Cloud computing is a model of on-demand rent of computer system resources from a professional service provider. The core feature of cloud computing is the possibility for customers of flexible resource consumption with easy scaling up and down.
The service provider owns an amount of computer system resources enough to cause scale effects. Each customer uses resources of a required volume, usually much lower than required for economies of scale. Thanks to a flexible resource-sharing model, customers can pay a reasonable price. As of business-related cloud, it offers customers:
- Managed resources
- Extended storage
- Instant data access from everywhere
- Data breach protection
Plus, the shared model opens access to enterprise-grade technologies and resources for SMBs.
There is a great number of cloud service providers globally. Each of them has its own unique proposition, features, and prices, of course. That’s why choosing the right cloud service provider could be really challenging, and mistakes here will highly likely cause adverse effects to the businesses.
In the article, we’ve conducted comprehensive research of the top cloud service providers, as well as some second-tier market players. You will find out the main features of each provider presented, their similarities and differences. It will surely help you make the right selection and avoid further losses.
The research you're reading was conducted with the help of skilled subject matter experts. It includes the profiles of notable for both enterprises and SMBs SIPs outside the leadership, as well. So, let's cut to the chase!
Table of Contents:
Cloud providers covered in the research. Criteria of comparison
Top-3 cloud providers
Second-tier cloud providers
AWS vs Azure vs Google cloud providers comparison
Cloud pricing comparison
Cloud computation comparison
Cloud storage comparison
Available tools comparison
Second-tier cloud providers comparison: IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Rackspace, Alibaba Cloud, Kamatera Cloud, Digital Ocean, Vultr, OVH
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a global market leader controlling a huge 31%. The runner-up is Microsoft Azure, which currently holds a 20% stake. A much more mature Google Cloud Platform (GCP) caters for 7% of the global cloud market. Every single company, if it ever rubbed elbows with the computing landscape lease, definitely familiar with the leaders. Moreover, the businesses are interested in comparison of these three providers more than all others.
Facebook, Apple, and some other IT giants also have similar cloud resources. But they use the infrastructure for their own needs, staying apart from service providers.
Once the Big Three control more than a half of the worldwide cloud platform market, many smaller companies should be taken into account here. To be honest, some of them aren’t so small: it’s rather hard to say ‘small’ relating to IBM, Oracle, or Alibaba. Others are either local or global, but their market shares are tiny compared with Amazon or Microsoft. So, here are IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Rackspace, Alibaba Cloud, Kamatera, Digital Ocean, Vultr, and OVH.
The differences between the Top Three providers and the rest could be really huge. That’s why we decided to compare these two categories separately. The main criteria of The Top Three comparison look as follows:
- Overall features
- Pricing and economy
- Computation features
- Storage features
- Available tools
For each one group of criteria where it was possible, we’ve created an independent table, which makes reviewing easier.
The approach we took in researching the second group is different. Here we built a single table covering all the aspects we could find and clarify.
Amazon has launched and grew a subsidiary called AWS, based on its own e-commerce needs. The service is divided into "peripheral locations". AWS has its own data centers in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as several other locations worldwide. It offers a variety of different services and supports operating systems such as Linux, Windows, OS X, and Windows Server.
Operating in 54 countries, Microsoft Azure is known as the provider of cloud infrastructure tied with homebrew technologies. This is the obvious reason why there are so many users of Microsoft business tools among Azure customers. An interesting fact: one of the features here is unexpected yet well-polished Linux support. The platform allows customers to run apps based on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and other operating systems.
Google Cloud Platform is the youngest member of the Top 3, arriving only in 2016. The company, however, supports more than 2.5 million customers in over 100 countries and regions. By 2018, this has been extended to 21 regions divided into at least three zones.
Price comparison obstacle
All three providers offer a free tier of service with limited options, and they all charge on-demand for the resources you use. But we must state that pricing comparison for these companies is extremely difficult to compile:
- Companies are changing their prices rather often.
- The range, quality, and levels of services significantly differ for each one.
- Even within one company, the prices may vary highly, which depends mostly on geography.
The discount systems in all cases are rather shady and complicated. They, however, offer the potential for cost optimizations over a wide range. As an example, our team recently achieved a 3-times AWS spending cut thanks just to the discount system and smarts. Follow the link to find out more about the case.
AWS, as the oldest of all, provides the widest range of tools supporting AI, IoT, and serverless technologies. What’s to GCP, the youngest one, many of its services are still in the beta phase. Azure occupies the mid-position.
Second-tier cloud providers comparison: IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Rackspace, Alibaba Cloud, Kamatera, DigitalOcean, Vultr, OVH
IBM offers Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) coupled with its wide portfolio of services within the IBM Cloud. These services include a combination of typical public cloud services with in-house and IBM-branded services. Access to Watson supercomputer and Watson Assistant are among the services. Some options aren’t available somewhere else.
Starting later than Amazon and Azure, Oracle is doing its best to strive for the leaders. The company is famous as a seller of its own software products, and now it must prove its position of a leading cloud provider. Oracle's autonomous database service is still proving to be a reliable product and is growing steadily. As a result, SaaS will trump its autonomous database service, and Oracle will begin to compare itself with other cloud infrastructure providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The Rackspace offerings include a wide range of cloud services such as cloud storage, data centers, and cloud computing, as well as hybrid cloud solutions. Offers include several different cloud services, such as dedicated hosting, AWS, Microsoft, and OpenStack. The company has a strong reputation for innovation and has been named the leading Internet retail host for three consecutive years.
Alibaba is one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world and the second-largest online retailer, and it has really established itself in the Asian market. Chinese companies have high-performance services that are very similar to AWS, including cloud storage, data centers, cloud computing, and cloud services, to name a few.
The fast and highly reliable resources Kamatera provides, are crediting the company's reputation. Adding the flexibility enough to service just as huge companies, so the small ones, make Kamatera quite demanded among the businesses. It also offers its customers bespoke VPS packages with a wide range of cloud services. The list of bids also includes repositories, data centers, and on-demand computation.
DigitalOcean is best known as a provider of highly customizable virtual machines known as droplets. The company bravely promises 100% availability, but there were more than a few signs of downtime in 2014. DigitalOcean focuses on targeting developers as its core customers and pursuing them with a less academic sales approach than the one aimed at their supervisors.
Vultr offers dedicated SSD drives for use with its VPS hosting service, and developers can use their hosting in a variety of ways, from VPUs and VMs to VPCs and virtual machines.
Another advantage is the flexible and understandable pricing policy, with an average of $1,000 per month for Vultr's VPS hosting service and $2,500 for VPC service.
Vultr offers four basic options: Cloud Compute (usual VPS), Bare Metal (dedicated server), Block Storage (dedicated SSD disks), and Dedicated Cloud (cloud instances). The company bravely promises 100% uptime, and there were not more than a couple of pieces of evidence of downtime here since 2014. One more advantage is a flexible and understandable pricing policy. At the same time. customers often complain about not-so-great support and just a few data centers around the globe.
Founded in 1999, OVH Hosting Inc. now operates 17 data centers and is the largest hosting provider in Europe. The service is aimed at indie developers and small businesses interested in maintaining their customer focus at an affordable price. On the other hand, OVH's data centers are only available in Europe and Africa, so it is not a good idea to order the service from America. Neglected support and a confusing user interface also cloud the picture. The last shocking news about the company’s data centers destroyed in the fire is quite a strong factor you should take into account.