The list of top cloud services hasn’t changed much in the last year. Industry experts don’t all agree who the top provider is, but there is agreement that Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Amazon Web Services are three of the top providers. However, IBM has challenged the status quo with its hybrid cloud/hardware services.

In addition, artificial intelligence and machine learning strategies are going to impact the future of cloud services. Businesses everywhere now need the ability to analyze data on a level beyond our current capacity to process. The providers who manage to develop systems with that capability will reshape the cloud services picture. However, no one knows who that will be.

In the meantime, businesses must determine which of the top providers best meets their cloud service needs today. So, the logical thing to do is to evaluate which of the providers delivers the level of services required now at a price that’s affordable.

Trends and Issues to Watch

The use of cloud computing is increasing dramatically, which means companies are spending more for services all the time. That suggests it’s important to make sure the money is well spent, and a company’s overall budget isn’t compromised. There are several factors to consider when exploring cloud services.

  • Overall pricing is, and must continue to be, a primary factor when deciding which cloud services to utilize. Base prices typically appear affordable, but there are almost always add-ons that increase base fees. Don’t overspend for add-ons that don’t provide benefits you need.
  • Consider using multiple vendors. While it’s generally convenient to deal with only one vendor when obtaining cloud services, there are times when it may be more practical to consider using a strategy that blends the best offerings of different providers.
  • License or subscription? In the past, cloud services charged a subscription fee and based additional fees on usage levels. That’s all changing as providers move to blending license and subscription models. That’s not always a benefit for companies using those services, so take the time to evaluate your needs and how the new service models will impact your overall costs.
  • As mentioned earlier, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies is already altering the way cloud services are provided. The increased capabilities are expected to alter the computing landscape significantly, but those capabilities also come with a cost. If your organization needs powerful analytics, you’re bound to appreciate those services. However, don’t pay for services you don’t need.

Another factor to consider is how cloud services bill for their services. The current trend is to bundle services rather than itemizing the various costs of cloud computing. That makes it hard to understand what fees are assessed for individual services. 

Industry experts encourage companies to learn how various fees are calculated. Fees for services become increasingly complex when the expense of data transfers and required IP addresses are factored in. Every type of service is likely to include hidden costs that aren’t always made clear upfront. 

Compare the Top Cloud Services Before Making a Decision

It’s now quite easy for users to sign up for cloud services. Some experts argue it’s almost too easy, and that tends to keep users from carefully exploring all their options first. Moving too fast at this stage can easily lead to frustrations later if the wrong provider is selected. 

There are only a few major players, so it shouldn’t take long to review your options before signing up for a cloud service. While some business owners are looking for data storage, others have far more complex needs. Right now there are five major providers providing cloud services, and there are pros and cons associated with each one.

1. Amazon Web Services

One of the oldest services is still at the top of its game. AWS is certainly one of the top cloud service providers, and that’s simply because of the service’s flexibility. With a range of services for virtually any size business, AWS has consistently rated at or near the top of industry ratings. 

The service offers both IaaS and PaaS services including Relational Data Service (RDS), Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2), Elastic Beanstalk, and Simple Storage Service (S3). That simply means clients can easily choose features that meet their business needs without overspending in the process.

Clients have various payment models that clients can choose from to better keep their budgets under control. Contact Business Cloud Deals directly for pricing and payment plan details.

Of course, there are always downsides. In the case of AWS, some clients have reported support issues. That’s not common but tends to be disconcerting if you need immediate assistance and the provider isn’t quick to respond.

2. Google Cloud 

The Google Cloud Platform allows users to tailor business solutions to meet their needs without a lot of fuss. The platform is user friendly and provides a variety of tools to boost productivity. Both PaaS and IaaS solutions are available.

Users’ preferring tools like Compute Engine, App Engine, and Container Engine will love Google Cloud Platform. As with most providers, Google is moving toward the use of virtual machines to better serve clients. 

Security is always an issue, and Google may have the advantage here, as their security infrastructure is second to none in the industry. In an era when cybersecurity is always an issue, this is a factor that should concern everyone.

Again, the costs depend on the types of services selected, so take the time to consider all costs when comparing cloud services. Google’s draw here may be their free 12-month trial. Check it out.

Yes, there are downsides to Google as well as advantages. The most commonly mentioned issue is with initial setups. However, customer support has always been prompt with Google, which suggests any setup issues should be resolvable rather quickly.

3. Microsoft Azure

Released in 2010, Azure has been around long enough to establish its reputation among users everywhere. Again, Azure offers users a wide array of benefits that make it easy to combine virtually any applications and types of infrastructures. 

One of the advantages of Azure is its compatibility with Linux. Although not a huge issue with most users, the ability to integrate Linux is a big plus for some organizations. When you’re exploring your options, consider where you’re heading in the future as well as your current needs. The added flexibility provided by being able to use Linux may be important in the coming months or years.

One downside frequently cited with Microsoft Azure is its cost when compared to competitors. However, the overall cost will vary significantly depending on the options selected. Compare the costs for the services you need rather than relying on industry averages. 

4. Oracle Cloud

While number four on the list here, there are users who will definitely feel the benefits of Oracle Cloud make it a number one contender for meeting their needs. That’s especially true if a company relies heavily on data management. 

Oracle’s service also fits nicely with organizations depending on AI and machine learning capabilities. Since that’s the direction cloud services appear to be heading, Oracle Cloud is certainly on top of that trend. 

The major disadvantage of Oracle Cloud is that it’s primarily for larger organizations. The service really doesn’t offer a good solution for small-to-medium size businesses. 

5. IBM Cloud

Last on the list is IBM Cloud. As noted earlier, IBM is challenging the status quo by providing hybrid services that include hardware servers as well as cloud-based services. That’s a big advantage to clients who have complicated needs that include components they prefer to keep on-site rather than being cloud based. 

The level of customization IBM is providing appears to be greater than its competitors, which suggests those competitors will be watching IBM’s venture closely to determine if the structure would benefit their organizations as well. 

IBM Cloud has what they refer to as a “lite” service tier that’s probably better suited to average users and makes it easy to control expenses. Users will pay only for the services used. Visit their site to use their cost estimator to determine if IBM should be cloud service provider.

The only downside mentioned in recent publications is a slight delay when loading pages. However, that’s generally an issue the providers can deal with once they learn a problem exists.

Choosing Your Cloud Service Provider

The pros and cons mentioned here are important to consider, but it may still be difficult to select the best provider for your company’s cloud service needs. That’s why it’s a good idea to discuss your enterprise cloud solution needs with an industry expert. 

As a first step, get in touch with professionals like those from Business Cloud Deals to analyze your real needs. That will make it far simpler to determine which cloud service to choose. Remember, the process should include discussing your current needs, but it’s also vitally important to ensure the service selected is capable of meeting your objectives for the future as well.

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