Choosing a cloud provider may seem like a trivial thing. You could simply go with the choice that most of the world has already made and choose the clear leader in the cloud space today — AWS. However, as the public cloud market matures, the volume and range of relevant enterprise options expand. Depending on your requirements, you might find one of the other cloud providers out there more suitable, mainly because of the hypervisor that enterprise uses. For example, for VMware vSphere users, vCloud might be the “natural” public cloud choice.
In this article,we discuss in brief several public cloud vendors and consider their underlying infrastructure and the hypervisors they use to operate their clouds.
Public Cloud Providers
There are several key players in today’s cloud market, each offering different advantages.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon not only has an online store where you can buy and sell things, it also the biggest public cloud provider in the world. It would even be safe to say it was the first to provide an option to run your workloads in the cloud on a large scale.
Today AWS is clearly perceived as the market leader. Of all the cloud providers, AWS offers the richest feature set for use in the cloud. It also has the biggest share in the Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market, and has been highlighted as such in the past six years in the de-facto “State of the Union” from Gartner.
AWS has built up its proprietary platform over the years, and its business model is based entirely on the expectation and assumption that everything can and will run in the public cloud. AWS has no on-premises solution.
Microsoft Azure has been around since 2008 (and underwent a name change in 2010). Microsoft is well known for its stronghold in the Enterprise market, particularly for desktop software as well as enterprise software such as Exchange and SQL. A few years ago, Microsoft plunged head first into virtualization.
As a result of their sheer size and market share, Azure is perceived as market leader –
alongside AWS. The option to mix and match your workloads in your data center and in the cloud has been a real temptation to many of the enterprises. Microsoft recently announced Azure Stack, which is Microsoft’s Azure cloud deployed within your organization’s data center. Under the hood the stack include Microsoft’s Hyper-V, Windows, and networking and storage which makes the uniformity with the Azure public cloud. Ultimately this create a very compelling hybrid solution for enterprises.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
We all know that Google runs the biggest search engine in the world. Google also decided to get into the business of cloud computing in June 2012 and has been a contender in this market ever since. GCP does not yet offer the vast amount of services available from AWS, although they are continuously adding more services to compete. It does, however, have a number of differentiators that allow it to stand out from the competition, for example, shorter billing cycles – such as per minute pricing instead of per hour (in AWS).
Unlike AWS, which run on Xen hypervisor, Google Cloud runs on KVM. But like AWS, Google Cloud also has a proprietary platform, and is also betting on the fact that anything and everything will run in the public cloud, and therefore does not offer an on-premises solution.
Rackspace has been extremely well known in the hosted infrastructure space for many, many years. The company takes pride in its fanatical support, and first dipped its toes into the public cloud market almost 10 years ago.
Rackspace cloud is based upon OpenStack, although it has added a significant amount of customizations into its platform that will never become part of the OpenStack community. The customizations include a custom networking stack and load balancing service and, of course, the whole billing and UI aspect – which is not vanilla OpenStack.
Rackspace offers a private cloud solution as well as a supported and managed service – and this is where they differ from the two cloud providers above. Rackspace will set up an cloud for you, then support and manage it as well…….
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