Migrate to the cloud! This is the common IT advice you probably hear in regards to optimizing existing infrastructure and reducing TOC.

Indeed, today 73% of businesses already have at least one application, or part of their infrastructure in the cloud. The boldest predictions even go as far as indicating that in one year, 83% of enterprise workloads will reside in the cloud.

The stakes are high: migrating to the cloud is the easiest way to innovate your business and deploy new competitive services. Cloud services also offer greater flexibility with instant resource scaling; higher SLA levels and a smoother path towards maintaining business continuity even when disaster strikes. Hence, it should come as no surprise that over a third of IT departments are pressured to migrate 100% to the cloud platform.

However, cloud migration should not be viewed as a “trendy” thing to do. There are multiple facets that should be carefully considered to successfully bring your initiative to life and gain the benefits. Choosing the optimal cloud services provider to match your business needs will be a major step in that direction.

Cloud Migration: What’s In It for Your Business?

Today, there are three major cloud services providers – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure. AWS currently holds the largest (51%) share of the IaaS/PaaS market, while the cloud platform from Google – a newer entrant in the space – has the lowest market share of just 6% per Market Watch report.

Cloud comparison

While all vendors offer the same general cloud services, there are some differences to consider, as companies make their decisions on cloud computing.

In terms of general services and benefits, all three cloud providers can help your business capture the next cloudification benefits:

  • As companies scale, developing more software, apps, infrastructure, etc., their existing hardware becomes stressed. They have two choices – 1) continue to acquire more hardware, at a significant cost, and then employ additional staff to maintain the additional hardware and systems, or 2) use a cloud storage system to house growing infrastructure, software, apps, etc.
  • Moving to the cloud means that current IT staff can focus on more productive endeavors, such as development, instead of on-prem infrastructure maintenance. You can outsource IT support 24/7 to a managed services provider.
  • The migration of sensitive information to a cloud-based system (think health and financial information), means that there are far fewer risks of such data being compromised. One of the biggest causes of breaches is employee negligence, especially personal use of company computers. Another risk is outside vendors, such as the one responsible for the Target data breach several years ago. Today, even public cloud configurations can be customized to meet the top security standards and compliance requirements.
  • If natural disasters or other events cause systems to crash, having software, data, and apps, etc. in the cloud means that nothing is lost. Work can go on uninterrupted. Up until this time, organizations had to find remote physical facilities at which to store their data.

The Top Three Cloud Services Companies: AWS vs Google Cloud vs Azure

All three companies are strong contenders for businesses. However, you should understand that different tech strengths and backgrounds have molded the companies’ approaches to delivering cloud solutions and complementary functionality.

AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure cloud offerings come with a set of different advantages in terms of features, pricing and tech offerings as further illustrated in the comparison chart.

AWS Google Cloud Azure
Compute Resources EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) – cutting-edge solution for managing virtual machines. Comes with pre-configured, yet customizable settings.

CPU Limits: 1-40
Memory Limits: 0.5-244 GB

GCE (Google Compute Engine) – operate similarly to AWS.

CPU Limits: 1 Shared-32 dedicated CPU
Memory Limits: 0.6-208 GB

Virtual Machines (VMs) – easy-to-configure, manage and deploy. Can maintain OS and other server software.

CPU Limits: 1-32 CPU
Memory Limits: 0.75-448 GB

Server management services AWS Systems Manager: Gain better visibility into all groups of resources and set up automations. N/A Azure Operational Insights: Essential operational data analysis.
Storage Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service).

Key advantage: you can physically ship data to the company for uploading.

Costs: From $0.023 per GB Per month

Google Cloud Storage

Key advantage:
allows resumable data uploads.

Costs: From $0.007 – $0.014 per GB/month/

Azure Blob Storage

Key advantage: excellent for hosting large unstructured data (up to 5 TB per item).

