Yes, we know how hard it is to decide on a cloud provider. We will focus on the top three in this blog – Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure) and Google (GCP).
As mentioned in an earlier blog – Cloud Migration as easy as 1-2-3 – there are certain key facets you need to evaluate in order to reach a decision. Let us look at the most important ones. You get some quick overview of the options in the following wiki page as well – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing_comparison. Also you get a good understanding of the cloud service models around IaaS, PaaS and SaaS in the following youtube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36zducUX16w.
The following infographic captures some of the key considerations which are detailed in this post.
Existing vendor relations
Though we talked about limiting our choices to the top three, let us get an obvious point out of the way first – if you have an existing deep relationship with a vendor who also is one of the top cloud providers, you should definitely think seriously about going with them before looking at other vendors. Therefore, if you are heavily invested-in and committed to Microsoft, IBM or Oracle, they should be your first choice of partner, as that will probably be the smoothest transition.
Some of the key considerations for Cloud Security can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing_security. This YouTube video also addresses key aspects of ‘What are the cloud security challenges?’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bW7VX7Mu1M.
Security is crucial to all companies, and if you are in one of the highly regulated industries or deal with personal data, this is of vital importance. Here, AWS and Azure are your top choices. Though Microsoft claims that Azure has more comprehensive compliance coverage than AWS, AWS is also a safe bet, based on its deep experience and large customer base. GCP would rank the lowest on this aspect, since they are more new to the game.
The picture below captures the results of the survey conducted with one thousand IT professionals on responsibilities around cloud security (courtesy CIO INSIGHT).
Cloud Computing Reliability and Availability
AWS, Azure and Google have had downtimes in the past few years. The below statistics gathered from Cloud Harmony by theinformation.com provides some specific details. Google’s curve is headed in the right direction but since there has been incredible increase in usage on AWS and Azure, the relative percentages could still be lower for them as well. Having said that most of the cloud providers have been continuously improving and their overall reliability is only getting better with time.
Which cloud provider is cheapest?
This one is obviously a key consideration. The various discounts offered by Microsoft, especially its “Basic” service level, has ensured that Azure is the most attractively priced for most situations. Also, Azure and GCP bill based on minutes, while AWS bills by rounding-off to the hour, making Azure and GCP more fine-grained on pricing. Additionally, Azure has no minimum limit, while GCP enforces a minimum of 10 minutes. It is clear why Azure is the leader on the basis of cost-competitiveness.
The charts below show comparison of on demand cloud instance pricing and discounted cloud instance pricing respectively (courtesy RightScale).
Hybrid and Multi-cloud friendliness
Most organizations, when they start moving to the cloud, find that a hybrid cloud setup suits them better as this allows them to continue to use their on-premise hardware environments, at least till they are ready to completely move over. If you are in that situation, it is important for you to know that AWS is not very friendly to hybrid setups while Azure has an unique focus on hybrid cloud. GCP, on the other hand, is the most amenable to multi-cloud setups due to its inherent open nature.
Some of the challenges with scalability on the cloud are addressed in the following YouTube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba7DU9oMNWc.
Cloud infrastructures are, by definition, massively scalable, and all the cloud providers are comfortable with scaling up or down dynamically. However, GCP’s auto load-balancing and auto scaling capabilities significantly outperform the competition, with its ability to scale to over a million requests per second without the pre-warming required by other platforms being a key differentiator.
Nature of workloads
What your systems do is an important indicator to which cloud provider may suit you. If your applications are storage heavy and if massive backups are daily events, then AWS is a natural fit. On the other hand, if you are more into big data, big tables, data analytics and machine learning, GCP is the right choice. If your applications use a lot of Microsoft services like Active Directory and .Net, Azure is obviously your best bet.
As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and every organization must evaluate all the above aspects and decide on the best fit based on their priorities. Deciding on a cloud provider is a complex process. If you need guidance and assistance, Kaiburr, with its vast experience in enabling large scale cloud migrations, may be able to help you. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check this to know about Kaiburr’s AWS partnership.
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