Public cloud and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions are key to digital business success nowadays. On an enterprise level, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform are the industry-leading solutions.
In the first part of this post, we focused on AWS. Now, we’re moving on to Azure and Google. We’ll explain the differences between the solutions and look at which solution is the best fit for which type of company.
Microsoft Azure is the second largest Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) according to Gartner. Microsoft Azure was launched in 2010 as a cloud-based development platform and Platform-as-a-Since (PaaS) but entered the IaaS market a few years later. Microsoft has also transformed from a perpetual license selling organization releasing software yearly to a cloud provider launching new innovative services and features monthly in their cloud platforms. Each year they are closing in on the head start that AWS got, as can be seen in Gartner’s Magic quadrants.
Microsoft has chosen another strategy than AWS when it comes to building out their global presence and made enormous investments in building their hyper scale data centers in a larger number of locations and are as of today available in 36 regions and 6 more announced. In selected regions Microsoft is now investing in Availability Zones and can today be used as a preview service.
Azure has often been chosen as the strategic cloud solution by customers who focus on Microsoft technologies or have a good fit with their cloud strategy which spans IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and the hybrid strategy including Azure Stack. However since 2014 when Microsoft made a strategic shift towards the open source community, Linux is now a first class citizen in Azure and several PaaS services uses open source (e.g. Hadoop, Kubernetes, Spark).
Enterprises are still the primary focus for Microsoft even though they are reaching out to startups. This is seen through their large local customer teams in all countries, their focus on compliance, [NÅ1] certifications, security and hybrid strategy. With their push in the market we also start to see large enterprises moving their mission critical systems or creating hybrid cloud strategies with Azure.
The speed of innovation in the cloud has a cost, and this cost has been seen in slow support, lack of documentation, training and a slow partner eco system. These issues have been actively addressed and improvements are being done continuously.
Google Cloud Platform
In 2011, Google joined the swathes of providers venturing into the cloud market with its PaaS solutions. Since then, it has also added IaaS services to its portfolio. The Google Cloud Platform now offers all the core functions required for enterprise workloads, and Gartner even rates the company as a leader in the fields of application containers, big data management, and machine learning. Google’s open-source, platform-independent machine learning platform is a unique feature of its portfolio.
Google has added SaaS solutions to its IaaS and PaaS portfolio, including productivity tools that incorporate traditional Office components. Google does not offer any discounts for these tools via enterprise agreements, but instead employs its own program in which customers pay less for each software unit the more they use the cloud platform.
The company’s regional presence is often cited as a limiting factor, but Google is currently expanding its international decentral data center capacity. The other enterprise functions, such as the role-based access controls and user management tools, are, according to Gartner, also ripe for expansion. Google is working on a solution and is expected to have gained ground on AWS and Azure by the time the next Gartner analysis is conducted.
Which cloud provider for which type of company?
The analyses and comparisons highlight differences, individual strengths, and potential areas for expansion. With all these factors to consider, companies seldom choose to put all their eggs in one basket by partnering with a single cloud provider. According to Gartner’s findings, most opt for a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy. Depending on the application area, companies use services from at least two, and sometimes even all three leading public cloud providers.
With this in mind, we recommend that companies develop their own assessment criteria based on their own application scenarios – then use their assessments to decide which public cloud provider is the best fit for their organization. One of the challenges is the many technology choices one has to make when implementing a service or creating an application. Unclear guidance on when to use what makes it harder and more complex to pick the right implementation.
If a hybrid or multi-cloud solution is on the table, it is a good idea to obtain external expert advice. At least for the time being, it is unlikely that a single provider will be able to satisfy all the requirements of a company.
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A comparison of public cloud providers: AWS, Azure, and Google (Part 1)
If you’re looking for enterprise-level public cloud and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are likely to be among the first names to spring to mind..
If you’re looking for enterprise-level public cloud and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are likely to be among the first names to spring to mind. In Gartner’s view, Google is hot on their heels – and these top-three major players are well ahead of others in the field. Here, we take a closer look at the differences between the providers – starting with AWS.
For its latest analysis “Magic Quadrant for Cloud IaaS”, American market research firm Gartner rated the performance of the leading public cloud platforms against 234 criteria. AWS came out on top, achieving 92 per cent of the defined requirements for IaaS services, closely followed by Microsoft with 88 per cent. Google Cloud Platform came in third with a score of 70 per cent, although the internet giant is edging ever-closer to a leader score.
The three main players are all expanding their portfolios, which makes it even more difficult for companies to choose between them. Our comparison might help you decide which cloud provider is in the best position to meet your needs.
Amazon Web Services
Of all the providers, AWS boasts the most mature cloud offering. As a result, it is often the first-choice partner for the majority of applications. One of the main reasons for this popularity is that, alongside its public cloud services in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) sector, AWS also offers a wide range of tools for customers who wish to use Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technology to develop, test, and launch their own applications, including DevOps tools and tools for the development of mobile services. AWS also offers Hadoop cluster, data lake, and database options.
Another of the provider’s strengths is its global cloud infrastructure. AWS currently has more than 44 availability zones in 16 regions. Each of these availability zones boasts one or more dedicated data centers; each of these data centers meets the highest security standards and achieves unprecedented levels of reliability. Last year, AWS had more computing power in its cloud than all its competitors put together.
However, the factor that really sets AWS apart from other providers is the scope and depth of its platform. AWS is continually adding new services, technologies, and functions to its offering. At the AWS Re:Invent developer conference the company recently unveiled an impressive new series of tools dedicated specifically to machine learning technology, which is set to burst onto the scene in the very near future.
These tools included the world’s first deep-learning and fully programmable video camera, and a technology that tracks people in videos and can detect and categorize their actions. The company also revealed an analysis tool capable of recognizing 100 different languages and various linguistic units (places, names, people, and more), as well as a fully managed end-to-end service for scalable machine learning models.
To make efficient and effective use of these opportunities – for example, to adapt your own applications for the cloud or to link AWS cloud services to your own IT environment – it is a smart idea to obtain professional advice. With expert support, medium-sized companies can get the guidance they need for a smooth and easy transition to the cloud.
We’ll discuss the differences between the AWS public cloud and IaaS services from Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform – plus the strengths of each solution and which options are best suited to which types of company – in the second part of this post.
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