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Choosing and Purchasing a Cloud Solution

Does your group want to move its servers, applications, or other IT resources to the cloud, or investigate a cloud solution to meet a business need? This guide is designed to help members of the Stanford community think about, choose, and purchase the best cloud solution for their needs. 

Step 1: Review Criteria for Cloud Solutions

There are many technical and business issues to consider when choosing a cloud solution.  The detailed information in the sections below will help you to determine the best fit for your needs.  The best cloud solutions for Stanford will:

  • Meet your business requirements.
  • Integrate with your infrastructure and authentication.
  • Meet Stanford's information security requirements.
  • Fit your portfolio as it changes over time.
  • Be produced by a viable company with a strong track record.
  • Align with the staff expertise that will be available to you.

The next section of this page will link you to information about different types of cloud solutions, to help you make the best choice.

Step 2: Choose a Cloud Solution

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is managed and hosted by the vendor and accessed through your browser. Because the vendor maintains everything needed to run SaaS, including the software, servers, and storage, SaaS requires less technical expertise than other cloud solutions. It is a popular cloud solution choice at Stanford, where SaaS products have been deployed for over a decade. Popular SaaS products include Microsoft Office 365, Slack, Google apps, Box, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services.

Software-as-a-Service is Stanford's recommended choice if it meets your needs. For important information about SaaS at Stanford, review the following:

With Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), the vendor manages the software platform infrastructure, and you develop, run, and manage applications and data on that platform. PaaS requires the technical expertise to develop and operate applications on a cloud platform. Popular PaaS products include Microsoft Azure, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and by Salesforce.

To learn more about PaaS, see:

With Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), you create an infrastructure in the cloud using resources provided by an IaaS vendor, then you develop, run, or manage software within that system. IaaS is the most customizable cloud solution, but it also requires the technical expertise to create and manage an infrastructure and to develop and/or operate software in the cloud. Popular IaaS vendors include Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services.

In some cases, a cloud solution might not meet your needs. If you have considered SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS but need another option, then submit a Help request to discuss the next steps for your group.

Submit a Help request

Step 3: Purchase a Cloud Solution

University IT has contracts and agreements with a variety of vendors. For a list of these vendors, see our UIT Strategic Cloud Vendor List. To learn more about working effectively with cloud vendors throughout the product lifecycle, see best practices for acquiring and managing Cloud applications and visit the Cloud Vendor Management website.