, their volume needs are unpredictable and can overwhelm manufacturing capacity. This requires infrastructure manufacturer partners that:
- Have adequate capacity to meet the customer’s needs.
- Have in-region manufacturing to be closer to their customers, reducing the order-to-deliver lifecycle.
Can the company support my service needs?
The highly elastic nature of cloud data centers lends itself to working with infrastructure manufacturers who offer the best customer service. The notion of an “exceptional, out-of-the-box experience” is the market expectation. Define exactly what your service needs are to evaluate potential partners against this.
Are they looking beyond where the market is today, and will they be able to help me navigate network evolution?
The pace of change in cloud data center infrastructure today is unprecedented. Backbone speeds have quickly accelerated to 100GbE and will go to 400GbE as soon as it’s commercially available. Your partners should not only be monitoring this acceleration, but also be able to clearly articulate their roadmaps and how they will enable your infrastructure to evolve with their solutions.
Ultimately, different cloud operators have different criteria unique to their business. They also use different evaluation criteria to select manufacturing partners. In your experience, what capabilities are most important when choosing manufacturing partners in the cloud infrastructure space? Let us know in the comments below.