Costs: From $0.002 per GB for hot storage and from $0.01 per GB per month for cool storage

Scaling AWS Auto Scaling Using managed instance groups Azure Autoscale and Virtual Machine Scale Sets
Logging & monitoring Amazon CloudWatch: real-time visibility and analytics for apps and infrastructure

AWS CloudTrail: Logging and monitoring of AWS accounts

Google StackDriver –monitoring, logging, error reporting, tracing and debugging Azure Monitor
Log Analytics(log data collection and insights) plus Application Insights (Application Performance Management platform)
Disaster recovery Provides a set of cloud-based disaster recovery services Does not offer ready-to-use DR solutions Site Recovery (DRaaS)
Analytics & Big Data AWS Elastic MapReduce (EMR), a robust managed Hadoop, Spark and Presto solution. Can be integrated with a number of AWS services. Cloud Dataproc – fully managed Hadoop and Spark service.

Has a seperate Machine Learning platform for training and hosting Tensorflow models.

Cloud Dataflow – develop custom data processing pipelines.

Cortana Intelligence – includes Apache platform HDInsight that can be equipped with Hadoop, Spark, Storm or HBase.
Real-time data can be processed with Stream Analytics.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon has been the market leader for a while as the company was among the first to offer cloud computing solutions and now has almost every feature available in the industry.

One of the biggest benefits of AWS is that it can serve organizations of any size. Big boys such as Netflix and Expedia rely on AWS to deliver services globally. And yet, small businesses can find everything they need too. Among the pros of Amazon are the following:

  • Pricing is based on amount of use, rather than a set fee. Smaller businesses find this attractive. Storage is customizable and, again cost is based on amount
  • Scaling is easy with AWS – it can support almost unlimited numbers of users – perhaps the reason for Netflix’s choice.
  • There’s lots of flexibility, customization and support for third-party integrations – virtually any organization can be served through AWS.
  • Real-time analytics and big data solutions are available through Amazon’s proprietary Kinesis Streams and Firehose. You will need a small development team to help you set up those.
  • Updates and continued new features are attractive, as this platform continues to assess client needs and pain points.

Google Cloud Platform

Google prides itself in offering a wide variety of products and services to companies of all sizes. Most notable are computing, networking, storage, big data, and machine learning. One of its greatest strengths is in data management, especially for applications.

Here are the pros:

  • Data analytics and storage are very attractive to users, and ML services are quite advanced
  • Integrates easily with all other Google services
  • There is a free package although it is quite limited, and highly discounted prices for a long-term contract
  • Special arrangements are easily negotiated.

Microsoft Azure

Like AWS, Azure offers virtual machines that have some custom configurations. Two options are available – Azure SQL and Cloud SQL. Analytics are available through Cortana, and real-time data is processed through its proprietary Stream Analytics. Obviously, it integrates perfectly with any other Microsoft products.

Among its pros are the following:

  • Azure is an almost “out of the box” solution – the set up is easy.
  • If an organization has Microsoft products, integration with Azure VM’s is almost seamless.
  • It offers a variety of pricing, based on client needs.
  • Azure guarantees no more than 4.38 hours of downtime per year.
  • Its biggest strength is speed.

Calculating The Cost of Cloud Solutions

Of course, there is cost involved. But when it is weighed against the costs of in-house solutions, there is really no comparison.

All cloud services companies will charge upfront fees to migrate your data to the cloud. After that, there will be subscription fees that are ongoing, based on the cloud platform provider tier you choose. Costs also vary upon the amount that you migrate now and as you add more computing in the future. Your best bet is to use a service that has a pay-as-you-use system in place.

And costs will always be calculable up-front. Before you make a decision.

AWS pricing Resources:

Google Cloud Pricing Resources:

Microsoft Azure Pricing Resources:


Deciding among these three cloud services providers is a serious business choice. At Romexsoft, we continue to believe that AWS holds the edge in cloud service providers. It is feature-rich, supports organizations of any size, and is both customizable and highly scalable. Further, it continues to develop and offer new features.

When you are ready to migrate, Romexsoft is here to assist you with your AWS set-up, customization, and ongoing managed support of your AWS infrastructure. Let us evaluate your needs and move you one step closer to the cloud!

Originally published here.

Read more: Review of the AWS Right Sizing Tool: Helpful or Clunky?