Jul 17, 2017

Is It Time to Start Looking for an Alternative Cloud Provider?


When evaluating cloud solutions, how do you determine which one will best meet your requirements? Should you go with a brand name everyone recognizes? Have you outgrown mega-companies’ tiered customer support and vendor lock-in? Whether you are a startup developing cloud-native applications or your organization needs to adopt cloud technology in conjunction with legacy infrastructure, INAP’s cloud offers differentiation in terms of customer support, performance, cost, scalability and efficiency.

If you’re a tech startup with a cool new idea and need some simple, cheap infrastructure, you may find yourself thinking “Where can I find a good cloud provider for start-ups?”  So off you go to a giant who offers cloud services as one of their many products: you pick a plan, give them your credit card information and bam! Instant access to cloud servers. Your developers are off and on their merry-coding way.

Many companies make this move and enjoy the benefits of trusting a recognizable brand, but for others it may be more like the old wives’ tale of how to boil a frog. The water is room temperature, but as the heat gradually increases so does the danger to the unsuspecting frog who can’t sense the changes.

Fast forward a year: with a little luck and a lot of sweat, the business starts to grow. You nailed a niche, and customers love it. Traffic increases, transactions per second grow, and with it so does your cloud footprint. Every month the cloud bill comes in and, yeah, it’s getting more and more expensive, but you think, “We can manage, and, honestly, the focus is still on perfecting the technical side of product, not the economic side of the product.”

You start to add features that require more infrastructure (storage services, DNS, maybe even some relational database services). But in the back of your mind there is that little voice asking, “Is it getting hot in here?”

All the while, you’re growing fast. You’ve hired more DevOps type staff, people who understand both your application and the infrastructure on which it runs.  In their eyes, infrastructure is code. You’ve invested countless hours and gobs of money training them on your cloud provider’s way. You’ve got serious investors and a solid customer base who are relying on you day in and day out.

Remember that voice in your head?  Now it’s screaming, “This is hot. This is HOT!”

One morning, in the not-too-distant future, Accounts Payable drops the hefty bill on your desk, and you see a number now quickly approaching 6 figures!! At the same moment, your lead engineer hits you up on Slack™ to warn you that your cool yet cumbersome service is having more performance issues that require you to buy more instances to accommodate the slow down. Then it hits you like that five-gallon bucket of ice water you dumped on your head last summer: you’ve hit the tipping point.

Despite careful planning, training and investment, you’re seeing issues all over the place:

  • Inconsistent application performance due to cloud oversubscription
  • Noisy neighbors slowing down your service
  • An ongoing struggle to meet performance expectations due to a lack of visibility and control over the cloud environment

You add and delete cloud instances, but ultimately it just becomes more instances, more services and bigger bills. Despite your best efforts, the latency issues for end users don’t go away, and the bills keep getting higher.

And then it happens… the service goes down.

Oh, and by the way, unless you’re paying five-figures per month, most major cloud providers only offer partial support.  If you’re at a lower rate, just keep quiet and watch the Twitter feed for updates like anyone else. By this point, it may be too late for the frog to jump out of the pot!

What’s your exit strategy?

Here at INAP, we hear this story all the time. We call many of our customers “graduates.” They are at the end of their rope with performance, support and billing issues and have come to us looking for a better way.

They have then run benchmark tests comparing us to the big-box cloud providers and found that our bare-metal servers and optimized IP transport technology outperform the cloud Goliaths at a fraction of the cost, while avoiding vendor lock-in as INAP’s Agile services are deployed using the open source OpenStack platform.

As a result, companies like AppLovin, have significantly reduced operating costs and improved performance with INAP.

So, if you are feeling the heat from increased billing for services, a lack of support for your customer level, or a decrease in efficiency for the product you are paying them for, get out of the pot before it gets too hot! Contact INAP to see how one of our services can help get you back to your comfort level so that you can focus on continuing to grow your business and profits.

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