With the maturing of the cloud technology stack along with addressing of concerns around security, there has been a significant adoption of cloud within enterprises. Cloud service providers like Microsoft Azure and AWS have added functionalities like data warehousing and serverless computing to meet the evolving requirement of dynamic enterprises.
When evaluating cloud infrastructure providers, it is important to understand that AWS will enjoy the first mover advantage. Azure and GCP also are catching up fast to its capabilities and bring to the table some interesting advantages. It also needs to be highlighted that Microsoft is fairly well entrenched in the enterprises' ecosystem
Some factors that need to be taken into consideration while choosing a cloud deployment options are:
Integration: Prior to the cloud, enterprise application integration was a complex activity requiring a significant investment of time and resource. With RestAPI, Cloud based Single Sign On, and connectors; cloud integration has taken up an entirely new paradigm.
When evaluating cloud platforms, it is important to evaluate the functionalities and API that a cloud provider is offering. The number of APIs that AWS provides is substantial, but Azure helps developers with multiple tools to customize the integration points.
Security: With critical data from a number of entities, including agencies like CIA, now residing in the cloud, security plays a critical role. Most of the major cloud providers address this in their own manner. The difference that exists is how these securities and data backup policies are implemented and how they align with the business requirements.
The model that is followed by Azure, leverages a tiered approach. This mechanism ensures that security policies can be configured for every component of the Azure cloud stack, whereas approach that Amazon takes is slightly different. Network firewalls built into Amazon VPC and the web application firewall capabilities in AWS ensures that configuration of private networks is a seamless exercise. Google cloud platform enables security by leveraging features like Cloud Identity-Aware Proxy, Security Key Enforcement Cloud Identity & Access Management (IAM)
Within the subset of Security, compliance also plays a role. The regulation that enterprises need to follow, ranges from Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA TO NIST. All the major cloud providers have designed their solution in a manner where these standards are met. AWS offers ready to deploy solutions that comply with these standards as does Azure and GCP.
Cloud Configuration: Cloud enables an organization to streamline its infrastructure management; this optimizes both time and cost resource. Nearly all the major cloud providers like GCP, Azure or AWS offer optimal infrastructures for cloud deployment and transactions, but the difference lies in the nature of how these services are delivered and deployed.
AWS enables its users to configure accounts on the fly. The advantage with Azure is built upon the large scale deployment of Microsoft Technology stack within enterprises.
Google misses out on some of these advantages due to its late entry into this domain and limited presence in the enterprise market. On the platform capability perspective, GCP has gaps in terms of functionality versus AWS around Workflow, Email and Notifications Services.
Pricing: Pricing is an important part while deciding which platform to adopt but to make a choice, the complexity of cloud pricing needs to be kept in mind, especially as Azure and IBM Bluemix offer Hybrid deployment options.
AWS has a linear pricing matrix. Customers pay for what they use and infrastructure is scaled according to business demand. One aspect that enterprises need to keep in mind for AWS is that quite a few of the services that it offers have internal dependencies which can significantly impact pricing if the provisioning is not done right.
An indicative pricing matrix for different platforms is mentioned below:
To Wrap Up
Deciding which cloud platform to go with demands some complex decisions. Part of the evaluation process includes deciding the business objective that needs to be addressed. A good cloud platform should be scalable and innovation driven to rapidly evolve with market Dynamics. Though Azure and GCP are evolving fast AWS fits this bill much more comprehensively.