2019’s Best Cloud Computing & Storage Options
According to Forbes, the cloud computing industry will reach $162 billion in value by 2020. This record growth is thanks to increased numbers of businesses transferring their IT infrastructure to cloud computing services like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.
What is Cloud Computing?
When everyday consumers think of the cloud, they think of consumer data storage services like Google Drive. However, the consumer cloud storage market is only valued at $30.8 billion. The remainder of the market is made up of enterprise-ready services explicitly tailored to the needs of business and industry.
Why are Businesses Choosing Cloud Computing?
Starting any business in 2019 requires extensive investment in costly IT infrastructure. However, cloud computing services like Amazon AWS, allow enterprises to transfer most of their IT infrastructure needs to the cloud. This provides several immediate and ongoing benefits.
l Cloud computing eliminates the need to invest in physical IT infrastructure and ongoing maintenance
l Data is stored more securely, can be accessed anywhere, and is easy to recover
l As business demands increase, computing resources can be easily scaled to whatever capacity is required
At present 74% of businesses cite moving to the cloud as having a positive impact on profits and everyday operations. The only question is, what are the best platforms to consider using?
Amazon Web Services is considered the go-to option for businesses moving to the cloud. Made up of several interconnected web services, Amazon AWS provides cloud computing solutions for almost every business niche. From graphic intensive game development to management of large scale logistical operations, AWS is also (arguably) the easiest cloud service to get started using.
l AWS offers serverless cloud services where all virtual server configuration, security, and maintenance, is taken care of by Amazon
l Several secure data storage and pricing options are available, each of which can be easily scaled/upgraded as businesses grow in size
l AWS offers an extensive software library
Most software on the AWS marketplace can be installed in a single click. Using Amazon Mobile Hub, users can also access data and hosted services from any location on a variety of devices.
Microsoft Azure is a newer cloud computing Platform as a Service (PaaS), designed to rival Amazon AWS. For this reason, service offerings are very similar. Microsoft Azure can supplement or completely replace most enterprises physical IT infrastructure. Where Azure differs mainly concerns speed and software support.
At present, Microsoft Azure is growing faster than AWS. This is predominantly thanks to faster PaaS capabilities and what some argue is a more competitive pay-as-you-go pricing structure. Sadly, while Microsoft applications are readily available on Azure, support for Linux and opensource software is lacking. This gives AWS an overall edge as far as deployable applications are concerned.
IBM Cloud Services
IBM’s cloud computing platform initially launched as IBM Blemix, before rebranding to IBM Softlayer, and more latterly IBM Cloud. Like AWS and Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud offers virtual servers which can be configured to provide a variety of PaaS and IaaS services. However, IBM also allows users to rent physical server rack space.
IBM refers to its physical server offerings as ‘Bare Metal.’ The advantage of IBM's Bare Metal servers rests with the fact that servers can be custom configured to precise business specifications. Moreover, IBM also offers a dedicated business consultancy service. In doing so, IBM can actively help businesses transition from using legacy infrastructure to IBM's IaaS and PaaS platform.
Other Cloud Services
IBM, AWS, and Microsoft Azure are the current cloud computing industry’s frontrunners. However, Google, Alibaba, Oracle, and other tech brands also offer IaaS and PaaS services. Many also offer incentives to new customers. However, each should be researched in depth before businesses commit to any one provider.