In mid-2006, Amazon launched AWS, its cloud platform for developers. At that time, it was already a successful e-commerce website and had learned a lot about the infrastructure of services on the Internet, but nobody imagined that it would become one of the benchmarks of cloud computing, surpassing technological giants of the time such as IBM or Oracle. , both with decades of experience behind them.
Currently, Amazon is the clear dominator of the cloud services market, followed by Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud. Although you already know that in technology nobody can rest on their laurels.
The business of cloud computing grows every year. And if you look at the statements of Eyal Manor, VP of Engineering at Google Cloud: “About 80% of the workload of current servers is not yet in the cloud”, we can imagine what can continue to grow this industry that moves billions.
The current panorama in the cloud: leaders and laggards
It would not occur to anyone today to start a technology startup or a business on the Internet without using any of the cloud providers we have mentioned. In fact, Netflix uses AWS and Spotify has just migrated to Google Cloud , for example. And they spend a very good peak of money year after year.
Amazon has a vast number of available services that continue to grow exponentially, covering practically the entire IT infrastructure of companies and developers. To date, according to estimates of reports such as Synergy Research Group , AWS has about 33% of the entire cloud computing market in the world. A figure that increases year after year to reach $ 7.7 billion in Q1 of 2019, almost 41% more than the Q1 of 2018, according to CNBC .
Meanwhile, Microsoft is extremely strong on the whole SaaS ( Software-as-Service ) theme with its Azure cloud platform. Due mainly to the fact that many developers still prefer to have an end-to-end ecosystem, with all the tools in the servers of the Microsoft family. In addition, it has a large number of SaaS services such as Office 365 or Dynamic, where it continues to earn a lot of money.
On the other hand, there is Google with Cloud Platform, which is still trying to convince us with its multinube strategy. According to forecasts, 88% of companies in 2024 will combine different suppliers, that’s where Google, with fewer services than its competitors, sees the opportunity to use its extensive experience with containers in the cloud and Kubernetes to be the administrator of the different infrastructures
We cannot forget an old acquaintance who is looking for his share of the market as is IBM. Reinforced by the acquisition of Red Hat, which strengthens its strategy based on creating private infrastructures in the cloud for companies, which is far from the services in the public cloud of AWS, Microsoft or Google. It is difficult to compete today in the public cloud of its competitors.
And finally, we must mention the surprising breakthrough of Alibaba, another known for its e-commerce business, which is growing a lot in China in recent years. Although seeing as the panorama is, we do not foresee that it is able to enter with a lot of market share in the US or Europe due to the commercial problems with the Asian giant.
We are going to review each of the three main competitors in the cloud business, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, to discover how they differ and what their advantages and disadvantages are.
Amazon AWS, its vast amount of services is the foundation of the IT infrastructure of any company in the cloud
The cloud service of Amazon is a clear dominator with a large catalog of IT services for companies and developers. He has been the undisputed leader as IaaS service provider for the last ten years.
Its objective has always been to be the substitute for the traditional infrastructure of any IT company, in addition to providing all kinds of tools for system administrators and developers.
It all started with EC2 , Elastic Compute Cloud, which allowed to “rent” and scale virtual machines in the cloud paying only for the processing time, giving support to both Linux and Windows. It has a large number of configurations and options, the user having full power to install any software on those machines. A good part of this marketplace of tools is provided by companies such as Bitnami, facilitating this task and creating a new business model as providers of utilities for the cloud.
Another of Amazon’s best-known services is Amazon S3 , a storage service widely used by all types of users from websites to file repositories. Virtually almost any file or images from the internet comes from there or from any of its associated CDNs. This service joined Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and Elastic File System (EFS) to build more complex data files. Nor can we forget the databases: Database Service (RDS), DynamoDB NoSQL or RedShift that drive the interconnection of services and the registration of information.
Of course, we leave dozens of these services in the pipeline. You can check on their official AWS website practically everything necessary for a technology company to scale from 0 to millions of users.
Microsoft Azure, taking advantage of Microsoft’s complete ecosystem in the cloud
Microsoft came late to the cloud market, although it made the leap of a blow thanks to its infrastructure based on its own servers Windows Server, Office, SQL Server, Sharepoint or .Net. All this reusing it to be deployed in the cloud, Azure is a flagship.
Probably the big point in Azure’s favor is that many companies deploy on Windows and have the entire Microsoft software ecosystem ready. The almost ubiquitous inclusion of Azure makes it easy for any Microsoft service to be used in Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure without much friction.
Much of Microsoft’s cloud computing is based on Virtual Machines with support for Linux, Windows Server, SQL Server, Oracle, IBM or SAP, as AWS has a wide catalog of configurations. Apart from that, Azure has its infrastructure based on Kubernetes and Docker Hub to use containers that can be scaled independently without having to worry about the virtual machines that we need. Actually, the great trend of almost all providers in the cloud.
Google Cloud Platform arrived late, but Kubernetes has given it the necessary boost
Since Google introduced Kubernetes within its own platform it has become a de facto standard. So one of its main business opportunities is in the extensive use of containers in the cloud rather than in the specific commercialization of virtual machines.
In the case of Google Cloud Platform , Google has applied all its knowledge to scale and balance large system infrastructures offering tools as similar as possible to those used internally. In this way, its main products stand out for the use of BigData, analytical tools or machine learning.
Google Cloud Platform is quite distant from its two main competitors due to its late entry into the IaaS business, its limited product catalog, and its historical approach away from the business world or the lack of a data center infrastructure in so many regions, like AWS or Azure. The typical use of GCP remains experimental or as a second provider to save costs in some secondary services.
Regarding the database in the cloud, the highlight is perhaps Cloud Storage, its unified object storage system, whose success story is Spotify, storing and serving music from there through its infrastructure. And as NoSQL databases, we find BigTable and BigQuery widely used for BigData in Data Science.
The future of the next cloud leader will be the one who better use the containers of applications and serveless
All providers of cloud services are converging on two key concepts that will mark the trend of the sector in the coming years: the intensive use of containers (CaaS) to become independent of the platform where applications are deployed and the use of serverless which allows us to execute code directly without having to worry about the infrastructure.
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Both Google Cloud Engine, AWS EC2 Container Service or Azure Container service are already prepared so that the minimum unit of work is a docker container that we deploy in the service of the shift provider.
Google has gone even further with Anthos, basing on Kubernetes, offering a service for the management, deployment, and monitoring of the different platforms in the cloud that the user has, whether AWS, Azure, Google Cloud or its own infrastructure.
The promise of a transparent and more productive cloud for programmers is very close. Probably in the near future, we can escape from the artificial cages of traditional service providers.