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July 26, 2023 - 7 minutes

Choosing the Right Cloud Provider: AWS, Azure, or GCP

Which is best? Which should you choose? Let’s discuss

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DevOps & Cloud

There are a lot of options out there for your cloud storage. Choosing the right provider isn’t an easy feat; after all, as your company begins receiving more and more data, you need a trustworthy and high-quality provider to not only store your data, but protect it. In this article, we’ll explain why you might need a cloud provider, dissect the three most common options (AWS, Azure, and GCP), and help make your decision a little bit easier. 

The Cloud: what is it?!

We’re sure you’ve heard about the cloud. I mean, you would have to be living under a rock to have made it this long without hearing about it. But what is it? Well, the cloud is a collection of servers over the internet that host large amounts of software and infrastructure. In case that wasn’t completely clear, let’s make it even simpler: the cloud allows you to store your data on the internet instead of physically on your computer’s hard drive, freeing up lots of storage space and allowing you to work with very high quantities of data. 

Benefits of cloud computing 

Cloud computing’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, with more and more companies and individuals opting for this storage method. Here’s what the cloud promises: 

  • More flexibility

  • Better performance 

  • Lower IT costs 

  • Improved innovation 

Sounds good, right?! Just wait--there’s more. 

Enhanced usability and accessibility 

A mysterious storage unit in the sky may seem like it’s above your paygrade–but it’s not. Cloud storage is incredibly easy to use and accessible to a wide range of users, allowing people from different places to access the information with ease. It also allows users to access their data from mobile or desktops–all they need is an internet connection. 

Improved security 

You’re probably thinking that storing all your data on the internet compromises your security; we get it–you want to protect your data and the idea of it being accessible to anyone isn’t appealing. But the cloud does boast incredible levels of security, in addition to the added protection of not being in a physical location–there’s no danger of a warehouse fire or provider collapse. 

Cloud security isn’t completely developed and will continue improving over time. But for now, training your team on proper cloud practices can help further your cloud security. 

Better team coordination 

Looking to share a file with a colleague located across the world? Or want to make certain information available to a specific team? The cloud allows you to easily share files (securely!) with your entire team and even limit permissions, based on your preferences. Multiple users can access the information from different locations, saving you time when it comes to collaboration. 

Applications of cloud computing 

Okay, you get why the cloud is a great resource, but how is it used in daily life? Is it something that all companies, even small ones, can benefit from? Absolutely: 

  • Online data storage: companies are collecting more and more data about their performance, client preferences, and overall company information and it’s simply impossible to expect them to maintain physical storage units with expensive hardware; this is where the cloud comes into play and offers a remote and digital place to store the data. 

  • Backup and recovery: if your data is held online, you can benefit from data redundancy and recovery plans, which might be storing a copy of your data on a different data center so that in the unlikely event of a data breach or outage, you can easily access your data. 

  • Big data analysis: as we mentioned above, companies have started receiving so much data. So much data, in fact, that they can’t realistically store nor process it. Cloud computing also allows for data processing and analysis, helping you automate an incredibly important and time-consuming task and allowing you to draw valuable conclusions from your data. 

So now that you’re totally convinced that cloud storage is the way to go, what’s the next step? Here’s a hint: finding the right provider for you. 

Cloud Providers 

Even though it’s on the internet, the cloud still has companies behind it, ensuring it works as desired and offering new benefits for clients. These providers are IT companies that enable the cloud to work as desired, powering the cloud’s computer power, data storage, applications, and more. 

There are lots of different options for the cloud, but three main providers stand out: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). These different options encompass nearly 65% of all cloud services and work to offer clients a unique cloud experience that’s tailored to their needs. 

We’re going to dive into each of them, discuss their advantages and drawbacks, and leave you with a clear picture of the best choice for you. Ready? 

Amazon Web Services 

The cloud’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been around for longer–AWS was launched in 2002! You might think of instant delivery or streaming services when you heard about Amazon, but AWS actually makes up a giant part of Amazon’s profits. If you choose AWS, you can choose from servers, storage, networking, remote computing, email, mobile development, and security; AWS is the industry’s leading cloud provider, with nearly 33% of the cloud market monopolized. 

Benefits of Amazon Web Services 

AWS might be the right choice for you, depending on your specific needs. Here’s what you can expect: 

  • Using an operating system that clients are familiar with, AWS offers a user-friendly programming model, architecture, and database. 

  • AWS is cost effective, offering clients no upfront cost and no requirement to estimate usage. 

  • AWS is a very attractive option for smaller companies or individual users, given that they can use just what they need and pay for exactly that. 

  • Thanks to closely monitored and contained data centers located across the world, Amazon can simultaneously offer a secure and reliable service. 

As the industry’s preferred option, AWS is a great choice. However, keep in mind that additional support packages may cost extra and what you’re allowed to do in AWS depends heavily on your region and locations; if you have teams accessing your servers from different locations, you might face diverse restrictions. 

Microsoft Azure 

Microsoft Azure is another of the three main cloud provider options, offering clients storage, analytics, networking, and computing services. AWS is the most popular and largest cloud computing platform, but Azure is the fastest-growing and second largest, working hard to close the gap between AWS with every new innovation. And that’s not all–80% of Fortune 500 companies choose Azure for their cloud needs.

Benefits of Microsoft Azure 

So why do users choose Azure if a larger and more popular option exists? Because: 

  • It’s fast, offering users the ability to access their data at practically any moment from basically every location across the world. In addition, its speed means that automated solutions are executed faster, saving valuable time and resources. 

  • It’s flexible, allowing users to easily switch between service levels to adjust to their current needs with no restrictions or minimum plans. It also permits all languages and frameworks, opening usage to a wider audience. 

  • It’s secure, prioritizing and publicizing their commitment to data safety and investing more than $1 billion yearly in security. Azure also boasts more compliance certificates than any other provider. 

  • It’s reliable, boasting some of the industry’s most complex and well-developed backs and virtual systems testing, placing their focus on the security of your data. 

Azure’s competitive advantages are worth considering, but keep in mind that Azure does demand expert management and monitoring, meaning you’ll need to either hire a professional or upskill a current employee to handle that responsibility. Similarly, a properly-working Azure demands platform leaders to be well-versed in the cloud and all services, not just a few. 

Google Cloud Platform

Our last cloud provider is Google Cloud Provider, which runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses for other products, such as YouTube and Gmail, offering users computing, networking, big data processing, and machine learning and artificial intelligence services. Google joined the cloud party after Microsoft and AWS and doesn’t boast the same wide range of services just yet, but is working to improve their offerings. 

Benefits of Google Cloud Platform 

Despite being the last provider to enter the market, Google created the Kubernetes standard–a standard that AWS and Azure have since adopted. Here’s what else you can expect from GCP: 

  • Clients can expect a focus on big data, machine learning, and analytics, with a service designed for cloud-native business. It’s also known for incredibly fast response times. 

  • For those companies that work directly in competition with Amazon, GCP has become a great option and integrates cleanly with other Google services. 

  • Ensuring your website is always live, during security checks, updates, or outages, is a crucial part of e-commerce; Google offers live virtual machine migration, meaning GCP ensures your site is still active while migration is underway, maintaining your high performance. 

  • GCP, even as the newest provider, has the biggest global presence, offering users in 28 regions, 85 zones, 146 edge locations, and more than 200 countries access to the cloud. 

We hope this article was useful for you and helped you decide which is the best for your company or individual use. But if, on the other hand, you want to get to work on the other side of the street and work to develop better and more advanced cloud services, there’s a gigantic market for skilled cloud professionals. In fact, a bootcamp might just be the perfect way to get started. What do you think?

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