We are all aware of the revolution that cloud computing has brought in the IT world. It has resolved many of the difficulties in setting up and managing complex IT infrastructure. It provides a simple and easy way to access servers, storage, databases and a broad set of application services over the Internet and hence allows companies to focus more on their core businesses. Today, many businesses and enterprises runs on cloud and are benefited by the simplicity, efficiency and reliability of Cloud Services. For more information on Cloud computing you can visit my previous blog on cloud computing.
In this blog, we will talk about the top three major Cloud Service Providers Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud in terms of their IaaS and PaaS Cloud Services. There are also several other Cloud providers in the market like IBM Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, Oracle, etc who are competing in this field but have a smaller Market share.
Amazon Web Services(AWS):
AWS is currently the biggest Cloud service Provider in the world. AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon.com and provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to both individuals, companies and governments, on a paid subscription basis with a free-tier option available for 12 months.
- Biggest cloud Infrastructure service provider with about 31% cloud market share worldwide.
- Introduced in July 2002 for Amazon developers and launched in March 14, 2006 with initially three services EC2, S3 and SQS(simple Queue Service).
- It is mainly known for providing IaaS & PaaS Cloud Services.
- Some of its top customers are NASA, Netflix, CIA, Uniliver, Kellogs, Met Office, Adobe, BMW, Siemens, Nokia, News Corp, SAP, Tata Motors, Vodafone, etc.
- AWS recorded a growth rate of about 64% in 2016 and is predicted to have $13 billion in revenue in 2017
- AWS operates in 16 geographical regions, each of which comprises a number of availability zones made up of multiple data centers. The company will be launching another three regions in 2017 – in China, India and the UK – and another in Sweden in 2018.
- It charges per hour billing for its server usage which is known as Elastic Compute Instances (EC2) in AWS.
- It provides 12 months free tier usage with some limited services with limited usage under its free trial.
It is the second largest cloud service Provider. Microsoft Azure (formally Windows Azure) was created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers.
- It is the Second largest cloud provider with a total of about 11% market share.
- Azure was announced in October 2008 and released on February 1, 2010 as Windows Azure, before being renamed to Microsoft Azure on March 25, 2014.
- It offers SaaS, PaaS and IaaS Cloud Services.
- Some of the major customers are Heineken, Dishtv, Itron, Fortis Hospital, Brainshark, Mosaic, Frame, asos, University of Victoria, etc
- It lists over 70 Cloud Azure services.
- Azure has recorded a rapid growth of about 93% in 2016, in which Office 365 was the most popular service.
- It now operates in more than 40 Azure regions.
- Provides 1 month full access to its resources with upto $200 free usage.
- It provides per minute billing model for its server usage which are known as Virtual Machines in Azure.
Google Cloud Platform(GCP):
GCP is the Third largest Cloud Service Provider. Google Cloud Platform, offered by Google, is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its end-user products, such as Google Search and YouTube.
- It is the third largest cloud provider with a total of about 8% market share.
- Google Cloud Platform was officially launched in July 2012.
- It offers SaaS, PaaS and IaaS Cloud Services.
- Some of the big Customers are Apple, Coca-Cola, Snapchat, Whirlpool, Airbus, Spotify, Philips, HTC, Wix.com, etc.
- Google Cloud will be available in 17 regions by the end of 2017 with 11 new launches in 2017.
- Provides 12 months free tier usage with upto $300 as a free trial.
- Provides per minute billing model for its server usage which are known as Compute Engines.
“AWS” Vs “Azure” Vs “GCP”
AWS has been the biggest Cloud service Provider followed by fast growing market of Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. It was the first company of its kind to offer Infrastructure as a service since 2006 from its expertise that it gained in operating its e-commerce site Amazon.com. Starting early benefited AWS making it to occupy the largest share in the market and maintains a large gap between its competitors Microsoft and Google in the race. But Both Microsoft and Google have shown high growth rates and they are expanding their services globally.
Although Microsoft Azure has a huge gap in Market share with AWS, it is attracting large number of companies as it has managed to developed a large number of reliable services very close to AWS with easy integration of its existing Microsoft tools and services and focusing on Hybrid cloud infrastructure set up for enterprises. On the other hand Google is also taking a strong stand in providing quality services and rapidly increasing and expanding its services to reach out maximum global Market and gain larger market share. Google claims to have the best IT infrastructure in the world along with the fastest Internet speed with which it is taking a promising stand to provide a better Computing experience.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, the cloud market will reach $383 billion. This revels the huge underlying opportunities in the field of Cloud services. All the three companies are competing with each other by providing better technology and wide range of services to capture the growing cloud market. We have recently seen price cut from all the three cloud providers due to growing competition. Every cloud provider is tyyng to offer cheaper services and gain larger market share. Keeping in mind that price is a crucial factor in gaining market share, all the three players trying to provide competitive price to their customers. They are also aiming at providing the best and reliable services cloud experience to customers at as per the market..
