The Battle of The Clouds

As the Cloud market is constantly growing and evolving, it leads to questions. Who’s the best and biggest.

So, I thought it would be great to cover the main 3 providers (AWS, Azure and GCP) with the well-respected Cloud Evangelist Venkatesh Balakumar.

As a Cloud Recruiter I will cover the recent market trends, and Venkatesh will dive into the technical side of each cloud and where it can be of benefit – the fun stuff 🙂

What Countries Are Splashing The Cash?

Well, with 90% of companies now on the cloud, and around 1/3 of budgets going towards the cloud, countries are spending more and more each year. Let’s check who is shelling out the most $$ throughout 2019…

In the USA alone, a substantial $124.6 BILLION was spent on Cloud Computing, making it the highest spend country by over 10x – miles ahead of any other nation.

The second-highest, with a $10.5 Billion spent, is China. Which doesn’t come as a huge surprise as they rapidly advance in Technology, they couldn’t miss out on cloud!

Repping close 3rd is my hometown, the UK. Spending $10 Billion on Cloud Computing with London, Manchester and a few other locations booming in tech.

Coming in 4th and 5th for the biggest cash splashing, goes to Germany and Japan, with a combined spend of around $17 Billion Dollars for the year.

AWS – The Big Daddy

Amazon Web Services…. 1st place. Starting in 2004 and leading since then. AWS had a HUGE head start on the competition which allowed them to harvest the largest market share and capitalize early.

2019 Q4, still leading the way, they hold around 32.4% of the market, which is actually a 1% drop from the 2018 Q4 results. Although the market share dropped, revenue actually increased in this same period increased by almost $2.5 Billion.

An interesting fact, the revenue made by AWS totalled 11% of the Amazon sales in recent quarters with continued growth.

Azure – The Middle Child

Microsoft Azure… second place in the race. Initially announced as ‘Project Red Dog’ in 2008, launched as Windows Azure in 2010 then renamed to Microsoft Azure in 2014.

Azure holds a solid 17.6% share of the market in Q4 2019, which is a 2.7% increase from the previous year. With an impressive revenue growth of 62.3% for the year, Azure is chasing down AWS for that top spot.

In October 2019, surprising some of the market, Azure managed to secure the Pentagons $10 Billion JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure) contract ahead of its competitors, allowing them to edge into the market even more – although, recently a judge halted this project until Amazon’s legal issue with Donald Trumps’ alleged bias is resolved – so time will tell what happens there.

Another thing to note, Microsoft recently announced $1 Billion for going carbon negative, now what it means is along with stopping the emission of carbon, Microsoft is trying to find ways of removing excess carbon emission, which could bring a smile for environmentalists.

GCP – The Promising Bloomer

Google Cloud Platform…The 3rd largest Cloud provider, launched in April 2008 currently holds around a 6% market share – an increase of 1.1% from this time last year (2018 Q4).

Overall GCP had a huge annual growth spurt of around 67.6%, the only growth faster than this was Alibaba Cloud at 71.1%.

As a total in 2019, GCP brought in around $9 Billion, which in comparison to the leader (AWS) was less than in the last quarter alone…

That being said, GCP is a rapidly growing cloud platform and certainly seems it will continue chasing the gap between the other leading cloud providers, disrupting the leader boards even more as it is implemented by some of the largest organizations throughout the globe.

Cloud Service Comparison

This, of course, is like comparing apples to oranges, by the way, they are all fruits and they have the same sweetness inside. We will take a look at the top 3 cloud providers GCP, Azure and AWS. Note that this is a comparison based on personal experience.

At the base, they are all the same (the sweetness), that is they all provide tins (Virtual Tins actually) to run our compute requirement.

On top of the Compute, they all provide security, identity and access management, queue, serverless, containers and products to connect on-premise with their cloud. Oh! and let us not forget they all have their own RDBMS, DW, NoSQL, In-Memory DB and Big Data solutions (for example, AWS Redshift, GCP BigQuery, Azure SQL DW).

But what makes each of them unique is their own best practices, their preparatory APIs and the capabilities to onboard the customers with ease. These are each evolved from their own internal requirements.

AWS has won the hearts of start-ups as they find the services simple to use and quick to build their MVP and beyond.

On the other hand, Azure has its historical Windows customers on hand, and provides quick, efficient ways to move to the cloud from their on-premise solutions.

GCP being the new kid on the block has their SRE best practices on hand as well as a well designed Big Data and container offering.

Oh! try this if you have access to all 3 cloud services, create one VM instance in each and clock the time to create, GCP won for me for creating VM quicker than others.

I have not taken the cost factor here as each use-case requires a different service and each of them is priced differently depending on various parameters that are unique to the use-case and the enterprise itself.

The Pick & Mix Strategy

We have all been there where a single product was meant to fix all the enterprise worries, but at the end, we know that it is not and we have to either build or buy products as and when the business progresses. Likewise, moving towards a multi-cloud strategy will become the new norm as the business expands and progresses.

Looking at the top 3 again, even though they all provide the solution required for most of the use cases, each of them are specialised in a certain area through their experience. For example, GCP has their specialty in Big Data, AI and ML-based solutions, Azure, on the other hand, can quickly migrate their existing Microsoft customer’s to Azure Cloud and AWS is the de facto choice for many start-ups’s as their offerings are easy and quick (One interesting thing that caught my eye is AWS Ground station, which is a satellite ground station solution, I am wondering how much it will cost and how widely it will be used).

As the enterprises using cloud grows and their business requirement changes, so do the requirement to quickly utilise various cloud solutions from different cloud providers, which will result in hooking to different cloud providers for their specialty resulting in a multi-cloud strategy within the enterprise.

Securing The Cloud

Security breach, a topic which looks like a Mexican standoff, everyone pointing fingers at the other when it comes to breach of security in Cloud.

To be realistic, cloud security is the responsibility of the provider as well as the consumer. This makes it tricky, and most of the time it’s the provider that comes into the fire. If we take a look at the top cloud providers, they provide all training, certifications and documents to make sure a customer storing data in their cloud is stored safe, beyond which it is the responsibility of the customer.

All major cloud providers provide tools and techniques for security. Well documented user and rights management, Identity and Access Management, Audit, Monitoring and Encryption of data at rest and in motion. Features like encryption with the customer’s own standard as well as the inbuilt industrial standards are also available.

Security is an unending race, you always have to keep working on it, it is not a set it once, fire and forget task as the cyber terrorists of the e-world are ever evolving – you have to too.

What Does The Future Hold?

The world of Cloud is ever changing and new tools are being made and released on a daily basis, so, if someone is continually at the top of their field in cloud – you can bet they’re working their a** off to stay there.

Over the next few years it will be hard to tell what the leading providers market share will look like, I guess it will come down to how fast they can evolve, and how pretty they can make the overall package look…

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Don’t forget to share your views on where you think the cloud market is heading 🙂

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