You don’t need to use cloud services. You can just create your own data center, build storage, and hire a whole team to manage the system.
But we would not advise so.
Cloud services help to save the two most valuable resources of today – time and money. And frankly, nowadays the importance of cloud computing is not even a question. The questions are How and What cloud services to use.
And the typical dilemma looks like AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud Platform.
What is Cloud Computing
Imagine a network of remote servers that are arranged to help customers store and process their data, manage websites, API’s, Artificial Intelligence, etc. The customers do not need to build any servers by themselves. All they need to do is to buy a subscription and start building their products.
Challenges of Cloud Computing
Some say cloud services are not that easy or even tricky. But frankly, we can’t say there are disadvantages of cloud computing. But there are a number of things to keep in mind with starting out with cloud services.
- Avoid Vendor Lock-In
One of the scariest cloud computing odds. Various clouds can provide you with the execution environment or data-based management system (DBMS). Everything is great, everything goes smoothly …until you decide to change your cloud provider. That’s the moment the horror can begin.
Moving usually includes lots of concerns and issues and can appear to be technically difficult and probably too expensive. And generally just impossible.
Thus it is worth considering using your own side –services to manage your project.
- Using own storage and database services
If potential limitations look kind of scary for you, it’s possible to get yourself the freedom of choice – use your own services like DBMS, message brokers, and other services. This means that you are using a standard virtual machine to run the service you need: you set it up by yourself, not using any standard solutions from the provider. It will help you to avoid vendor lock, but also provide you with clear processes and ability to move to another cloud provider almost whenever you want.
What you’ll need is a DevOps engineer that would manage your cloud services and that comes at a cost.
The simplistic notion of the problem would look like: to invest in hiring a DevOps engineer or never change the provider?
We went through this with one of our clients – financial news aggregator CityFALCON. From the beginning of the project, four years ago, we knew that we didn’t have to stay locked. So, we chose to support all the cloud libraries and databases by ourselves. Eventually, it was the right choice as it helped the Client to save almost a hundred thousand dollars.
- Use serverless functions
If your solution isn’t very complicated and you are not afraid of vendor lock, such a service will help to save your money. These are feature-as-a-service features that provide serverless development in the cloud. In this case, for smaller tasks, you don’t need a whole virtual machine. Why not choose it, especially when all basic cloud computing providers offer serverless functions.
When it’s ok to use serverless functions: these features start working only when users access your website, and switch off automatically when they are no longer needed.
You can pay only when you really use it. You can calculate AWS vs Azure vs Google pricing for AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions.
- Cloud computing for free
If you are just starting your project and looking for a cloud computing provider, don’t be in a hurry to choose between Google Cloud vs AWS vs Azure. Start with searching for tenders: maybe, it is your opportunity to win.
If you need a solution right away, you do not need to wait for funding opportunities, though. Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure each offer 12 months of free trial for their customers.
In short: Why is cloud computing important?
Reduce costs. You no longer have to upgrade your systems, buy new hard- or software, pay experts, or spend money for crazy energy consumption for server maintenance.
Work fast and get automatic updates. Well, cloud services also may have delays, but there are fewer. Moreover, you do not have to perform the updates: whether it is new software, server updates or computing power. The service upgrades are automatic and included in your fee.
Be scalable. Scalability may become a real headache once your project starts to grow. Cloud allows you to forget about upgrading your hardware if servers fail. No matter how fast your app grows, the cloud’s flexibility adjusts to your app, allowing you to solve more important business tasks.
Dynamic scaling. You can add or remove hardware according to your needs. For example, at rush hour, it is possible to add hardware, as well as remove it in the night, when you do not need these resources. This allows you to use hardware more efficiently and save money.
TOP 3 Cloud Service Providers: Azure vs AWS vs Google
Nowadays there are a number of different cloud computing services on the market. They differ in their features, conditions, prices, etc.
But there are three top well-known computing services everyone in the industry has heard about: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Computing.
Let’s delve into some details.
Note: There are also cloud computing types like IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Here Microsoft tells about each of them.
1.1 Amazon web services
Amazon Web Services is a cloud computing platform created by Amazon. The service provides its users with a mix of IaaS and Paas services. Moreover, it offers SaaS service products as packaged software.
