Your IT infrastructure is ready to make the big move—from on-premises to the public cloud. Or perhaps you’re already in the cloud, but it’s time for a change to a new platform provider.
You are not alone in your interest in the cloud. As reported in Forbes, Gartner's latest annual report on the public-cloud computing infrastructure market shows that cloud adoption is not slowing down at all. The worldwide infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market grew more than 31% in 2018—reaching $32.4 billion, up 31% from $24.7 billion in 2017.
So your next step is to decide which cloud platform provider is best for your IT environment. For many, the choice comes down to the two market leaders—Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. According to Gartner, Amazon Web Services owns nearly half of the world's public-cloud infrastructure market (47.8%) followed by Microsoft Azure at a distant second, with 15.5%.
Some people like to go with the market leader while others think the company in second place is apt to work harder for your business. To help you decide which is best for you, we first presented the blog, Why Azure is Better Than AWS. In this blog, we examine some of the reasons why AWS reigns king over Azure.
More Experience and Heavy Investors in Cloud Technology
AWS provides the most experience in delivering public cloud services, entering the market first after initially launching in 2002 and then relaunching in 2006. Microsoft announced Azure in 2008 and then formally launched the service in 2010.
AWS continuously invests heavily in its data centers. According to UpGuard, AWS server capacity is about six times larger than the next 12 competitors combined. AWS also has more availability zones—42 with eight on the way, compared to 34 (and four more on the way) for Azure.
All this computing power offered by AWS assures you of always being able to leverage the latest technologies. AWS data centers are also placed strategically around the globe with a strong presence in North America. This makes it possible to direct end-users and customers from anywhere in the world to a data center that’s relatively close—thus reducing latency more consistently.
As reported in eWeek, Gartner has described AWS as “the most mature, enterprise-ready (cloud services) provider, with the deepest capabilities for governing a large number of users and resources." The huge and growing array of AWS services—up to 165 this year—spans compute, storage, networking, database, analytics, application services, deployment, management, mobile, developer tools, and tools for the Internet of Things. Anything you do in your own data center can be done on AWS, and the technology never grows old.
Advantages for Developers and Storage
With more data centers than Azure, AWS services are particularly beneficial for geographically-dispersed software teams, enabling them to spin up development servers instantly and collaborate more efficiently. AWS services also provide developers with functionality through APIs that can be used in their applications—providing the building blocks for scalable, reliable and secure applications. This makes it easier for developers to focus on application features.
Storage—for primary, backup and archiving purposes—is another particularly strong area for AWS. Led by S3 (Simple Storage Service) object storage, AWS features the most advanced, mature and longest-running public cloud storage service (in production since 2006). AWS also offers temporary storage, which can be assigned when an instance is started, then destroyed when it is terminated.
As for the cost of AWS vs. Azure, that’s always an issue that quickly surfaces to the top of the discussion on which platform to use. As illustrated in this helpful comparison from Flexera, it can be difficult to compare the two services from a cost perspective. As the blog notes, however, AWS offers the most payment options and enables you to save more the more you pay upfront.
A Checklist to Guide Your Decision-Making
Before taking it for granted that AWS is the best cloud solution for your company, it’s important to assess your options. As you would with any technology project, start with a scorecard of attributes to help guide you in your choice of a cloud platform. Here are the high-level considerations:
- Design—will the platform provider assist you in designing your IT infrastructure?
- Migration—how easy will it be to move your infrastructure and your data to the cloud platform?
- Access—will end users find it easy and fast to access files?
- Collaboration—will the new environment facilitate collaboration among end-users who are working in various locations, perhaps around the world?
- Development—is the platform just as helpful for spinning up development servers and helping developers collaborate?
- Scalability—as your compute requirements change, will the infrastructure easily scale up and down?
- Security—does the cloud provider offer a strong security posture to protect your data and digital assets?
- Support—are IT resources readily available for any performance issues that arise?
- Continuity—how quickly can the cloud provider restore operations in the event of a disaster?
- Management—does the provider monitor your cloud environment for performance issues and offer basic system administration?
As you work your way through these attributes, identify which functions you might want to handle with internal resources. Across the board, you will want to clearly delineate what your cloud provider will and will not do. Security, for example, requires both parties to share the responsibility.
You may also determine that a third-party IT solution provider with cloud expertise is needed. This is almost always the case because internal developers and IT support teams are generally not familiar with what it’s like to work in cloud environments. It’s usually better to let these resource focus on their core skills and leave the cloud to an external partner.
Be Sure to Monitor Any Platform You Choose
No matter which cloud platform you choose, it’s important to invest in a tool to help you monitor the performance of your cloud environment. Service providers may give you reports on your cloud resources, but that’s only one part of the picture.
WhatsUp Gold helps you take on this challenge by treating the cloud just like the rest of your network. The solution displays cloud information in context with the rest of your network infrastructure so you can monitor, report and alert on the status of every single metric available via your cloud provider’s APIs. You can then integrate that information into your alert center, dashboards, and network map.