Cloud Computing is a billion-dollar industry. Infrastructure, software, applications, services; you name them, all are moving to the cloud. Today, we’ll be discussing the Best Cloud Platforms.

Cloud computing is on-demand access, via the internet, to computing resources—applications, servers (physical servers and virtual servers), data storage, development tools, networking capabilities, and more—hosted at a remote data center managed by a cloud services provider

Just imagine you have a startup that is rapidly growing. Lots of customers are visiting your website. This is happy news, right? Of course, but there is a serious issue here. Your internal server on which the website is hosted is not capable of handling too much traffic on the website. So, what is the solution now? One way is to buy more servers to host the website. But this is an expensive process. The most cost-efficient and reliable solution is to use a cloud platform for deploying your website. Cloud platforms like AWS, GCP have a huge number of servers. You can buy the servers remotely via the internet. The cloud platform itself will take care of deploying the website on multiple servers and distributing the traffic amongst them. It relieves you from the effort of purchasing, installing, configuring, and managing your own on-premises infrastructure.

Not just that, we can also train and deploy Machine learning models on the cloud. Lots of companies are using cloud computing for various tasks. For example, Using deep learning on AWS, Disney is building tools to automatically tag nearly a century’s worth of content with descriptive metadata to make the archiving process more efficient.

In this blog, we will be discussing various cloud platforms along with their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, we will also compare the cloud platforms on various parameters.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

[Source: AWS]

AWS Cloud is owned by Amazon. AWS is the most popular cloud service provider at present. It offers over 200 fully-featured services from data centers globally. It is more than any cloud provider. Millions of customers, startups, government agencies are using AWS since it helps them in lowering their costs and innovating faster.

AWS has a very large support community. So, you need not worry if you run into any issues. You must be thinking about how secured AWS cloud is? Well, It is the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available today. All the data you store on AWS can be easily encrypted. AWS has 81 Availability Zones within 25 geographic regions around the world.

Companies such as Netflix and Volkswagen use AWS.

Services Offered

  • EC2 – You can launch as many servers as you need. This is highly useful when the traffic on your website increases.
  • S3 – You can use Amazon S3 to store and retrieve any amount of data at any time, from anywhere.
  • DynamoDB – It is a Managed NoSQL Database. It allows users the benefit of auto-scaling, backup and restore options for all the internet-scale applications using DynamoDB.
  • Sagemaker – You can build, train and deploy Machine Learning at scale
  • EKS – It allows you to run Kubernetes on AWS.
  • and many more

Pricing

With AWS you pay only for the individual services you need, for as long as you use them, and without requiring long-term contracts or complex licensing. 

AWS also has a free tier that you can use for free for 1 year.

For Students, AWS offers a unique AWS Educate account too that students can use to learn AWS. You do not even need to provide the credit card details. You can register for an AWS Educate account here.

Microsoft Azure

[Source: Microsoft Azure]

Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform. It has more than 200 products and services. It is compatible with open-source technologies. This provides users with the flexibility to use their preferred tools and technologies.

Azure is a fast, flexible, and affordable cloud platform. There are currently 54 Azure regions available in 140 countries. Azure supports multiple programming languages, including Java, Node Js, and C#.

Companies such as BMW and Boeing are using Azure Cloud to meet their business goals.

Services Offered

  • Virtual Machine: It enables you to create a virtual machine in Windows, Linux or any other configuration in seconds.
  • Azure CDN: It is used for delivering content to users. It lets the users in any part of the globe to access your data very quickly. Customers don’t want to wait too long to access your services. That is why, delivering content quickly is the aim of every business.
  • Blob Storage: This service is optimized to store a massive amount of unstructured data, including text and even binary data. 
  • Azure DNS: This service allows you to host your DNS domains or system domains on Azure.
  • Azure DevOps: It allows teams to share code, track work and ship software.
  • and many more

Pricing

Microsoft offers three main ways to pay for Azure VMs and other cloud resources: pay as you go, reserved instances, and spot instances.

  • Pay-as-you-go: You can pay for services on Azure according to actual usage, billed per second, with no long-term commitment or upfront payments. This provides complete flexibility to increase or decrease resources as needed.
  • Reserved Instances: This pricing model is suitable for applications with stable ongoing usage, organizations who have a fixed budget, or large scale applications where a certain number of virtual machines are always in use.
  • Spot Instances: Spot instances can be interrupted on short notice, so they are considered to be suitable only for workloads that can tolerate disruptions. 