The virtual machine of Amazon is the Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2.
The key functions of Elastic Compute Cloud:
- Windows and Linux support
- High-performance computing
- Auto-scaling tools
The easiest way to estimate your monthly fees is to use an AWS Calculator. It does not matter whether you use a single virtual machine or several side services of Amazon.
Amazon also offers a free 12 months free or always free services, as well as trial products. You can check these opportunities and filter them according to your needs.
Amazon offers its users different kinds of storage, each for a different purpose.
The most commonly used are:
- Object storage S3 (Simple Storage Service)
- Persistent block storage (usually used with Elastic Compute Power)
- File storage (Elastic File System)
In other words, there are a lot of Amazon strengths and you can find a storage system for various types of files and information. Whatever your business is dedicated too, Amazon is a convenient choice.
Let’s consider some Amazon strengths and weaknesses:
1.2 Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service of Microsoft. The main functions of Azure are providing users with a virtual machine, cloud computing, storage and side services. As a rule, Microsoft Azure is often used for application creation, including testing, deploying, and further management.
Microsoft has Virtual Machines, known as its main compute service. Besides supporting Microsoft’s software, Azure provides the system with hybrid cloud capabilities and security.
Among key servers that are supported by Virtual Machine are:
- SQL Server
- Linux Servers
- Windows Servers
Like all the other cloud services providers, Azure from Microsoft has a huge difference in products, and the price often depends on the hardware type of geolocation. You can estimate your expected monthly payments of Azure products with the Microsoft Azure cost calculator.
Microsoft Azure also offers 12 months of popular free services, $200 credit for any service for 30 days, and a list of always-free Azure services.
There are five main storage resources at Microsoft Azure:
- Blob Storage for REST-based objects
- Storage for voluminous workloads
- File and Disk StoragesStorage for all object types
- Store for big data apps
1.3 Google Cloud
Google Cloud Platform, as you’ve probably guessed, is offered by Google. It is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its own products.
Google does not have as much computing power services than its competitors. Though, its main Compute Engine service covers all the clients’ needs.
Compute Engine offers:
- Custom and predefined machine types boasting
- Linux support
- Per-second billing
- Windows support
You can estimate your total project costs with the Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator.
Like AWS and Azure, Google Cloud also offers a free 12-months-long tier that includes $300 free credit and a list of always-free products.
GCP also has a lot of storage options. The key one of them is Cloud Storage – a unified object storage service. The main difference of Google Cloud at that point is its Transfer Appliance server, which is similar to Amazon Web Services’ Snowball.
Google cloud computing pros and cons:
AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: What else to consider?
1. An ability to work with AI
Artificial intelligence and all the derivative technologies are our future or even present. As more vendors consider working with AI, the more cloud services try to provide such opportunities to their customers.
However, Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud are offering their users alike AI support:
- Google focuses mostly on AI along with machine learning. The platform supports TensorFlow library, so the customers can develop and deploy ML-related applications without any complications.
- Amazon is also supporting TensorFlow. Moreover, it has a service named SageMarker, where it is possible to train machine learning models. Further deployment is also included.
- Azure is also started to support Artificial Intelligence: Microsoft offers the customers’ an ML-machine learning service along with a bot service of Azure.
2. Internet of Things support
At this point, Google Cloud rocks: the service has a lot of offerings for working with APIs for natural language, speech processing, and translation.
Moreover, Google offers an opportunity to work with serverless services.
Microsoft has also invested in IoT: it has several management and analytics services, and its serverless computing service is known as Functions.
Amazon Web Services offers a special messaging system for the Internet of Things and the Lambda serverless computing service.
You might notice that different cloud service providers offer their customers different fees, prices or even services.
Nevermind, you can use several IaaS cloud vendors each for certain tasks you need.
For example, AWS and Microsoft Azure are the most common providers to be paired up. Google Cloud also joins this company frequently.
The importance of cloud computing could not be underrated. The strategic importance of cloud computing in business organizations is all about reducing costs scalability and efficiency.
If you need any assistance with cloud computing services, feel free to reach out.