As the battle of the cloud continues, Amazon, Microsoft and Google still dominate the global cloud computing market, helping businesses to accelerate their digital transformation in a revolutionary shift away from traditional legacy systems.
In this post we’ll be looking at how the big three tech giants, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are dominating the global cloud market while taking a deeper dive into which option might be the best fit for your business.
Let’s start off with why you might be thinking about migrating your systems to the cloud.
Public cloud offers the opportunity for businesses to revolutionise their business and accelerate their digital transformation. The adoption and optimisation of cloud computing has become a driving force for organisations, as we are seeing a high number of applications being moved out of on-premises data centres to public cloud platforms to enable them to innovate and increase agility.
It’s not just the reduced cost and efficiency of the cloud, it also provides IT infrastructure that allows for next generation security and better maintenance and patching, revealing insights that would have been far harder to access in legacy systems. Cloud services have revolutionised computing through IaaS, PaaS, and especially SaaS, which have allowed businesses to develop virtualised IT infrastructure and deliver software through the cloud, independent of a user’s operating system.
The Big Three cloud providers AWS, Azure and GCP, come with a wealth of experience and expertise, more than enough to provide a feature-rich cloud environment. The decision on what provider to choose is not to be taken lightly and it is recommended organisations do their due diligence and compare each platform in order to fully understand their capabilities.
AWS jumped into the game early as the first major cloud vendor around 16 years ago, now claiming 33% of market share in Q1 of 2022. AWS is currently the leader in the market, with its success linked to the scale of its operation. Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, highlights that the “one challenge is pricing on AWS, where many companies don’t fully understand the metrics and the impact on architectural decisions and the costs to support certain services.”
Gartner’s report on cloud IaaS and PaaS vendors highlights AWS’ popularity in the market with its domination benefiting from its early entrance into the cloud landscape.
Google Cloud Platform
Google’s offering launched into the cloud battleground recently, offering largely similar capabilities to AWS and Azure. As a latecomer, Google has a limited range of functionalities and does not have the same global spread of data centres offered by AWS and Azure. However, customers benefit from a highly specialised service in three main streams: big data, machine learning and analytics as well as low response times. At their core, Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform offer similar capabilities around storage, security, flexibility and networking. Each platform shares the same features of a public cloud: self-service, instant provisioning, autoscaling, plus security, compliance, and identity management.
Why are people opting for Microsoft Azure?
Released nearly a decade ago in 2010, Azure is one of the fast-growing cloud platforms and is quickly climbing the ladder in the cloud sphere. Showing up on the scene later than AWS, Microsoft Azure quickly adapted its existing on-premises offerings (Windows Server, Office, SQL Server, Sharepoint, Dynamics) for the cloud. Azure is a strong competitor to AWS, providing organizations with a feature-rich catalogue, robust support and seamless integration.
Many ‘born in the cloud’ new tech companies might opt for AWS. However, Microsoft benefits from its long-standing relationship with enterprise level companies already utilising the Microsoft suite on a daily basis. Which means end users probably won’t even notice the switch. It also outweighs cloud providers as the solution for migrating complex legacy systems over to the cloud.
Microsoft is the attractive choice for loyal Microsoft customers, with a large client base in use by more than 95% of Fortune 500 companies, Azure comes with a well-established track record catering to enterprise users.
Azure offers cost-savings in comparison to other clouds through discounts on licensing – and it also allows companies to use their existing Windows Server and SQL server licences with Software Assurance, offering a discounted rate when migrating to Azure. Working seamlessly with Office 365 and Active Directory, Azure users can increase the value gained from their Microsoft investment. For organizations migrating their Windows Server to the Cloud, Microsoft offers its customers an array of benefits, included extended security updates inclusive in the overall cost.
Ultimately for any company using Windows Servers and Microsoft stack on-premises, it makes complete business sense to move to Azure. Companies also enjoy the user-friendly element owed to its seamless integration.
Azure uses technologies that Microsoft users are already familiar with, such as Windows, Active Directory and Linux, making it a far less complex alternative to AWS combined with high-end functionality and scalability to tailored to the business needs.
As the future of the workplace remains uncertain, organisations still heavily rely on cloud technologies to allow companies to work remotely but in a secure manner. Microsoft is constantly working on updates to ensure this stays possible. As well as continuously adding functionality to Azure, Microsoft is also rapidly expanding its comprehensive AI portfolio, which allows Azure to remain a cutting-edge provider of cloud technology.
In terms of security, both Microsoft Azure and AWS operate a worldwide cloud infrastructure of thousands of interconnected data centres. Microsoft is industry-leading in the field, and its Azure infrastructure is trusted by many government bodies as well as enterprises. 95% of Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft Azure, which alone highlights its robust security capabilities. Microsoft also invests over a billion dollars annually into tightening their security measures, including the Azure platform, so that companies’ data and assets are kept secure to the highest standards.
Microsoft has over 3,500 cybersecurity experts working 24/7 to fight off the bad guys and keep IT operations running smoothly.
This number includes over 200 professionals who identify potential issues through red and blue team exercises – where the red team tries to compromise Azure infrastructure, and the blue team defends against these attacks. This is to ensure the team are becoming increasingly effective at continuous detection and response to cyberthreats.
Azure also operates a zero-trust architecture, where organisations can verify identity, devices, access, and services to further reduce the chances of the wrong people getting hold of company data. Ray Wang identifies Azure as ‘the safe global bet’. Azure clients know that they can access all their computing needs in one space, from productivity and enterprise software down to cloud computing resources.
Within Azure, users have the capabilities to run any service on the cloud or combine it with existing applications, data centre or infrastructure. It’s worth noting that Azure is not only limited to windows-based services. It also has the ability to support open-source languages, technologies and platforms and for multi-cloud options Azure and AWS can work together. Customers include well-known brands, such as ASOS, HSBC, Starbucks and the NHS.
Hybrid cloud environments
Microsoft is a long-standing winner for hybrid deployments within the big three with its well-established Azure Stack.
This function provides organizations with the right tools to deploy Azure public cloud services from a local data centre with a shared management portal, code and APIs. Azure stack gives businesses the flexibility to address diverse workloads.
Which cloud provider is the best for me?
As a whole, adopting a cloud infrastructure offers unparalleled potential for improving business performance and increasing profits. Selecting one cloud vendor over the others will come down to the individual needs of the business and the workloads running. However, Microsoft-centric organizations will largely benefit from Azure, with the capability to bring everything businesses need to innovate together, on one streamlined platform.
To help businesses manage, maintain and optimise their cloud environments, Managed Service Providers (MSP) take responsibility and control of day-to-day operations, making sure that organizations’ IT systems are running smoothly, and data is kept secure. Having an MSP helps businesses to free up their time and focus on what matters.
Read the Top Ten Benefits of using a Microsoft Azure MSP here.
Article written by Bethany Arnold
With our IT-as-a-service (ITaas) model, we can manage your IT operations on a pay as you go basis whilst guiding you through your journey with Microsoft Azure.
The planning stage of Microsoft Azure is vital to enable a successful, bespoke build of your data architecture and unlock the benefits from your Azure deployment. With this in mind, we provide a free Cloud Options Analysis which provides a comprehensive analysis of your existing IT infrastructure and investment, as part of a wider review of your entire skills, processes, and technology.