The success of your web or mobile application relies in part on the cloud framework you choose as the foundation for your development project. The market leaders in cloud computing services are the so-called “Big Three:” Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft’s Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
While there are several smaller, niche cloud services, these three dominate the field and offer diverse infrastructure, computing, and application-deployment tools that can be assets to organizations of all sizes. As a result, it can be challenging to differentiate between these options when comparing cloud providers for application development; this is why many organizations prefer to work directly with their app development partners or with cloud consulting services to zero in on a framework.
Yet each cloud service has distinguishing characteristics and its own pros and cons. When assessing cloud frameworks, remember that the right option will depend heavily on the nature and needs of your application and business.
Key Cloud Framework Considerations
There is seemingly no end to the facets of a cloud service’s options and capabilities. But, as leading cloud consultants know, there are a few factors that shine brightly when evaluating cloud framework criteria:
Is the cloud framework scalable? Will the architecture and service roadmap support your immediate and future needs? What is the cost of scaling up?
Will the provider’s technology integrate with existing technology? And does it need to? If a hybrid cloud model is required, what needs to be done to achieve compatibility?
These are essential questions to ask, as their answers have far-reaching effects regarding development, longevity, and cost. Ideally, you want a cloud solution that integrates with current technologies and offers growth potential.
Architecture is closely linked to container support, which AWS, Azure, and GCP each provide. However, the scope of this support varies by provider.
For instance, Microsoft Azure provides a fully managed platform known as Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Google Cloud Platform also offers a comprehensive container orchestration platform, which is appropriate as Google developed the now open-source Kubernetes.
The AWS container-support solution, known as Amazon Elastic Container Services (ECS), can support Kubernetes and Docker. The AWS platform also provides a serverless computing solution known as AWS Lambda; Azure and GCP similarly offer serverless computing.
Regions and Availability Zones
Availability zones are the geographic locations within a data-center region served by a cloud service, and they influence asset performance in those areas. Each of the Big Three offers ample coverage, though they differ in availability zone and regional totals.
Azure currently offers the broadest coverage with three availability zones in each of its 60-plus regions, as well as more than 100 edge locations. Google Cloud has 82 total availability zones across 27 regions with more than 140 edge locations. Amazon Web Services maintains 81 availability zones across 25 regions and more than 215 edge locations.
One area in which there is significant variation among the Big Three cloud framework providers is the pricing structure.
The costs of cloud services fluctuate dramatically based on individual factors such as monthly or hourly usage, total individual services, and other project demands. For example, AWS pricing is based in part on the number of hours used with volume discounts for some services.
GCP bills per second, but also have so-called “sustained-use” and “committed-use” pricing for computing services. Azure bills on-demand customers by the hour or gigabyte, or per millions of executions, depending on the service product.
To get an accurate, up-to-date expense estimate, you must determine the project scope and carefully review the level of cloud services necessary to achieve your goals. The ability to provide consistent pricing and monitor for changes that may affect pricing are additional reasons why many organizations rely directly on their app development partners or cloud technology solution companies to manage their cloud frameworks.
Security, Certifications, and Standards
Each of the Big Three cloud providers holds numerous accreditations and certifications that demonstrate their commitment to industry best practices related to structured processes, data management, and security.
These certifications, for example, include accreditation for information-security management established by the International Organization for Standardization (IOS). IOS maintains several standards for information security management systems alone, and many cloud providers hold IOS certifications. Many firms that offer cloud computing services and cloud consulting services will likewise hold IOS and other credentials.
AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud: The Pros and Cons
The good news is that AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are all excellent cloud frameworks for app development. The bad news is that this can make choosing difficult.
Some application and software developers also offer cloud services and cloud IT consulting. This helps ensure their clients have a suitable framework for their needs.
The Big Three share similarities in their architectures, tools, and services. But there are a few potential advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind based on your development requirements:
Amazon Web Services
AWS is the current leader among cloud solutions, and it offers a spectrum of services and developer tools. Clients further enjoy limitless server capacity and broad scalability.
However, AWS is focused on public cloud solutions. If your organization needs a hybrid model or a cloud framework that integrates with an existing data center, a different platform may prove a more effective option.
Azure may be a natural extension of existing enterprise technology if your organization currently employs Microsoft solutions. Azure may also be an ideal choice if you need a hybrid cloud or a framework that will integrate with an existing data center.
Azure’s AI gives developers the freedom to create, test and deploy algorithms. Azure also supports Linux and container architectures.
Google Cloud Platform
GCP’s strengths reside in its machine-learning and AI tools. It can also be an optimal choice for organizations that work with open-source projects.
Google’s Kubernetes framework is the foundation for many container environments. This makes GCP suitable for containerized application development.
Is There a ‘Best’ Cloud Framework Provider?
The cloud provider market is crowded and highly competitive. While the Big Three continue to lead and innovate, other providers are also thriving thanks to specialized service suites engineered to meet the needs of particular industries.
As such, no cloud provider can objectively be called the “best.” The right cloud framework for your application must be determined by the project demands and goals with consideration of budget and current technology infrastructure.
This is why many organizations find it advantageous to collaborate with a full-cycle application development partner. An elite software developer will have expertise with the latest cloud computing frameworks, including AWS, Azure, and GCP, and provide end-to-end application development, testing, and deployment.
An experienced developer with working knowledge of the primary cloud computing platforms can also serve as something of a cloud consultant. They can guide you to the most effective cloud framework for your needs and budget.
InApp provides comprehensive software development for clients worldwide, including SaaS and software vendors.
Our services include custom software development, mobile app development, cloud computing, DevOps, big-data services, and AR/VR solutions. We offer GCP, Azure, and AWS consulting to make sure our partners are backed by the best cloud computing services for their needs. Get in touch with InApp to discuss which framework is right for your next project. We’d love to learn more about your requirements and provide a free estimate for building your application.