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Survey Contrasts User Types for AWS, Google and Azure Clouds

A brand-new survey from ratings and reviews firm Clutch investigates the different types of users for the top three cloud providers, finding larger enterprises prefer Microsoft Azure while smaller businesses favor Google Cloud Platform.

Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), which dwarfs Azure and GCP in overall usage, is more attractive to users who value IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) offerings.

These conclusions were derived from a survey of 247 organizations, of which nearly equal numbers identified themselves with one of the "big three" cloud providers. Clutch acknowledged these similar sample representations don't reflect overall market share numbers -- where AWS is the clear leader -- but do allow for a more even examination of user opinions.

Key findings of the report as identified by Clutch include:

  • The largest percentage of Azure users was enterprises, while the largest percentage of GCP users was small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
  • Organizations listed "better selection of tools/features" as their top reason for selecting their primary provider. "Stronger security" and "familiarity with brand" tied for second place.
  • The most used services in the sample population are: CloudWatch for AWS, Cloud Services for Azure and Cloud Datalab/Cloud Storage for GCP.
  • 41 percent of respondents who said AWS is their primary provider also use GCP -- the highest combination of two providers.

AWS-specific findings, meanwhile, include:

  • AWS ranks lowest on brand familiarity, despite being the oldest provider -- it ranks at 15 percent, while Azure ranks at 24 percent and GCP at 20 percent. AWS was launched in 2006, while Azure and GCP didn't launch for another four and five more years, respectively.
  • The most respondents said that they selected AWS because it was "cheaper," yet many agree that it isn't the cheapest overall. Accounting for its plethora of features, it may be the best bang for your buck, though.

"There will always be strong opinions regarding AWS, GCP and Azure," Clutch said. "Just as a sports fan will feel diehard passion for a team -- despite their flaws -- cloud aficionados often have a pull towards a particular provider based on experience or simple brand loyalty."

Clutch also provided commentary from corporate cloud users.

Brian Dearman, a solutions architect at Mindsight, was quoted as summing up the findings thusly: "Infrastructure-as-a-service will reside mainly on AWS, cloud services will be on Microsoft's side, while Google will dominate analytics. Even though every platform offers each type of service, people will want the best."

However, Dave Hickman, vice president of Global Delivery at Menlo Technologies, indicated that the providers' strengths are more fluid: "If you do this survey in another 6 months, you will probably get different answers, because there's some leapfrogging going on.

"The answers will be more on-par three years from now, for the same survey ... Google is trying to catch up [to AWS] from an infrastructure point of view, while Azure definitely is catching up."

Clutch, while noting it would be prudent for prospective cloud users to themselves compare the various options of the providers, offered the following advice:

  • If you are an enterprise, require Windows integration, or seek a strong PaaS (platform-as-a-service) provider, consider Microsoft Azure.
  • If you want heavy emphasis on analytics or are an SMB with a limited budget, look into Google Cloud Platform.
  • If a service's longevity, IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) offerings, and wide selection of tools are important to you, Amazon Web Services may be your best option.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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