Which Cloud Service Provider Is Best?
The world of enterprise applications is expanding daily as more and more human processes are automated and digitized. The world of cloud computing is expanding with equal speed in terms of adoption, user base, technical challenges, and accomplishments. There are massive numbers of success and failure stories created daily. None of these are based on luck or chance. Each one is an outcome of planning and execution.
Several reasons drive the need for migrating enterprise-level applications to the cloud. It starts with the total cost of operating an on-prem infrastructure to the decomposition of larger applications into smaller modular microservices to the automation of repetitive activities.
Success or Failure
When you start planning for migrating your application to a cloud platform, what factors should you consider in your analysis? The first step determines the outcome. The more objective these factors are, the better is the chance of success.
Let us have a quick look at some of the key factors.
Total Cost of Ownership: On-prem infrastructure is a fixed expenditure and involves extremely rigid expenses of building a safe and secure physical location, purchase of hardware and software, maintaining a team of technical staff to manage, monitor, and operate, and repair, overhaul, and other expenses. On the other hand, cloud-based infrastructure is owned by a third party where you pay for what you use. It is shared ownership where you own the data while the cloud vendor owns the rest.
Support: Once you purchase hardware or software for your on-premises infrastructure, you will also purchase support services from the vendor. While this pain is greatly reduced in the case of cloud-based infrastructure, you still need to consider whether you would be able to get adequate support for the next 5–10 years.
Technology stack: On-prem setup has limited options with their technology stack. More often, the stack remains fixed throughout the lifecycle of the hardware. In the case of the cloud, you have the flexibility of choosing from a variety of options. These include platforms, run-times, containers, software, and licenses. All you need is to have compatible application architecture to use the power of the cloud.
Future services: On-premises setup has a defined expiry timeframe. It is known at the beginning that a certain infrastructure would sustain the load for a period of 5–10 years and would need replacement thereafter. A cloud platform would keep evolving and bringing in new and latest technological advances into its ecosystem. While some of the renowned cloud vendors have been a bit slow in this area, but still, this is true for the overall cloud computing industry. You need to check the future roadmap of the cloud vendor to be sure about its future service plans.
Community and references: You need to maintain your own team of experts in case of an on-premises setup. In the case of the cloud, you must look at the reference implementations by other IT and non-IT companies. That would give you a good idea about what level of expertise would be available in the market to consult or to hire.
Speed of migration: While you may always plan the migration path of your application with a defined timeframe and effort estimates, most of the time there would be deviations. There might be a case where you need to operate in a hybrid model where a part of your solution resides on the cloud whereas the other part remains on the on-premises platforms. It is extremely important to look at your solution architecture during such periods of migration in terms of connectivity between the two sets of infrastructures, partial migration scenarios, rollout and rollbacks, and other unforeseen conditions.
Before you dive into the cloud, do consider preparing a proper risk plan and its mitigation steps. We also recommend looking at the services provided by the major public cloud services providers.
Which Cloud Service Provider Is Best?
- Amazon Web Services - AWS is the deepest of all cloud service providers. They have a wide range of services covering all aspects of solution development, deployment, monitoring, and control. The largest benefit is the community support available for AWS. Being in the market for the longest duration, there are more available resources for AWS than any other cloud provider.
- Microsoft Azure – Azure enjoys the infrastructure of Microsoft. Microsoft has been a leader in the world of personal computing and has pushed successfully into the cloud space using its massive customer base. While considered behind in terms of technology and usability, often the numbers make sense for shops that are “all-in” on Microsoft.
- Google Cloud Platform – Google is a world leader in terms of innovation and technology. This remains true even in the world of the cloud. Google provides technologically advanced services in areas of AI/ML and other emerging areas but falls short in the basics like storage and compute.