CLOUD STORAGE

The Top 3 Cloud Platform Providers: Pros and Cons

Enterprise applications are on the move and looking to find their new host. They are stepping beyond the restrictive confines of their in-house data centers to explore living on the cloud(s). But the cloud world is never stationary; the cloud landscape is in a constant state of flux. Hosts flex their computing muscle, bring out innovative offers and dole out price-cuts to win the customer acquisition contest.  

With all of the rapid changes in the field, it’s easy to lose track of developments.

If you are not tuned-in, you are likely to feel spaced-out soon.

Are you are an enterprise CEO on the lookout for your cloud platform provider?

Where Is Your New Home?

How to shop for a cloud platform that ‘fits your firm’? The answer is neither simple nor definitive. Whatever best fits your enterprise philosophy, needs and budget (in that order) is the right option for you.

Let’s give you two quick tips on selecting your enterprise PaaS:

Two: Let the developer’s requirements take primacy.

One: Forget the Cloud (Price) Wars, there are a host of other aspects to consider.

Are you starting to second-guess your decision to migrate to cloud?  Not in the mood for another long-winded essay on Rackspace vs. Azure or Google Cloud vs. AWS?  Well, we don’t blame you!

We understand you are looking for a ‘Quick Guide’ to help in deciding which cloud platform to get on.  And we bring it to you!

Here is a “Comparison of Top 3 Cloud providers” along with ‘Benefit Mapping.’

3. AWS

Amazon Web Services(AWS) is the market leader in cloud computing segment and offers the widest range of cloud services. Its impressive list of services includes the provision of computing power, storage space, networking, databases, load balancers, applications and application development platforms.

Pros

  • Most diverse offering, with 9 families and 38 types of instances
  • Well integrated with their IaaS offering
  • Dropped prices 21 times, since it debuted six years ago

Cons

  • Three major outages in 2 years
  • Security implications of hosting critical enterprise applications on a public cloud
  • Big learning curve

Watch out for:

  • Like others in its space, Amazon is trying to add more enterprises to its star-studded lineup.
  • In pursuit of its goal, it launches new offerings and undertakes updates of existing features. For example, Glacier was deployed to cater to the long-term storage needs of organizations.
  • Creates winning partnerships, like its pairing with private cloud company Eucalyptus to give its customers the hybrid cloud option. More are in the offing according to our sources.

2. Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers a full complement of products and services to enterprises of all sizes to build products of any scale and complexity. The cloud platform provides computing, storage, networking, big data and machine learning capabilities. Google has launched differentiated products for each of these services to suit specific enterprise needs. For instance, in the computing segment Google has three different options on offer: the App Engine, the Compute Engine, and the Container Engine. Similarly, it provides varied products like the vision API, the speech API, and the translate API under its machine learning platform. Coming to how Google holds up to other cloud providers, it is the only vendor that can match Amazon on scale. Also, Google’s data centers are optimized for scaling, and that’s a huge positive in its favor. Unlike Amazon, Google did not have an enterprise IaaS offering that offered on-demand VMs and storage services, except for a limited customer-facing service in the form of the Google Drive. The launch of Google Compute Engine plugged that particular gap. However, we think, Google’s strengths lie in data management, if you are an enterprise with data-centric solutions/products or if you need to host your data-intensive enterprise applications on the cloud, Google should be your first choice.

Pros

  • Fastest I/O, lesser access time.
  • Google’s sustained use option doesn’t require upfront payment and is not limited to the utilization of a particular instance like its counterpart Amazon’s Reserved Instances (RI)
  • Google is adding more regions (as of March 2016, they added two new regions & said ten more are in the pipeline)
  • Google is strong in the data analytics and storage segment
  • Well integrated with other Google services.
  • Browser based one click ssh console

Cons

  • Most of the components are based on Google proprietary technologies, no actual control over the VMs
  • Choice of programming languages is limited unlike AWS.  Some Java API’s supported in AWS are not available in the App Engine.
  • It’s not easy to transition away from Google Cloud Platform .

Watch out for:

Gartner has predicted that IoT apps will drive the next round of PaaS adoption by enterprises. Google Cloud Platform  with its data analytics strengths will surely appeal to enterprises looking to launch IoT products.

1. Microsoft Azure

Microsoft is among the fastest growing cloud platforms. For most enterprises their back office IT operations are serviced by Microsoft. This gives it a considerable advantage when trying to persuade them to try its cloud platform. Microsoft’s strong suits are the applications and OS segments.

Pros

  • You get access to VMs, so developers have adequate flexibility
  • It’s fully scalable and supports multiple frameworks, languages, and tools
  • Excellent networking technology
  • Azure integrates well with the principal Microsoft on-premise systems

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive
  • Series of outages are a concern.
  • Doesn’t provide as many options for those on platforms other than Windows servers, despite claims of having embraced open source platforms.

Watch out for:

It’s Hybrid Cloud strategy, especially Microsoft’s new Hyper-V Container technology.

Selecting the right cloud platform will finally hinge on the organization’s technology and business needs. Enterprises may also choose to spread their cloud presence over different platforms that are suitable for particular products or specific operations.

Hope we helped your quest for the right cloud. Look to this space for the latest updates on the cloud platform segment.

Murali Dodda is a Cloud Technology Specialist with over 15 years of experience. He graduated from the prestigious IIT Madras. Murali provides 'technology and business leadership' to startups and has overseen successful exits for several of them. He is currently leading a team of technologists at Bitmin, a hot new startup delivering cloud services. Murali uses his weekends to catch up on the latest developments in technology innovation, product development, and entrepreneurship domains. Being an enthusiastic blogger, he shares exciting developments & his experiences with designing & deploying cloud strategies through his blog. If you want an inside view of cloud deployment for real-world clients, follow this blog.

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