Friday, February 23, 2024

Public Cloud Providers

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Public cloud providers play an integral part in business strategic planning by providing access to vital resources for data storage and web-app hosting. The services are provided over the Internet on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing businesses to minimize upfront costs and the complexity of having to install and manage their own IT infrastructure.

The need for enterprise-grade data storage has propelled the global public cloud market skyward. It is expected to almost double from $445 billion to $988 billion between 2022 and 2027. The richness and diversity of the market can make it daunting for organizations looking to upscale and upgrade their services.

Here’s a brief guide to some of the leading providers of public cloud solutions and how to choose the right provider for specific business needs.

Best Public Cloud Providers:

Amazon Web Services icon

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon subsidiary Amazon Web Service (AWS) emerged in 2006, revolutionizing how organizations access cloud computing technology and remote resources. It offers a vast array of resources, allowing it to design and execute new solutions at a rapid pace to keep up with the global market’s evolution.

AWS’s services range from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to the simplified and easy-to-access and use, Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud models. Key offerings include:

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a web service that delivers secure and scalable computing capacity based in the cloud designed to facilitate web-centric computing for developers. This allows them to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction with the infrastructure.

The services are available in a wide selection of instance types, from public to private and hybrid, that can be optimized to fit different use cases.

Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is an object-based storage service known for its industry-leading scalability, security, performance and reliable data availability. Organizations of various sizes and industries can use it to store and retrieve any amount of data at any time, providing easy-to-use management features in order to organize data and configure it finely-tuned access control.

Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) simplifies the setup and operations of relational databases in the cloud. AWS is responsible for automating all the redundant and time-consuming administrative tasks, such as hardware provisioning, database setup and data backup and recovery. This is best used to free up developers’ time, allowing them to focus on more pressing tasks like application development and design.

Use Cases and Industries

As a multinational corporation, AWS is able to cater to a wide variety of industries at different stages of development, from startups to established enterprises, as well as the public sector.

Use cases include:

  • Application hosting
  • Data processing
  • Data warehousing
  • Backup and restoration

This makes AWS’s service particularly useful for data-intensive industries such as healthcare, telecommunications, financial services, retail, and manufacturing.

Microsoft icon

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft launched Azure in 2010 as a comprehensive suite of cloud-based services designed to help businesses and organizations navigate the challenges that come with digital adoption. Azure was built on Microsoft’s decades-long specialty—software design—allowing its public cloud solutions to integrate seamlessly with other Microsoft products.

Azure also includes a multitude of services that range from computing and database management to storage and machine learning, including the following:

Azure Blob Storage

Azure Blob Storage is an object-based and scalable storage platform used for data lakes, warehouses and analytics as well as backup and recovery. It’s optimized for massive amounts of unstructured data, like text or binary values.

Azure Cosmos DB

Azure Cosmos DB is a database management service that’s multi-modeled, globally distributed and highly scalable, ensuring low latency that supports various APIs to facilitate access. It supports data models including SQL, MongoDB, Tables, Gremlin and Cassandra.

Azure Virtual Machines

Azure’s Virtual Machines are on-demand, scalable resources that provide users the flexibility of virtualization without the need to invest in or maintain the infrastructure that runs it. They also run on several Microsoft software platforms, supporting numerous Linux distributions for a more versatile experience.

Use Cases and Industries

When combined with Microsoft’s software and enterprise-focused approach to the public cloud, Microsoft Azure’s comprehensive services make it the ideal solution for numerous use cases, such as:

  • Big data and analytics
  • Application hosting
  • Disaster and backup recovery
  • IoT applications

Azure’s services are used by businesses and organizations in a number of industries such as e-commerce, healthcare, insurance and financial institutions.

Google Cloud icon

 

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

First launched in 2011 as a cloud-based subsidiary of Google, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a suite of cloud computing services that uses the same infrastructure as Google’s software products. Its industry-leading creations from TensorFlow and Kubernetes are some of the greatest examples of Google’s sophisticated solutions, and include the following:

Google Cloud Engine

Also known as Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Cloud Engine is a fully managed, user-ready environment used to deploy containerized applications and web services. Based on the open-source Kubernetes system, it’s developed by Google for managing workloads, enabling developers to flexibly and efficiently develop apps and deploy applications.

Google Cloud Storage

Google Cloud Storage is a fully managed and scalable object-oriented storage service. It includes many services ranging from serving website content to storing data for archival purposes and disaster recovery.

Google Compute Engine

Google Compute Engine is a cloud-based virtual machine solution that’s scalable and flexible. It allows users to tailor their computing environment, meeting specific requirements, and offering flexible pricing and cost savings.

Use Cases and Industries

GCP is used by organizations and businesses in IT, healthcare and retail, as well as the financial industry. Use cases include:

  • Data analytics and machine learning
  • Application development
  • Storage and database management

IBM icon

IBM Cloud

IBM launched IBM Cloud in 2011 as a collection of cloud-based computing services. It leverages IBM’s vast experience, offering a robust approach to enterprise-grade public cloud platforms with an emphasis on open-source technologies and supporting a diverse set of computing models, including the following:

IBM Cloud Functions

IBM Cloud Functions is IBM’s Function as a Service (FaaS) solution built on Apache OpenWhisk. It enables developers to execute code in response to events as well as direct HTTP calls without having to manage their own hardware infrastructure.