Microsoft and Google are trying hard to achieve the level that AWS has reached through its expertise and innovation in providing a wide range of reliable services with high customer satisfaction. They are trying to offer all similar services that AWS has developed over the years in order to give a better competition to AWS. It will be interesting to see what innovations each company will make once they reach the level of offering similar services like AWS, with their own technical developments and capabilities. There is a good on going competition in the areas like computing, Storage, Databases, Deployment, Networking, Security, Price, Support , Troubleshooting and Matrices, Uptime, etc.
Let us discuss few of the services offered by AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.
- AWS offers computing services like EC2 for server requirements while Azure offers similar Virtual Machines and google provides Compute Engine. However, Google Cloud Engine is faster as it can be launched in few seconds while that of AWS and Azure takes few minutes to launch.
- Amazon Elastic Beanstalk which provides a PaaS service for hosting applications. Azure provides similar service called “App Service” and Google provides Google App Engine.
- Amazon Lambda is a serverless compute service that runs your code in response to events of codes and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you. Similar service offered by Azure is “Functions” and Google provides Google Cloud Functions.
- Amazon S3 is a object storage service is used to store any amount of files or data. It is also used for hosting purposes. Azure offers similar service called Blob Storage and Google offers Cloud Storage.
- Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) provides persistent block-level storage volumes for EC2. Similar Azure service is Storage Disk and Persistent disk in Google.
- Amazon Glacier provides long-term storage options with High redundancy and availability, but low-frequent access times, Intended for archiving data. Similar Azure Service is “Azure Backup” and “Storage Classes” in Google.
- Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) provides scalable database servers with MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL support. Azure and Google both Provide “SQL Database” and ” supports only MySQL.
- Amazon DynamoDB provides a scalable, low-latency NoSQL online Database Service backed by SSDs. Azure provides similar service “DocumentDB” while Google provides “Cloud BigTable“
- Amazon Redshift provides petabyte-scale data warehousing with column-based storage and multi-node compute. Azure provides “SQL data Warehouse” while Google Provides “BigQuery“.
- AWS follows per hour billing for its EC2 Instances while Azure and Google follow per minute billing. AWS also offers special discounted price for “Reserved Instance” for reserving an Instance of certain Configuration for a period of either 1 year or 3 years with either partial upfront or full upfront costs. Azure also provides similar feature known as “Microsoft Enterprise Agreement” and Google provides “Sustained Discounts“.
- One unique feature that AWS provides is the “Spot Instance” feature. Spot instances enable you to bid on unused EC2 instances, which can lower your Amazon EC2 costs significantly. The hourly price for a Spot instance is set by Amazon EC2. The price for spot instance fluctuates depending on the supply of and demand for Spot instances.
Troubleshooting and Monitoring:
- AWS CloudTrail is a web service that records AWS API calls for your account and delivers log files to you. The recorded information includes the identity of the API caller, the time of the API call, the source IP address of the API caller, the request parameters, and the response elements returned by the AWS service. Azure offers similar service “Azure Operational Insights” while Google Provides “Stackdriver Logging“.
- Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring service for AWS cloud resources and the applications you run on AWS. You can use Amazon CloudWatch to collect and track metrics, collect and monitor log files, set alarms, and automatically react to changes in your AWS resources. Azure offers similar service “Azure Opplication Insights” while Google Provides “Stackdriver Monitoring“.
- In 2016, AWS had 108 minutes of downtime while Azure had 270 minutes of downtime and Google had the lowest downtime of 74 minutes. However, we should note that in 2016, Microsoft had 34 regions, AWS had 16 regions with each region having several Availability Zones, and Google Cloud Platform had only six.
- User Interface of Microsoft has a more Premier look. More details are available on the Dashboard in a organized way. AWS and Google Cloud have a more simpler and cleaner look. However for regular or frequent users it may not matter. But for the new users, it may matter to some extent.
From the comparison, we can conclude that AWS is the biggest market player. It also has a higher experience and expertise in the technology. However Microsoft Azure is showing a rapid growth Rate and enterprise acceptance. It is continuously improving its infrastructure and service to minimize the gap with AWS. On the other hand Google who is comparatively the newer from the other two. It is also showing a high growth rate and rapid expansion of its Infrastructure and providing quality services globally. Hence, it will be interesting to see who performs better in the long run. It will depend on the quality of service, innovation, reliability, support, ease of use, and time of execution.
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