July 13, 2011, 1:20 PM — Two types of cloud computing - software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) -- promise to bring great changes to the role of IT in the enterprise. IT professionals really need to learn how to talk the talk when it comes to SaaS and IaaS if they want to stay ahead of the trends.
In particular, CIOs and their IT departments need to take charge of the process of choosing a SaaS provider or an IaaS provider. For that, they need a thorough understanding of their business needs and their technical needs.
They also need to know what questions to ask of potential SaaS and IaaS providers. For example, what happens if your cloud computing resources become unavailable? How is data backed up? How do you meet regulatory compliance requirements?
CIOs also need to bear in mind integration requirements, and they need to look down the road for potential changes. What if you want to change SaaS providers? What if you want to migrate to a different application? How do you avoid vendor lock-in, to keep those options open?
In this comprehensive guide, Network World has brought together some of the best practices for choosing SaaS providers and IaaS providers. The guide lays out what questions to ask, and relays the specific experiences of two early adopters and the lessons they learned. Plus, we've collected 10 SaaS companies to keep on your radar, companies to ask those tough questions.