Cost is often the biggest factor in the minds of business leaders when it comes to picking a cloud hosting platform provider. But is it right to focus so heavily on price when value for your business needs is clearly the primary focus? For anyone looking to choose from the ‘big three’ cloud hosting platforms, it comes as no surprise that Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are the dominant horses in this race.
The largest technology companies on Earth are locked in a battle for supremacy that’s forcing down prices for cloud computing. And this tussle has ushered in an age where businesses of all sizes can get access to top-tier, cloud-based services. Now major and minor players alike are free from the expense and practical difficulties of running their sites and apps. Moreover – on their own hosting infrastructure.
Cloud Hosting Platforms
A cloud hosting platform has become an essential part of the modern business landscape. Because it’s so convenient and scalable, it quickly became indispensable for businesses that rely on moving and storing huge amounts of data. Think streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. These services don’t want to be responsible for the huge time and money investment it takes to manage a hosting platform of their own.
But the scalability of a cloud hosting service means that even small businesses can benefit. Gone are the days where small-scale enterprises need to invest in their own always-on boxes that eat power and create heat. So, let’s take a look at the 3 biggest platforms:
Amazon Web Services
Going strong since 2006, Amazon was one of the first hosting platform providers to venture into the cloud market with AWS. As you might expect from such a huge, global company, they offer a wide range of computing services, including deployment and mobile networking.
Google Cloud Platform
Google came to market in 2011. But despite being late to the game, they’ve established a considerable market presence. They to be self-sufficient in managing YouTube and Google search, hence the impetus at the start. But thanks to Google’s investment and the experience gained, the platform side of the business naturally evolved to the point where they felt confident enough to provide enterprise services to other businesses.
Started in 2010 and has quickly established itself as another top cloud services provider.
Distinguishing between cloud hosting platforms
Each of these services is a little different from the others, so let’s take a look at the parameters we need to differentiate them.
Computing power of cloud hosting platforms
Compute is the amount of processing horsepower that a customer can have at their disposal, on any chosen cloud hosting platform. Generally, the more computing cores on hand to crunch through a task, the better. But obviously, any extra power comes at an extra cost. This is ideal for companies with fluctuating requirements because they only need to pay for what they use. It’s also great for startups because it frees them from the need to invest in hardware and pay for maintenance and running costs.
AWS calls its compute services EC2(Elastic Compute Cloud). Its virtual machines come with preconfigured settings for ease-of-use. But you can also customize if you know what you’re doing. GCP calls it service GCE (Google Compute Engine), while Microsoft Azure named its service Virtual Machines and Virtual Machine Scale Sets.
All three cloud hosting services support containers, which are portable and easy to manage. Amazon’s EC2 Container Service(ECS), Google’s Container Engine and Azure’s container service let you manage instances more quickly. It’s also easy to add more stats to them or move them to new locations.
On paper, all three services look similar, so it makes sense to try and separate them by price and user experience. Take a look at RightScale for a cloud-cost analysis based on compute power.
Cloud Platforms and storage
The logistics of managing cloud storage on a cloud hosting platform without losing a single bit of data are complex, and even bewildering. Especially compared to what goes on inside a normal home computer. All our cloud hosting providers had to solve some very challenging problems, and all three excel. However, Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) edges ahead of the rest. Its documentation is extensive, it offers full community support. Above all, it’s a solution that has stood the test of time.
You’ll find that all three are reliable and perfectly adequate. But you need to be prepared to pay for what can be an increasingly pricey investment. The more storage space you need, the higher the costs.
As surprising as it sounds, your location can affect the cost of the cloud services you receive. Cloud services are built on massive data centres distributed around the world’s regions. So customers in the US have to pay more. Because building centres where land and local taxes are more expensive is going to have a knock-on effect on final cost.
Amazon has a physical presence in 42 zones, Azure 32, and GCP 33. Although as you read this, the numbers may have shifted as new centres prop up all the time.
Databases and Cloud Platforms
Handling a database is an ideal use for a cloud hosting platform, but we advise you to check your chosen provider’s data policies plus terms and conditions before you commit.
Different vendors provide database images to help end-users get started quickly. Google lacks this option, but with Azure and AWS, you get multiple options for this. Amazon’s RDS (Relational Database Service) supports major databases such as Oracle, PostgreSQL and others. You can automatically manage your updating and patching. And you can also find solutions to frequent database problems.
You’ll find offerings for database-handling features for Azure and GCP Azure SQL database on Cloud SQL and SQL respectively. Along with powerful database choices like Aurora for AWS and DocumentDB for Azure. These are just a fraction of the many tools and services offered by these major cloud service providers.
Plesk Onyx on Cloud Hosting Platforms
It’s no easy job to compare cloud hosting platform providers and their services, particularly for beginners. If you find yourself ready to invest but are feeling confused about which service to opt for, then it might help you to seek guidance from a professional adviser. There are plenty of cloud professionals out there that can guide you towards a right solution.
Managing cloud services is made easier by automation software such as Plesk. It works with Linux and Windows-based hosting service providers to give server administrators a much simpler route to manage and administrate websites and virtual machines. It automates a wide variety of tasks and integrates with top cloud platforms. So the end-user can harness their power more easily.
Now, which Cloud will cover you?
If you’re running applications that depend on the Microsoft ecosystem’s languages and products, Azure is going to be your platform of choice. Amazon AWS and Google Cloud Platform can be considered equally powerful and both will meet your needs most of the time. Although, now that you have an idea about each platform – your real requirements may vary depending on your tasks. That’s why you should always test the hosting platform service you intend to use before you commit. This will save you a lot of time and expense in the long term.