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The year's 10 most important cloud provider tips

Check out our most popular cloud provider tips from 2013, with experts weighing in on everything from software-defined networking to OpenStack.

Cloud service providers have had many different opportunities for growth this year, from developing cloud partner programs to building industry-specific cloud markets.

Software-defined networking (SDN) was a hot topic for cloud providers this year with several of our most popular expert tips covering everything from overcoming barriers to SDN adoption to determining which model of SDN to deploy.

Check out our full list of top cloud provider tips for 2013, including advice on FISMA compliance and an analysis of what "open" cloud services really mean.

10. Five best practices for developing a successful cloud partner program

More IT channel partners are looking to expand their cloud services portfolio by seeking partnerships with cloud service providers that can give them the necessary financial and technical resources. To develop a strong cloud partner program, cloud providers should follow the best practices outlined in this article.

9. Unlocking the potential of SDN controller applications

SDN controller applications tend to be specific to the controllers for which they are written, so cloud providers must pay special attention to the architecture supporting them. To get the most out of SDN controller applications, learn how three sources of route information -- route provisioning, route sniffing and path computation -- correlate to different controller applications.

8. How to build a vertical market cloud practice

Developing industry-specific cloud services takes more than just identifying potential clients. Providers must have a deep understanding of the industry, including core business needs and knowledge of specific security regulations.

7. FISMA compliance through continuous monitoring: Tips for cloud providers

Cloud providers courting U.S. government customers must follow strict guidelines to maintain Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) compliance. Through continuous monitoring, providers can create a dynamic strategy to provide the real-time situational awareness they need to make evidence-based security decisions.

6. Cloud demands new IT organizational structure: How providers can help

Why on earth would cloud providers want to help enterprises build private clouds? The goal of many enterprises is to work with providers to create hybrid clouds that are more scalable, elastic and cost-efficient than private clouds alone. That's why.

5. Open cloud: Just a buzzword or the future of infrastructure?

What does it mean for cloud services to be open? Openness is about more than just cost and code; it's about encouraging customers to do business with you -- not because they have to, but because they want to.

4. SDN's missing links: Five barriers blocking SDN adoption by providers

Software-defined networking has scores of potential benefits, but there are still five main barriers that are preventing cloud providers from adopting it.

3. Is OpenStack architecture really the best choice to build IaaS clouds?

OpenStack may be the key to facilitating hybrid cloud and cloud federation. And while it's the most popular software tool to create Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environments, it still lags behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure as a commercial cloud platform.

2. OpenFlow tutorial for cloud providers

OpenFlow, an open source SDN protocol, can be a competitive advantage in the cloud. But OpenFlow alone isn't a complete SDN strategy. This tutorial explains how cloud providers can get the most out of OpenFlow.

1. Three models of SDN explained

Rounding out the top 10 cloud service provider tips is an article that discusses the basics of one of the most discussed topics of the year: software-defined networking. Before cloud providers deploy or pilot SDN, they have to decide which model of SDN best suits their needs.

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