With the foreseeable future being so strongly influenced by technological changes in the arena of cloud computing, it is important for any entrepreneur doing business online to have a solid appraisal of the landscape. Even if you are not the tech specialist of your business, knowing how each of the major cloud computing companies functions and measures up can be vital to your profitability and success online. Building your sites, mobile apps, and support in the cloud can ensure persistent presence, allowing customers around the globe to keep connected with your company and the products you offer; however, without careful planning, costs can skyrocket. The cloud is vital to business, but it must be used intelligently. After all, smarter technology is only as smart as the structures set up behind it.
Originally launched in 2010, Microsoft Azure has become one of the powerhouses of the cloud computing world. Offering flexibility in pricing and in structure, Azure allows companies to bring the programming languages, frameworks, and applications they already use to the cloud for easy conversion into a cloud service or cloud-hosted application.
One of Azure’s biggest strengths is its ability to dynamically balance in response to changes in user load. What this means for many companies is that instead of paying for bandwidth that they do not need under traditional hosting plans, they can have Azure instantaneously shrink or grow the amount of cloud resources being used. With dynamic load balancing, a company can pay less for downtime without risking not having enough bandwidth for an unexpected surge of visitors or users. As an example of this, an eCommerce company could save money during slower hours and days without risking their site crashing because of a successful ad campaign bringing in greater numbers of interested shoppers than they would have predicted.
Additionally, Azure can be used for the distribution and development of companies’ mobile apps. With the rising popularity of devoted mobile apps, Azure’s mobile-friendliness can be a major boon for companies who choose it for their cloud platform.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
One of the oldest major cloud services around, AWS launched in 2002. At launch, AWS was a very limited service, but that quickly changed. Now, AWS is a multi-billion-dollar product with a slew of useful tools made available to users, with a specific focus on companies who need processing power but don’t want to build the expensive infrastructure themselves.
Notably, Amazon Web Services provides specialized tools like Amazon Cognito, which helps companies build reliable and safe logins and sign-up tools for their mobile apps. They also offer more niche solutions like Amazon Glacier, an incredibly low-priced storage system that allows companies to store huge amounts of data for fractions of the cost of other storage solutions, provided they’re willing to wait between 3-5 hours to access the data. For companies with large amounts of low-urgency data, Glacier can change archival costs from dollars per gigabyte to fractions of a cent.
Amazon Web Services is famously the home of popular video-streaming app Netflix as well as a number of major government services and specialty programs. Because of the number of high-profile customers using the AWS platform, AWS has built up a reputation of remarkable service quality and uptime, though they did suffer a major outage in early 2017 which affected many popular sites. Despite this outage, AWS has proven itself to be a stable system, even with consideration that their base prices can be higher than other services.
Google Cloud Platform
Google’s Cloud Platform had the most graduated introduction to the market of all the cloud services. Starting in 2008, Google added numerous services to the platform over the years, including their Cloud Storage product in 2010. Google boasts that their Cloud Platform is used as the basis for both Google Search and YouTube, both of which are high-availability and in extremely high-demand.
With the original product on the Google Cloud Platform being the Google App Engine, the platform is predictably geared towards app distribution and management. Despite an app-focused past, the Google Cloud Platform now serves numerous purposes, and many companies find it a perfect solution for their cloud storage, analytics, and even hosting needs.
The future is in the cloud. The modern demands of computing mean that setting up and managing your own hardware is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. The cloud eliminates all of the problems associated with building and maintaining your own hardware for the hosting and development of your website and apps. In the end, for most companies, the matter simply boils down to which company offers the best price for the products they need access to. If your company is planning to develop and distribute a first-party app, Google or Amazon might be the best fit. If your company is hoping to manage international traffic with unpredictable user loads, Azure might be the best fit. Understanding the basics of the cloud equips you to begin your company on the right path to an ideal solution.
If you’d like to learn more, we can help. The Nixa.ca team is comprised of experts on all manner of tools in the web development world, cloud services included. We can help you come to a decision about migrating your site to the cloud, future-proofing your brand for years to come.