Many businesses are now taking advantage of cloud computing because it helps solve numerous challenges and provides significant value. The cloud’s utility comes from it being:
- Flexible, allowing organizations to easily scale storage capacity up and down as necessary
- A safe way to keep and share data while ensuring it is accessible anywhere and anytime
- Regularly updated to ensure the highest quality of services
- Powerful enough to streamline efforts across multiple individuals or teams
With the cloud, organizations don’t need to worry about hardware or servers, so they can focus on saving time and money. The cloud also encourages savings because organizations don’t have to pay for services in a bundle; rather they can pick and choose what resources they actually want. The cloud is quickly deployed and allows teams to have everything they need at their fingertips. It also has automation features and offers native frameworks (ARM template, AWS cloud formation) for fast infrastructure deployment — another way in which it saves development time. All of these benefits make going to the cloud a competitive advantage and explain why more organizations are interested in using cloud computing. In this article, the Exadel team provides a couple of tips on which cloud provider to choose.
Which Cloud Provider to Choose: The Available Cloud Platforms
There are numerous cloud service providers on the market. This includes Salesforce, IBM Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and SAP, but the dominating cloud providers are currently Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). AWS is one of the original cloud providers, has a significant user base, and is available in multiple locations worldwide. It offers a broad group of cloud computing products and services. Azure was created by Microsoft and offers nearly the same cloud services and products as AWS. GCP is considered an ancestor of Kubernetes and an alternative to the established cloud providers listed above.
Comparing Cloud Giants
Each cloud has its own proprietary services and resources that only its users have access to; for example, AWS CloudFormation, by treating infrastructure as a code, gives you an easy way to model a collection of related AWS and third-party resources, provision them quickly, and consistently, and manage them throughout their lifecycles. But if you don’t want to be dependent on only one cloud provider, better use universal tools like Terraform that can work with different cloud providers. Still, Azure, GCP, and AWS are overall incredibly similar, so we could stay here all day trying to parse the minute differences between the three to understand which cloud provider to choose. Each of them is trying to produce as many services as they can. If one cloud provider releases a new service that another doesn’t have yet, all you have to do is wait a couple of weeks, and the competitors will release the same functionality.
Let’s talk about price. It’s hard to say which cloud provider will be most or least expensive because they all calculate price differently. Some take traffic into consideration; some charge for separate services. You may pay one provider more for a virtual machine but not others. At the end of the day, they really cost the same.
Choosing a Cloud Service Provider: Azure, Google, or AWS?
While trying to decide how to choose the right cloud provider, keep in mind that while Azure, AWS, and Google are offering similar services, their approach to building infrastructure and architecture is different. So first, think about your team and how a cloud provider could support their work. Check to see if your team has the experience, skills, and abilities to work with the cloud efficiently and effectively. These major cloud computing providers have some features that appear to be minor quirks but that may be essential for a project. They may also have the bells and whistles that aren’t necessary for achieving goals or completing projects. This choice is mostly subjective and totally dependent on the nature of your team, their skills, and their preferences. If the team has never worked with AWS but has experience working with Azure, then Azure is in all likelihood your best choice. The team will be more familiar with the cloud interface, so they will not waste time learning new approaches, services, and practices. They’ll be more comfortable with the cloud infrastructure and able to use it creatively to accomplish project goals. By going with a cloud provider that your team is already more comfortable with, they will be able to build product architecture and infrastructure correctly and much more quickly, which will conserve costs and minimize errors.
While it’s clear that a team’s experience is the most important factor to take into consideration, here are just a few other things to consider when choosing a cloud service provider:
- Choose Azure if your team works mostly with Microsoft servers and clusters, utilize Microsoft tools and technologies (like .Net or Powershell), or work with the Active directory.
- Choose AWS if your team utilizes open-source tools, as AWS is more customized for open-source products. You should also consider AWS if you need more extensive services.
- Choose GCP to be on the front line with Kubernetes, as all new Kubernetes features will be released here first.
While choosing one cloud service provider over another won’t make or break your project, it’s important to take unique goals into consideration. Start by establishing project needs, then focus on the team’s expertise and skills to determine which tools and stack to use.
If you want to learn more about Exadel’s expertise with cloud development, check out the Exadel website or get in touch with the Exadel team to speak with our experts. Exadel has experience working with all three leading cloud providers, so we can help you with their implementation.