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Choice Stress: Which Platform Do You Choose for your Cloud Application?

Choosing the right cloud platform for your application can be stressful.
Ernst Veen
December 06 2018

Choice stress: the breeding ground for fatigue. Sometimes even the cause of a hefty burn-out. You choose the whole day, every day. Anything from what kind of sandwich you want for lunch, to what you want with your career and your relationship. It’s thus not unexpected that you might go crazy from exhaustion.

Choosing the right cloud platform for your application can be stressful. There are multiple sources that compare the 3 biggest public clouds, but it's always from an enterprise, end-customer perspective. While, as a software company, you want to provide your customers with the safest and best performing cloud, you also consider the cost price and development functionality.

In this blog I pinpoint a couple of specifics of Amazon, Azure and Google Cloud, that are important for you to bear in mind. I will assume that you have already made the choice that you want to bring an application or your ICT infrastructure (partly) to the cloud—for all logical reasons as far as I am concerned!

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers almost all functions that you may need. With AWS, you gain access to computing power, data storage or other functionalities that are required for software developers. AWS offers services such as developer tools, management tools, mobile services and application solutions. As you can probably guess, you can combine those application solutions with computer and database infrastructures.

In addition to the wide range of services, the prices of cloud computing have been adjusted since the start in 2006 and remain competitive with all other cloud providers. Across the board, the trend is that they continue to fall as a result of competition. AWS offers free service levels for start-ups and private individuals (for start-ups, Azure does that too). That is an easy way to try before you buy. In addition, development teams can buy servers per-second, instead of per-hour. Depending on which services the team uses, you can certainly find a reasonable AWS price structure that is lower than the costs of all those infrastructure investments.

I have frequently heard feedback about AWS in that they can help you particularly in the initial phase. So, if you want to go the DIY route, you may want to opt for AWS.

Microsoft Azure

Just like AWS, Azure offers a full range of solutions for software developers. The platform offers you the possibility to use and manage virtual machines as a scale. You can process and calculate within a few minutes on any desired capacity. In addition, if you need to run custom software on large-scale parallel batch processing, Azure can handle that.

Another advantage of Azure is the seamless integration with the other Microsoft products. The key strength of Microsoft today is that it also integrates with AWS and Google, so putting your Active Directory (central address file of all your users) in Azure is pretty handy. Azure is also a major player in terms of global spread; Azure's computing power is available in over 50 regions. The enormous number of new functionalities that have been announced also means that Azure certainly listens to market demands.

Microsoft was the first cloud provider that was ready for the European Privacy Act and the worldwide standard for privacy ISO27018 and its Trust Center clearly shows that security and compliancy is one of the highest priorities.

Azure has different rates per type of product. The server costs are per-hour and vary depending on certain specifications. The prices are comparable to AWS, however, the parties have both made them incomparable at first glance. Because there is fierce fighting to become the biggest, the prices will remain competitive across the board.

In addition to a full range of functionality and many customization options, Azure is one of the fastest platforms. So, if you are looking for a solution that excels at speed of implementation, operation or scalability, you can opt for Azure. Especially, if you want to work with a strategic partner, Azure is a good option to choose.

Google Cloud Platform

The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) also has a large number of services for developers. As a development team of mobile apps, you may be interested in the App Engine product. This allows an app developer to create applications without having to work with the server. It is a fully managed solution to develop applications in a convenient way. You can also run advanced computers, storage, networks and databases with GCP. Google has fewer services available than AWS and Azure.

GCP is, of course, backed by the giant Google. In short, if there’s a company that knows what scalability is—it’s Google, after all they invented Kubernetes. In addition, GCP continues to expand its security options via third parties; data encryption, multiple layers of authentication and validation. Developers who need an extra buffer of security, could choose GCP.

The costs of GCP are significantly lower than those of the other two, which makes sense because the supply is smaller.

Market Share and Position

 

Market Share Trend, Cloud Infrastructure Services, Source: Synergy Research Group

 “The growth of the cloud in the last two quarters was exceptional”, says John Dinsdale, Chief Analyst and Research Director of the Synergy Research Group. The public cloud market is huge, and the three parties are doing their utmost to continue to grow. With more than 30% market share, AWS is the largest at the moment, but Azure grows year by year and is closing the gap rapidly. AWS and Azure have been appointed by Gartner as number 1 and 2 respectively in the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

Conclusion

Acknowledged by Gartner and the graph above, AWS and Azure are the 2 major public cloud providers. Amazon understood very early that scalability and being present in different markets is crucial. AWS has a lot of functionality readily available, and Microsoft is announcing a lot of new functionalities. In Europe, you predominantly see that Azure is chosen and, in the USA, that the preference is for AWS. This makes European companies seem to trust Microsoft more. A common denominator for all three is that software developers form important building blocks. All three platforms ultimately show a different and quite complex price structure.

So what's the conclusion then—can I instantly relieve your choice stress? Unfortunately, I can't in just this blog alone, you also acknowledge that decision factors weigh differently depending on a wide variety of needs and types of companies. If you are unsure how to weigh out all your options, feel free to contact me because I'd love to chat about your situation.

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