Azure also offers a free tier that lets companies use a variety of services free for 12 months. You can register for a free-tier account here.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

[Source: Google Cloud]

Google Cloud Platform, offered by Google, is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its end-user products, such as Google Search, Gmail, Google Drive, and YouTube. It is available in 29 regions, 88 zones, and 200+ countries.

It truly helps improve citizen services, increase the operational effectiveness of the company.

Companies such as Air Asia and Deloitte are using Google Cloud as their cloud platform.

Services Offered

  • Compute Engine: It lets you run virtual machines in Google’s Data center.
  • Cloud SQL: It is a relational database service for MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQL Server.
  • Apigee Integration: It is an API first integration that lets you connect existing data and applications.
  • Cloud Load Balancing: It is a service for distributing traffic across applications and regions.
  • Healthcare Natural Language AI: It is a unique service that helps you to extract real-time insights from unstructured medical text.
  • and many more

Pricing

With Google Cloud’s pay-as-you-go pricing structure, you only pay for the services you use. Google Cloud saves you money over other providers through automatic savings based on monthly usage and by pre-paying for resources at discounted rates. 

You can also control your spendings with budgets, alerts, quota limits.

It also offers a free-tier account with a usage limit on services. You can register for a free-tier account here.

IBM Cloud

[Source: IBM Cloud]

IBM Cloud offers the most open and secure public cloud for businesses. It has over 170 products and services covering data, containers, AI, IoT, and blockchain.

It has 60 data centers across 6 regions and 19 availability zones globally.

Companies such as American Airlines and Panasonic are using IBM Cloud.

Services Offered

  • Turbonomic: It is a software to automate application resource management and optimize costs.
  • Informix: It is a managed database for NoSQL and SQL data.
  • IBM Cloud Log Analysis: It is used for analyzing the dashboard for system and application logs.
  • Qiskit SDK: It is a Python SDK for open-source quantum development.
  • IBM Cloud Backup: It is a fully encrypted backup and recovery system across multiple datacenters.
  • and many more

Pricing

IBM Cloud has three pricing models.

  • Pay-as-you-go: Pay only for what you use with no long-term commitments.
  • Reserved Instances: It is a great option if you want guaranteed resources for future deployments and cost savings. You choose between either a 1 or 3-year contract term for your reserved capacity. 
  • Subscriptions and Commitments: You get platform-wide discounts while paying only for waht you use.

You can also choose the free-tier account of IBM cloud. Using this, you will have access to over 40 services, including IBM Watson APIs. Register for a free-tier account here.

Oracle Cloud

[Source: Oracle]

Oracle Cloud Platform is the cloud offering of Oracle corporation. It is really a next-generation cloud designed to run any application, faster and more securely. It offers more than 80 cloud infrastructure and platform services.

Oracle has 34 cloud regions available and 10 more planned by the end of 2022.

Toyota and Zoom are prime examples of companies using Oracle Cloud.

Services Offered

  • GPU-Accelerated Compute: It offers GPU-powered servers and VMs for high performance computing and AI.
  • Autonomous Linux: It lets you eliminate complexity and human error with automatic patch updates and tuning.
  • Digital Assistant: It lets you build AI-powered chatbots and conversational interfaces.
  • Data Integration: It helps you to easily extract, transform, and load (ETL) data for data science and analytics use cases.
  • Vault: It helps to centrally manage and maintain control of the encryption keys and secret credentials.
  • and many more

Pricing

With Oracle Cloud, only pay for resources consumed, with no hidden costs.

Oracle offers a Free Tier with no time limits on more than 20 services such as Autonomous Database, Arm Compute, and Storage, as well as US$300 in free credits to try additional cloud services. You can create a free-tier account here.

Conclusion

So, we discussed the best cloud platforms available in the market today. At present, AWS is the leading cloud provider though followed by Azure. Other cloud platforms are also picking up really fast.

But if you ask which is the best cloud amongst the ones discussed, then the answer would be “depends on your use case”. You need to precisely understand your organizational requirement. Cost is another factor you need to look upon.

Hope you got a good understanding from this blog.

Let us know through your comments if it was helpful for you.

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