Cloud computing has rapidly become the norm and a key driving force of modern business processes. Its popularity was largely driven by increased agility and lower costs that were accessible to companies when they moved their applications out of on-premise data centers.
While there were significant concerns about data sovereignty and security, they have all been (more or less) addressed by these big three cloud vendors:
- Amazon Web Service
- Google Cloud Platform
- Microsoft Azure
In terms of adoption, the only businesses that still haven’t made the transition come from highly regulated industries. Research suggests that the total spending on cloud infrastructure services which reached $10.3 billion during the fourth quarter of 2016 (a 49% increase year-on-year) will hit $55.8 billion this year (a 46% increase on 2016's total of $38.1 billion).
All three companies have similar offerings and choosing between them will largely come down to individual business needs and goals. However, there are some differences between the three. Let’s take a look.
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Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services, commonly known as AWS, is by far the leader in this space and accounts for one-third of the whole cloud infrastructure market. In fact, the company commands 33.8% of the global market share while its nearest competitors (Microsoft, Google, and IBM) combined only account for 30.8% of the market.
The popularity of AWS can be attributed to the fact that they were the first. In fact, they actually invented this market segment. As a result, they had almost a five-year head start on the competition.
In the beginning, the company only offered basic infrastructure services and provided access to virtual servers through Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2, AWS for file storage, and Amazon Simple Storage Service or S3.
Smaller developers were the ones to first utilize AWS to run tests, basic websites, and experimental apps. When these apps became huge, it quickly grew to accommodate rapidly growing companies like Airbnb, Netflix, and Slack (and they still have AWS at the core of their offering).
As a result, their reputation and the depth and breadth of their solutions are often highly attractive to potential clients. What’s more, it’s also appealing to CIOs as AWS products are highly enterprise-friendly.
When it comes to platform configuration options, policy features, monitoring, security, and reliability, AWS ranks above the competition. Furthermore, its general product strategy and partner ecosystems that accommodate third-party software services in its AWS Marketplace are also perceived as a huge advantage.
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Another key benefit is the open nature of the AWS cloud that ensures enhanced flexibility. This is evidenced by Transport for London that utilizes Microsoft Azure in parts of their operations and depends on AWS to handle spikes in demand for online services (like its Journey Planner tool).
But unlike Microsoft's offering, AWS falls behind when it comes to its hybrid cloud strategy. It’s surprising because highly regulated industries like the financial sector prefer to keep sensitive data in-house within their own data centers while offering their products on a public cloud.
Further, AWS also offers a vast amount of products that can at times be difficult to navigate. However, this is not always seen as a bad thing.
Google Cloud Platform
While the technology giant was quite late getting into the game, it wasn’t long before it started building its own public cloud services and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) business. While its popularity can be directly attributed to the company’s reputation and technology dominance, its Google Cloud Platform (GCP) still has the smallest footprint among the top three cloud services providers.
Google’s offering is popular among the open source community and innovative cloud-native companies. However, it continues to struggle to break into enterprise markets.
As a result, the company’s strategy has been focused on supporting smaller, innovative projects, at large enterprises (instead of becoming their strategic cloud partner). While the company continues to bet on its internal artificial intelligence (AI) expertise, machine learning (ML) tools, and its popular TensorFlow framework as key USPs, its IT processes will need to become focus areas to attract a more traditional enterprise market.
A lot of its offering is quite similar to AWS, but its innovative ML tools along with its Cloud Spanner distributed database and BigQuery analytics engine set it apart.
Microsoft rapidly climbed the ladder in the cloud marketplace as it already had a strong presence in enterprises with its products like Windows and Microsoft Office. As a result, it wasn’t too difficult for companies to make the decision to transition to the cloud.
It’s no surprise as Azure also seamlessly linked with key on-premise systems like the following:
- Active Directory
- System Center
- Windows Server
However AWS is also more than capable of its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities, but in this scenario, Microsoft still comes out on top.
But the company’s reputation has taken a hit over the years as a result of a series of outages. As a result, most companies tend to look away from Azure when it comes to disaster recovery for critical applications hosted on the cloud (but this doesn’t mean that AWS isn’t immune to downtime as evidenced by the recent S3 outage).
Azure also doesn’t stack up well against AWS when it comes to documentation, technical support, training and breadth of its ISV partner ecosystem. O the other hand, AWS offers users a variety of options to support other platforms.
This means that if you plan on running anything other than a Windows Server, you should look elsewhere for a more suitable cloud services solution.
Looking at cloud services providers as a whole, AWS is still leading this space. But as mentioned before, the right choice will be relative to your specific business requirements.
At Intersog, we’re a mobile app development provider with extensive experience in utilizing leading cloud services to help businesses achieve their goals.
To learn more about our experiences, click HERE to schedule a free consultation with one of our in-house experts.