Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS has been on the market since 2002 and has grown year on year into the cloud giant it is today. For over ten years it has been the market share leader in cloud IaaS, and this dominance in the cloud market has definitely contributed to its ongoing success.
It’s a large, comprehensive cloud with a wide scope of operations, a huge variety of available services, and the most elaborate and extensive network of worldwide data centres. AWS offers IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a servicer). Additionally, it also provides developer tools, temporary storage, subnets, private UP addresses, mobile and application services, and virtual machines, amongst much more. It’s maturity, scope and reputation in the market makes it the go to provider for many businesses, as it’s market knowledge and potential leverages it with the deepest capabilities for managing large number of users and resources.
Further benefits include its flexibility, so that both large corporations, and SME’s and start-ups, can all get the most from the Cloud. Additionally, as AWS is the most dominant Cloud provider, there is more documentation, resources, and tutorials about it, which creates a vast knowledge base and makes it easier for people to learn how to use it effectively. As usage and storage is customisable, this makes AWS easy to scale up or down.
The most prevalent issue cited by potential buyers is the cost structure of AWS services. Whilst AWS frequently lower prices, in order to stay competitive, this doesn’t appease the issue of confusion over pricing and cost management when running high volumes of work. This is due to the high level of customisation available. The sheer number of products and services available can also be quite overwhelming, especially as most AWS consumers (start-ups and SME’s) will only need the basic services.
Microsoft Azure was slightly later onto the market, in 2010, but carried the benefits of Microsoft being a mature and experienced player in the IT world. Additionally, they gave themselves a jump start in the market by taking their existing software (Windows Server, Office, SQL Server, Sharepoint, and others) and simply repurposing it for the Cloud. Azure is also a well-developed and highly comprehensive product, offering IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, supporting both Microsoft Windows and Linux systems.
Azure is less flexible than AWS, in that it focusses primarily on enterprise applications, which is both a positive and a negative factor. Microsoft is well-experienced in developing enterprise solutions which is an obvious bonus. Plus, a huge contributing factor to Azure’s success is that many enterprises already use and deploy Microsoft services, like Windows and Office, so with that in place, it is the logical option to simply integrate Azure, because it is already so tightly integrated. This builds up a loyal customer base who rely fully on Microsoft for all their IT needs. Existing Microsoft Enterprise customers can also expect significant discounts on service contracts, which provides another pull factor for Microsoft customers.
Azure has also been touted as on of the fastest cloud solutions available, and is a hybrid cloud that runs both a data centre, and interoperates with data centres; a huge strength.
However, on the downside, the platform is not perfect. Users have cited problems with tech support, training, documentation, and the breadth of the ISV partner ecosystem. This makes the experience feel less enterprise ready, whilst also leaving smaller businesses and start ups with no support or training, so smaller users miss out on essential parts of the cloud.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
GCP was also launched in 2010 and allows for performing high level computing, and offers storage, networking, databases, IoT, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Google has a strong offering in containers as it was responsible for developing the Kubernetes standard that AWS and Azure now both offers.
GCP specialises in Big Data, analytics, and machine learning and is particularly suitable for mobile applications as it allows developers to create apps without dealing with the server. Additionally, GCP offers considerable scale and load balancing, whilst also being famous for its security. GCP’s multiple layers of authentication, encryption, and security specialist teams gives them a strong competitive advantage.
Despite these advantages, GCP is a distant third in market share, far behind AWS and Azure. This is potentially because it’s range of services and features are much more limited than its competitors and doesn’t yet have as many global data centres. Because of these limitations, GCP isn’t often chosen as a sole strategic provider, more as a secondary provider. Most cases where they are chosen as a strategic provider involve clients who are in direct competition with Amazon and therefore don’t want to invest in their products.
So, what does all that mean?
Choosing the best cloud provider can be tough but it’s definitely worth investing time in researching all of your options. Every cloud will offer its own set of benefits, and it’s really down to the company or project at hand to steer the decision making. Each vendor has its own myriad of features and services and comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses, which will make them a better choice for some projects.
I’d love to discuss this further with my network. If you have any opinions, thoughts, or experiences on any of the above, I’d love to hear about them! Just drop a comment or message me directly. Additionally, I am hosting a Trusted Tech Talks webinar near the end of October, “Clash of Clouds” which will see AWS, Azure and GCP go head to head! Contact me for more info or follow Trusted Tech Talks on LinkedIn to stay up to date!