CAPSiDE does an ongoing work of provider evaluation, as we choose or recommend where to host our clients’ projects according to the needs and limitations, both technical and economic, that may exist.
A provider’s evaluation is not a simple “approval process” but a continuous task. Once we are operating customers platforms with a provider, that’s when we find the true provider.
The 6 main points that we constantly monitor are:
1- Honesty and Transparency
“Bad things happen“: datacentres fall, cables are accidentally unplugged, operators make mistakes, etc.
We ask the provider to be totally transparent when failures happen and try not to hide them since the truth flourishes over time, and the possible concealment can make us mistrust them.
Our clients aren’t dumb, and so aren’t our engineers, so we expect the providers’ reports to be clear, concise, providing the necessary, relevant and internal information and suggesting solutions to fix problems. We expect the actions to be planned and executed, both in the short and long term.
2- Hardware quality
Hardware is the final element where our application is being run on.
Using high-quality hardware is very important.
Many providers offer very attractive prices at first glance, based on clone hardware, desktop processors, poor quality memory, desktop hard disks, Software RAID and more besides.
It is not only the quality of the servers that must be kept an eye on, but also switching, cooling, UPS…
The quality of these elements is crucial for proper availability. Some providers make big sacrifices to reduce at the lowest price, and that ends up entailing “hidden” commitments.
3- Technical quality of the staff
A provider might have the best hardware and infrastructure of the market, but it won’t be able to offer quality service if the staff doesn’t have the adequate training and capacity to carry out their job. The staff’s enablement and experience, as well as the investment in continuous training that the company makes, are vital to guarantee the quality of the service, now and in the future.
4- Management cost
Not everything comes down to technical management capacity. The fewer faculties the provider has to transmit data electronically (integrating with other systems, meaning having APIs), the more capacity we need to manage, and therefore more costs being passed to the customer.
An SLA complaint must be addressed clearly and promptly.
SLAs must be clear, as well as the way to compensate and under what situations. It is preferable that the provider proactively takes action to compensate for being non-compliant to the SLA, in the case it fails to comply.
6- Response to problems
We have a said at CAPSiDE: “clients don’t call us just for the sake of it“.
If a client calls us, we listen to it and we try to understand what it’s trying to communicate.
It is clear that clients don’t usually have the technical level our engineers have and we require the engineers to be aware of that, not expecting to receive a technical and detailed description of the problem. We must strive to understand what the client is worried about and what does it need: “the client isn’t calling because it’s bored”.
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What’s the first thing you learn at CAPSiDE?
When we call a provider, we expect to be treated with the same philosophy. We expect the provider to understand that we call with a problem out of our scope to solve, and we have already diagnosed as far as we have been able to. With this in mind, we determine that the last part of the solution relies on the provider, and we expect the communication to be efficient the same way it happens among technical staff, who should be able to communicate in a technical language. We hope the provider understands that it’s adding time to the solution of a problem that is already been diagnosed, and that time goes against the interests of the final customer.
Provider evaluation and neutral position
Unfortunately, these principles aren’t found on too many providers, and they’re also dynamic, being altered by multiple circumstances: purchases, contracting, changes of direction, growth or decrease, etc.
We have been constantly evaluating our providers for a long time, keeping a neutral position in our choice, in many cases delegating it to the client, adjusting the provider to the needs of the customer.