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A comparison of public cloud providers: AWS, Azure, and Google. Part 2

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

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.

This may interested you, too:
A comparison of public cloud providers: AWS, Azure, and Google (Part 1)

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.

Would you like to know more?

Pls contact Jan Aril Sigvartsen our Cloud Transformation Expert or fill in the form.

Where are you on the cloud journey compared to your competitors? Find out here in our Next step cloud guide!

What is the Azure Stack?

– Azure Stack is Azure public cloud services delivered from our own local datacenter. It is made up of dedicated hardware delivered by Microsoft certified partners such as HP/Dell/Lenovo based on Microsoft specifications.

What is the Azure Stack?
– Azure Stack is Azure public cloud services delivered from our own local datacenter. It is made up of dedicated hardware delivered by Microsoft certified partners such as HP/Dell/Lenovo based on Microsoft specifications. The solution is available through the Azure Stack portal, APIs, Resource Manager templates. These are all consistent with the Azure in the public cloud, so the experience for the IT Pro and developer are the same.

Are all Azure services available?
– No, just as in the public cloud version of Azure. The services offered in the region may differ. In the Azure Stack, a subset of the services will be available. To begin with, the focus will be on core services compute, storage and networking (IaaS) and certain PaaS services (App Service, Service Fabric). This will be expanded during the next releases. Some services will never be appropriate to establish in a local version of Azure, ex: HPC solutions where one scales up to 1000 computers for a few hours.

When will it be launched?
-Today the Technical Preview v3 (TP3) is available. GA (General Availability) from Microsoft is scheduled to be in middle of the summer, and for a period after the launch there will be tests and integration tests with hardware vendors before the solution is installed in Basefarm’s data center.

When will it be available As A Service from Basefarm?
– Basefarm plans to offer Azure Stack during the late summer/fall. This depends on Microsoft and hardware partners.

How should the Basefarm offer Azure Stack?
– Basefarm will initially offer Azure Stack as a Service just as Azure in the public cloud. This means several customers can use the solution as they would like. There will also be a Pay As You GO model. It will also be possible to offer Azure Stack as a dedicated solution for the customers has special requirements and needs.

What are the key scenarios for Azure Stack?
– Azure Stack is relevant for customers with needs for solutions and data to be local. There may be various reasons for this. Here some examples:

  • Modernization of legacy applications. You have an existing application that consists of layers that you would like to modernize, e.g. the Web frontend. Taking advantage of the flexibility that public cloud offers is tempting, but you cannot move it all to the Azure because of a larger database, software that is not supported in Azure or software that cannot run in Azure due to dependencies to other components.
  • Latency, the distance to the Azure regions (e.g. The Netherlands and Dublin) is too large and it is creating a delay in the network.
  • Regulatory requirements, e.g. requirements for inspection of the data center.
  • Data sovereignty, data needs to stay in the country

How will the Azure Stack connect with public Azure (technical and billing/subscription)?
– Billing/subscription: The customer can buy consumption in the Azure Stack through Basefarm’s Cloud Solution Provider Agreement with Microsoft. The same ‘pay as you go’ model and the flexibility as in the public cloud.
– Technical: Basically, customers can build solutions that run across the Azure public and Azure Stack. Furthermore, it is also planned for the combinations of these with Basefarm’s own cloud solutions/private clouds.

Do I need an Azure subscription to use Azure Stack?
– Yes. One uses a subscription just as in Azure public cloud. It’s consistent.

Will Basefarm offer operation services for infrastructure based on Azure Stack?
-Yes. We will offer operations like we do on Azure. The managed services will be flexible to the customer depending on whether their focus is DevOps with customer’s process and control, or a more ITIL based process offered by Basefarm.

Replaces the Azure Stack a typical “private cloud”?
– Eventually. Initially it is a limited version of public Azure.

Can I start to test and possibly create a reference architecture for the Azure Stack today?
– Yes. You can set up a test version (TP3), but the easiest way is to use public Azure and set Resource Policies on a subscription or a resource group. You can read more about that on the Microsoft blog.

Where can I find more information about Azure Stack?
– Azure Stack Shotcuts is a good place to start. Jeffrey Snover (Microsoft), Chief Architect Azure Stack, held on 7. May an overall presentation during DEVIntersection that gives a good updated introduction to Azure Stack.

Who can I contact for more information in Basefarm around Azure Stack?
– Please contact Geir Morten Allum, Senior Cloud Architect – Product Development, geir.morten.allum@basefarm.com