We discuss how the main three cloud providers differ on an organisational level in this piece, which is a part of our Cloud Provider Comparisons series. Continue reading if you’re interested in how the Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud platforms compare.
The Background of AWS
It’s challenging to imagine that Amazon was once merely a small-scale e-commerce business that did things like accumulate technical debt during a period of rapid development.
Amazon made the strategic technological decision to start creating reusable modules for its internal development teams in 2000, largely out of necessity. As a result, these groups were able to produce new features more quickly because they weren’t always having to reinvent the wheel. People inside the organisation began to recognise there may be a business possibility as the collection of internal services developed over time. Amazon Web Services (AWS), which debuted in 2004 and subsequently relaunched in 2006 with three public pay-as-you-go services, sailed into the unexplored waters of what is now known as cloud computing.
An overview of Microsoft Azure’s past
Microsoft already had similar initiatives in motion, doing much the same as Amazon: fusing different services and producing reusable components for internal personnel. This was around the time when AWS revealed their first cloud services. Project Red Dog, which Microsoft officially unveiled in 2008, was what it had in the works for the cloud because “Pink Poodle” didn’t have a particularly appealing ring to it.
The first version of Microsoft’s cloud service, which was officially announced as Windows Azure in 2010, wasn’t all that impressive. Not even a basic version of Windows server could be operated on it. The participants in Azure’s leadership were persuaded that they had to improve if they wanted to compete with companies like AWS and Google after some dog-fooding and an offsite retreat in 2011.
In particular, businesses that had been longtime Microsoft customers and were searching for a simple way to take advantage of the upcoming increasing cloud wave found Microsoft Azure to be a far more enticing and well-positioned option. The name change from Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure in 2014 signaled a shift in Microsoft’s strategy toward making the cloud a top priority.
Google Cloud Platform’s history (GCP)
Although Google’s roots in the cloud have been present since day one, the company made a formal entry into the public cloud in April 2008 with the release of Google App Engine’s preview version, which enables developers to scale and deploy online apps quickly.
Now, Google chose a platform as a service, or PaaS, in contrast to AWS and Microsoft, who in their early years extensively stressed the infrastructure as a service approach. And over the following few years, Google expanded Google Cloud Platform into a product that can compete with other public cloud providers by using its world-class development team, acquisitions, and substantial financial resources.
How do AWS, Azure, and GCP report cloud revenue? Who owns them?
Both Google Workplace, formerly known as G Suite, and Google Cloud platform are business divisions of Google (and Google itself as a business segment within its parent holding company, Alphabet).
At the moment, Azure is a part of Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud business sector, which also includes GitHub, which the company purchased in 2018, as well as all server and cloud products.
Although it is a part of Amazon, AWS functions independently inside the larger organisation. Since AWS serves the Amazon commerce division as a customer, it must actively pursue new business just like any other company would.
One thing to keep in mind when contrasting cloud providers on the basis of revenue is that their reporting groups differ. While Google includes both GCP and their Workplace product as part of their cloud income, Amazon publishes AWS revenue separately. Microsoft’s reporting section includes Azure, on-premises server software, Visual Studio, and GitHub. The commercial cloud category of Microsoft goods, which includes Azure, Office 365, Dynamics 365, and a portion of LinkedIn, is also mentioned occasionally. Microsoft still hadn’t released income figures for Azure by itself as of 2021.
What are AWS, Azure, and GCP’s main advantages?
Microsoft knows what major corporations want and how to give it because they have been supplying software to commercial customers for around 40 years now. Additionally, Azure offers a pretty convincing path to moving to the cloud and can serve as an all-in-one solution for businesses trying to reduce their vendor list.
Compared to rivals, AWS has over a 7-year lead and far more current options. With that advantage, the talent pool is broader and more people are familiar with AWS. (However, if we’ve learnt anything at A Cloud Guru, it’s that anyone can learn to cloud with a little time and training. Therefore, the skill pool issue may not be as important as it formerly was.)
Then there is GCP, which neither had a head start nor a big enterprise footprint. There will undoubtedly be a benefit from the addition of executives from other enterprise-focused businesses like SAP and Oracle to their personnel. And as you may have heard, containers are currently very popular. And Kubernetes, one of the most widely used container orchestration technologies, was actually created by Google. GCP has turned its container expertise into a portfolio of services marketed under the name Anthos, which is currently receiving a lot of attention.
How can I pick the ideal cloud service provider for me?
So how am I supposed to pick the best cloud provider for me? Since every circumstance is unique, there truly isn’t a best general solution.
I advise starting some pilot programmes with these suppliers. If you already have a partnership with IBM, Oracle Cloud, SAP, or Alibaba, I’d also recommend including them. Consider attempting to complete the same project with many suppliers and comparing factors like usability, breadth of products, documentation calibre, etc.
If you’re concerned about becoming too locked into one provider, you can choose some architectures that are more open and universal, like using layers of abstraction, building around REST APIs and using containers.
But be cautious here because you can get too generic. If you’re just using your cloud provider to run the same old VMs and containers that you had on-prem, you’re likely missing out on lots of value that cloud provider can offer in the way of managed services and variable costs.
Layers of abstraction, constructing around REST APIs, and leveraging containers are some more open and universal architectures to consider if you’re worried about becoming overly dependent on one source.
But be careful because you don’t want to sound too general. You’re probably missing out on a lot of value from the cloud provider
in terms of managed services and variable costs if you’re only using it to run the same old VMs and containers that you had on-prem.
I recognise that this may be debatable, but I wouldn’t try to distribute your workload among many cloud service providers. Some individuals believe that employing various cloud providers will protect them from the dreaded vendor lock-in. I know, I know. I believe that distributing workloads over several clouds merely dilutes your resources and adds extra complexity to the situation. Instead, I think it’s best to concentrate your efforts on upskilling so that you can make the most of one provider’s capabilities and benefits. Regardless of who it may be, really focus on that supplier and improve.