Choosing a cloud provider can be a difficult process. There are lots of things that need to be considered before landing on the right solution for the development of your enterprise web application.
When it comes to platform as a service (PaaS) there are three vendors that dominate the market. These industry leaders are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). While AWS dominates the market share, all three providers have benefits that can be an asset to your business.
How you choose a cloud provider depends largely on your enterprise needs. Most experts recommend that businesses assess the needs of each application and make choices on a case by case basis. This could mean potentially choosing more than one cloud provider. Here is a closer look at some of the comparison criteria that can help you decide on a direction followed by a closer look at the key tools that would most benefit your enterprise web application.
Pros and Cons
Each one of these cloud providers has a number of strengths, but each also has a few drawbacks.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS is the most dominant force in the public cloud market. Part of the reason for its popularity can be found in the wide range of services it is able to supply including those related to storage, security, DevOps, AI, IoT, and productivity.
The biggest downside to AWS is its price. The price structure can be complicated and many companies have a difficult time managing their costs while using AWS to support a large number of applications.
Azure’s greatest success comes from the business world’s familiarity with Microsoft. When developing their cloud offerings they were able to take their software tools and reinvent or re-purpose them for the cloud.
Because so many businesses use Microsoft software, and Azure is tied to these applications, it make sense for these businesses to adhere with what they know or are already using. The other bonus here comes in the form of discounts. Existing Microsoft enterprise customers can expect discounts on their cloud services.
Azure, unfortunately, is lacking in the area of support for DevOps and it lacks some of the integrated automation of other cloud providers. This could mean your staff loses productivity because they have to perform management tasks manually.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
If there is one thing that Google knows, it is data centers which makes them an ideal choice for load balancing, analytics, Big Data, and machine learning solutions. It is best suited to cloud native businesses.
GCP has strong benefits in the way of containers. Google developed the container standard used by both AWS and Azure so this should not come as a big surprise.
GCP does not offer as many services as AWP or Azure and it, currently, has fewer data centers. In most cases, GCP is used as a secondary cloud provider.
Key Points of Comparison
With the increasing complexity of enterprise business web applications, choosing the right cloud platform becomes incredibly important. As always, you want your web application to provide the most satisfying user experience in order to keep a loyal customer base and stay ahead of your competition. Here are some factors to consider before making our choice:
One of the first things you need to consider is both your location, and the location of the cloud’s data centers. You will want to deploy your services through centers that are located closely to the majority of your clients. Using data centers close to your users will improve response time and the overall user experience. AWS has the largest number of data centers worldwide but Azure is close behind. If you do a large portion of your business in Asia, keep Azure in mind as they have great coverage in that region. GCP has data centers mostly located in the United States with only a few in Europe and Asia. At this point in time AWS provides the most data centers with the most international coverage making it the smart choice for this comparison point.
All three cloud providers have storage, archiving and content delivery services. AWS’s Simple Storage Service or S3 has been around for a very long time and has reliable services and support. For storage, GCP and Azure have less extensive offerings but do come in at a cheaper price.
Archiving is used to store information that is accessed on an infrequent basis and all three providers offer archiving services but only AWS and Azure supply archiving solutions as well.
On top of storage capabilities, all three cloud providers offer services related to the creation of content delivery networks.
When it comes to picking a “winner” here, it depends on what is most significant to your enterprise and your current/future needs. If it is an abundance of options and services, AWS is again the top pick, but if you do not require much in this department and want to save some money, it is worth taking a closer look at Azure and GCP.
Analytics is at the heart of all enterprise app growth and development. If you are not able collate and interpret the data collected through the cloud, it could hurt your market value. This data can be used to create updates, develop new products, predict market trends, and figure out your user demographic.
When it comes to data analysis, it should not come as a surprise that Google leads the way with many business friendly services on offer like BigQuery, CloudDataproc, and Cloud DataFlow just to name a few. But Amazon and Microsoft have services too, called Elastic MapReduce and HDInsight, respectively.
Amazon has created QuickSight to help businesses make sense of large data sets to spot business opportunities, eliminating the need for dedicated data specialists.
In most cases, proper analytics will also require machine learning, which once again, is an area in which Google excels. They offer Cloud Machine Learning and other products that they use in the development of their own apps. Azure and AWS offer machine learning services as well but they are not as wide ranging as those from Google.
In this instance, GCP is a wise choice.
When it comes to computing power, Amazon provides the easily scalable Elastic Cloud Compute or EC2. EC2 is the most comprehensive of all the available offerings but it is also one of the most costly with a difficult to understand pricing structure. Azure’s Virtual Machines has the same problem in terms of cost. GCP’s Compute Engine is the most cost effective but it is also the least flexible of the three.
AWS’s Elastic Beanstalk and GCP’s App Engine allow you to buy computing processes for both mobile and web apps which can reduce the cost of EC2 and Compute Engine if your app fits within the specifications for these services.
Once again, the option you choose here should depend on your needs. If you require an instantly scalable, flexible solution, AWS is the best option but if you are concerned about price and do not need the extra flexibility, GCP will work well. Keep in mind that if you are working on Microsoft systems, Azure allows the deployment of Windows Client apps through a RemoteApps service.
This is not a fully comprehensive list of services and solutions offered through AWS, Azure and GCP but it is a good starting point for your decision making process. AWS is the most comprehensive in its offerings which, at this point, makes it a good solution for most enterprise web application development. But when making a decision, it is important to keep your current enterprise needs in mind while also looking to your future. GCP, for example, may be lacking in an area right now but with rapid growth and development in cloud technologies, they may have the solutions you need very soon.
Remember, you do not need to select only one solution. Weigh all your options. You may find the best solution is a combination of cloud providers. Use AWS for most services and GCP for your analytics, for example. There is no right or wrong choice. In the end, what’s best is what works most cohesively for you.
Market Research Team