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The cloud battle: Google vs. Microsoft vs. Amazon

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Overview and comparison of the largest current cloud vendors.

An increasing number of businesses opt to host their digital solutions in the cloud—i.e. off premises and on servers via the Internet. This provides increased security, uptime, and redundancy, and reduces the caveats and responsibilities of hosting digital experience platforms by yourselves.

But how do you navigate the cloud? What factors are essential to consider? Here is an overview of the largest and most renowned cloud vendors today: Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services.

An increasing number also opt in for headless CMS—learn more about it:

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Basic facts

Vendor

Initial release

2018 revenue

Main target audience

Documentation

Google Cloud Platform

7 April 2008

$8 billion (source)

SMBs

GCP documentation, GCP FAQ

Microsoft Azure

1 February 2010

$11 billion

Startups to multinationals (esp. with Windows Server deployment)

Azure documentation

Amazon Web Services

July 2002

$25.65 billion

Small to large

AWS documentation, AWS FAQs

Availability

The number of geographies and zones where a cloud service is available is a fundamental requirement for any business. For local and national businesses the matter is simple enough, but for multinational corporations and member firm associations it is another matter entirely.

We recommend you to do thorough research on explicit geographical availability, and for legal purposes to find out exactly where data is stored. We have, however, made a preliminary overview of the availability situation as of fall 2019:

Vendor

Geographies

No. of countries

Google Cloud Platform

North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia (details)

200+ (includes territories)

Microsoft Azure

North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa (details)

140

Amazon Web Services

North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa (details)

206 (details)

Read also: Microservices: What does it mean for your digital project success?

Testimonials

One of the most important drivers behind decision making processes is testimonials. Real and factuals reviews from customers and peers are a goldmine for prospects.

We have gathered a combination of associated brands and review repositories for you to easily get an overview of the three cloud vendors.

Vendor

Associated brands

Reviews

Google Cloud Platform

Target, 20th Century Fox, Twitter, American Cancer Society, PayPal, Bloomberg, Nielsen, McKesson (details)

Gartner, PCMag, G2, Capterra

Microsoft Azure

Coca Cola, Adobe, FedEx, Samsung, BMW, Siemens, Toyota, Maersk, Walmart, Reuters, Intel, 3M (details)

Gartner, PCMag, G2, Capterra

Amazon Web Services

Verizon, Siemens, Canon, HTC, Pitney Bowes, Sprinklr, Autodesk, National Australia Bank, Domain Group (details)

Gartner, PCMag, G2, Capterra

PCMag rates all three cloud vendors as “excellent.” The magazine states that Google Cloud Platform smoothly provides several powerful cloud services, including infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. The pricing is reasonable and usage spike handling is excellent, but there are fewer data centers and software options than the competition.

As for Microsoft Azure, the cloud vendor is hailed as a viable solution for businesses that have built their computing infrastructure around Windows. However, there is Linux and container compatibility and a user-friendly front-end management interface. But both the performance and pricing are criticised.

Amazon Web Services is also the editors’ choice at PCMag, who states that there’s almost nothing the flexible cloud vendor cannot do, no service they cannot run, and few operating systems they do not support. Setup and management is easy and intuitive, but it can be expensive and the array of services can get confusing and messy.

Pricing

Cost related to cloud computing can be difficult to predict, as David Mytton from Seedcamp writes on Medium. Accordingly, none of the cloud vendors feature a straightforward pricing model. However, they supply calculators that can help you on the way, and you could also request quotes based on the requirements of your organisation. Also, as all the vendors provide free tiers and trials, your developers can safely test performance.

Vendor

Resources

Google Cloud Platform

cloud.google.com

Microsoft Azure

azure.microsoft.com

Amazon Web Services

aws.amazon.com

Don’t miss: Translating technology into business value »

Statistics

At the end we will include general cloud computing statistics, courtesy of Hosting Tribunal:

  • 90% of companies are on the cloud
  • Amazon Web Services is the leading cloud vendor with a 32% market share
  • Cloud data centers will process 94% of workloads in 2021
  • The US is the most significant public cloud market with an expected spending of $124.6 billion in 2019
  • The global cloud computing market is expected to reach $623.3 billion by 2023
  • Cloud infrastructure spending surpassed $80 billion in 2018

As a final note, ZDNet has a useful article detailing the largest cloud vendors, their financial performance, and a short outline for each dealing with recent history and future predictions.

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