IBM Cloud Virtual Servers

These flexible and scalable cloud computing solutions support both public and dedicated virtual servers. They’re the right balance of computing power to cost, allowing companies to deploy the servers globally and reach their customers.

IBM Cloud Databases

IBM Cloud Databases is a family of managed, public databases that support a wide variety of data models that include relational, key-value, document, and time-series applications.

Use Cases and Industries

IBM Cloud services a wide range of industries with its diverse offerings, such as IT and technology companies, healthcare organizations, financial institutions and retail providers, as well as the public sector. Use cases include:

  • Public and hybrid cloud implementation
  • Blockchain development
  • Data analytics and management
  • AI and machine learning

Oracle icon

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is a part of Oracle’s comprehensive cloud offering, first launched in 2012. The public cloud solution leverages Oracle’s long history in enterprise computing and data processing, enabling the company to provide robust, scalable and secure services, including the following:

Oracle Cloud Storage

Oracle Cloud Storage is a high-performance, scalable and reliable object storage service. It’s capable of storing an unlimited amount of data of any content type, including analytic data and rich content like images and video.

Oracle Cloud Compute

Oracle Cloud Compute encompasses a variety of cloud computing options set to meet the needs of small-scale applications to enterprise-grade workloads. It’s available as both bare metal and virtual machine instances, giving users a flexible, scalable environment for running applications.

Oracle Cloud Functions

Oracle’s Function as a Service (FaaS) offering lets developers write and deploy code without worrying about underlying infrastructure. It’s based on the open-source Fn Project and allows developers to build, run, and scale applications in a fully managed serverless environment.

Use Cases and Industries

With its versatile offerings, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is able to serve a wide range of industries such as application development, insurance, healthcare and e-commerce in both the private and public sectors. Use cases include:

  • High-performance computing (HPC)
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Data backup and recovery
  • Data analytics

Alibaba Cloud icon

Alibaba Cloud

Launched in 2009, Alibaba Cloud is the cloud computing faction of the Alibaba Group. As the leading cloud provider in China and among the top global providers, Alibaba Cloud capitalizes on Alibaba’s massive scale and experience with e-commerce and data processing. Services include the following:

ApsaraDB

ApsaraDB is a suite of managed database services that cover a wide range of database types including relational, NoSQL and in-memory databases. These services handle database administration tasks, allowing developers to focus on their applications rather than database management.

Alibaba Object Storage Service

Alibaba Object Storage Service (OSS) is an easy-to-use service that enables users to store, backup and archive large amounts of data in the cloud. It is highly scalable, secure, and designed to store exabytes of data, making it ideal for big data scenarios.

Alibaba Elastic Compute Service

Alibaba Elastic Compute Service (ECS) provides fast memory and flexible cloud servers, allowing users to build reliable and efficient applications with ease. ECS instances come in a variety of types, each optimized for certain workloads, making them versatile for different application scenarios.

Use Cases and Industries

In essence, Alibaba Cloud’s extensive services, coupled with its strong presence in Asia, make it a compelling choice in the public cloud market. It also serves a multitude of data-heavy industries such as technology companies, media and entertainment, financial services and education. Use cases include:

  • E-commerce platforms
  • Big data analytics and processing
  • AI and machine learning models

Emerging Public Cloud Providers

The booming market and demand for public cloud have opened the doors for numerous technology companies to start offering their own cloud computing and storage solutions. The focus of emerging cloud providers tends to be on providing straightforward, scalable, and affordable cloud services to small and midsize businesses, and key players in addition to the ones covered in this article include DigitalOcean, Linode and Vultr. All offer developer-friendly features at affordable rates alongside high-quality customer service and support.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Public Cloud Provider

When choosing a provider of public cloud solutions, there are several factors to consider.

Scalability and performance

The cloud service provider must be able to handle workloads and be able to accommodate growth and changes as business grows.

Security

Providers must be compliant with local and federal data security and privacy regulations. Additionally, they should be able to protect data against attacks, leaks and breaches.

Pricing flexibility

Cloud services are most known for their flexible, pay-as-you-go pricing models. Multiple tiers at varying costs allow businesses to access only the resources they need.

Integration and customer service

A public cloud solution should be compatible with existing and legacy systems, ensuring seamless integration, and should include reliable customer support and service to ensure access to solutions and assistance.

Bottom Line: Public Cloud Providers

The public cloud market offers a diverse range of options, each with its own strengths and trade-offs. AWS, Microsoft Azure, GCP, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Alibaba Cloud are major players, each serving a multitude of industries with a broad array of services. Simultaneously, emerging providers offer compelling alternatives, especially for certain use cases or customer profiles.

When choosing a provider, considerations over scalability, performance, security, cost, integration and support are key. By understanding these factors, businesses can make informed decisions and choose the public cloud provider that best meets their specific needs.

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