Skip to main content

Solicitations for Cloud Computing Need to Reflect Cloud Reality

 


by James Townsend

For several years the information technology industry has been migrating from traditional on premises deployment of software in the data center to cloud computing hosted by industry leaders such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.  Solicitations for new software often fail to reflect the reality of cloud computing.

Here are some of the ways that solicitations (also called tenders and requests for proposals) miss the mark:

  1. Asking for hardware requirements.  Cloud solutions do not require server hardware, but often the solicitation includes hardware questions and specifications. 
  2. Unrealistic availability goals. Availability of servers is usually stated in terms of the percentage of uptime. Some solicitations call for 99.999% uptime.  This amounts to a bit over 5 minutes downtime in a year.  The total availability of a system is calculated as the product of all the availability service level agreements (SLAs) of its constituent elements.  AWS and Microsoft offer different SLAs for their services, the most common of which are 99.95% uptime.  If your solution relies on three such services which are dependent on one another, the total uptime SLA would be 99.95 x 99.95 x 99.95 or 99.85%.  A higher availability may be achieved through additional levels of redundancy and failover, but at a significant cost that is not warranted for the majority of business systems. 
  3. Unrealistic performance goals. Some solicitations call for performance goals such as no function requiring more than x second to execute.  These are often overly broad and difficult to test or implement.  Some functions inherently require more time than a few seconds, such as reporting, integrations, and data exports.
  4. Traditional pricing models. One of the ways that cloud computing can save an organization money is that you are billed based on actual utilization of computing resources such as processing, network, and storage.  Your bill will be different from one month to the next depending on the actual load.  It may not be possible to predict the billing accurately, especially for a new system or one for which historical usage has not been tracked.  Similarly, cloud software is usually billed based on monthly subscriptions rather than perpetual licensing models.  
  5. Security procedures. Cloud providers are the world's leaders in security, and invest far more in protecting their assets than any of their customers.  While AWS and Microsoft meet and exceed industry certifications, some solicitations call for outdated processes which customers may be using for their data centers, or ask questions which only make sense for data center deployments. 
If your organization wants cloud computing, or is open to cloud or on premises solutions, you must adopt the language and approach of the cloud in your solicitations.  Performance and pricing goals should be flexible and open enough to allow a cloud bid.  Otherwise it will be difficult to evaluate proposals and you may end stuck with your status quo solution and architecture. 

Popular posts from this blog

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This post introduces some of the key terms and how these concepts are important for planning your implementation. While Dynamics 365 is available on premises, it is most commonly deployed on the Microsoft cloud.  This blog post discusses only cloud implementations. Microsoft has multiple clouds such as commercial and government community clouds. We start with a Microsoft tenant .  A tenant is the account you create in the Microsoft Online Services environment (such as Office 365) when you sign up for a subscription. A tenant contains uniquely identified domains, users, security groups, and subscriptions.  Your tenant has a domain name of .onmicrosoft.com such as acme.onmicrosoft.com.  User accounts belong to a tenant, and subscriptions are assigned to user accoun

Understanding Dynamics 365 and Office 365 Admin Roles

Managing Dynamics 365 instances If you run Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) in the Microsoft cloud, you need to understand how your Dynamics instances relate to Office 365 and choose which of your administrators receives which roles and permissions to manage Dynamics 365. In on premises deployments, your network administrator would create and delete user accounts.  The Dynamics 365 admin would then assign permissions to users in Dynamics 365. This post explains three administrator roles: Office 365 Global Administrator Dynamics 365 System Administrator Dynamics 365 Service Administrator You may think that the Dynamics 365 system administrator would have power to do all the actions needed to manage Dynamics 365, but this is not the case. What's different in Microsoft cloud deployments is that licenses and user accounts are managed in Office 365 by an Office 365 Global Administrator.  This role is analogous to a network administrator for an on premises

Replacing Microsoft InfoPath with Power Apps

Source:  https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/infopath/ by James Townsend Microsoft has offered a number of forms automation products over the years, and the most long running was InfoPath which was released as part of Office 2003.  InfoPath is a powerful and flexible product that stores user data in XML while offering form features such as rules, data validation, scripting, and integration with SharePoint.  The popularity of SharePoint resulted in many organizations standardizing on InfoPath for forms, especially internal forms which are hosted on an intranet such as employee reviews, leave and payment requests, and human resources forms. Microsoft has discontinued InfoPath, with mainstream support ending July 13th, 2021, and extended support ending July 14th, 2026. Microsoft has named Power Apps as the successor to InfoPath .  Power Apps has much in common with InfoPath.  Both products include integration with SharePoint.  Both are geared toward the citizen developer and do