What you are looking for when hosting big data operations on the cloud is decidedly different from what you are looking for with normal application and data hosting.

Image: apinan/Adobe Stock

There are clouds specializing in running mission-critical applications such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor clouds specializing in providing services to industrial sectors specific such as finance or logistics.

Likewise, when it comes to managing large sets of data which is a combination of structured, unstructured and semi-structured data, there are specialized big data clouds.

Clouds that manage Big Data have the ability to rapidly scale large amounts of storage and processing. They can invoke big data technology designed to ingest many different forms of data and then perform algorithmic operations on the data.

Some clouds excel in offering infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which provides businesses with all the infrastructure and tools they need to perform their own big data operations. In other cases, big data cloud service providers offer advice and expertise and also outsource staff.

Thus, it can be difficult for companies to determine which approaches and selection criteria to consider when looking for a big data cloud provider.

SEE: Microsoft Power Platform: What you need to know about it (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. Understand your big data processing needs

Understanding where your organization falls on this spectrum is the first thing to do before looking for a big data cloud service provider.

Some large companies are very advanced in deploying their Big Data strategies. They have in-house expertise and have already successfully deployed big data modeling and analytics.

Their interest in big data cloud services might only be to scale the infrastructure as needed, so they don’t have to make costly capital investments in their data centers. In a situation like this, a company will likely be looking for a big data cloud service provider that has the ability to scale storage and processing infrastructure on demand.

At the other end of the spectrum are companies that lack the internal expertise and resources for Big Data, but still need to process it. These businesses are more likely to seek a big data cloud provider that provides both infrastructure and complementary services such as consulting, data management, and even the ability to develop and maintain big data applications for the enterprise. .

Between these two extremes are enterprises that want a mix of self-managed and vendor-managed big data services.

2. Align with a big data service provider compatible with your existing IT infrastructure

If you already run big data applications on a particular platform, it’s important to find a big data cloud service provider that also supports it.

Additionally, if you have a set of security and governance standards that you apply internally to big data, it is important to find a big data cloud service provider that can provide the same level of governance and security. , as well as utilities and tools in the cloud that may affect these governance and security standards.

3. Review cloud provider tools and resources

Does the cloud provider have a robust set of tools and utilities that your staff can easily learn and use to manage your cloud big data operations? And if you are a business that lacks big data expertise, does the big data cloud provider have consulting and outsourcing staff that can manage your big data for you, depending on your specs?

4. Don’t forget the network

The cost of reliable data communications between your big data cloud provider and your own data center is not cheap. It helps if your big data service provider has a facility in your geographic region. A more localized cloud installation can reduce costs and also the possibility of service interruptions.

5. Will the big data cloud service provider work with you on costs?

A recent Pepperdata survey found that more than a third of enterprises exceeded their cloud budgets for standard services by up to 40%.

In the big data cloud world, determining processing and storage costs is even more difficult because there is so little cost history. You may not know how much big data your application will ingest or process or how much you will have to pay to store the data.

One last word

The good news for companies looking for big data cloud services is the number of mature cloud providers capable of providing a wide range of big data services. Among them are Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, IBM and others.

Once you understand your company’s current and future big data needs, you can research the vendor that best fits your IT orientation.