AWS as Cloud provider
As Gartner explains, Amazon has the most mature serverless offer and serves the greatest diversity of customers.
“AWS is the most mature, enterprise-ready provider, with the strongest track record of customer success and the most useful partner ecosystem,” Gartner states. “Thus, it is the provider chosen by not only customers that value innovation and that are implementing digital business projects, but also preferred by customers that are migrating traditional data centers to cloud IaaS.”
Though there are a few words of caution about AWS with regards to pricing, focus, and the other activities of parent company Amazon impacting whether or not a client would want to deploy on their serverless infrastructure (Amazon.com competitor WalMart, for example) the industry view on AWS is overwhelmingly positive.
Microsoft finds itself well behind AWS, according to Gartner, but it is still well ahead of Google and the other niche actors (Alibaba, Oracle, and IBM). Significantly, for Gartner one of the core strengths of the Azure offer is their capacity to serve the IoT market.
“Azure provides a well-integrated approach to edge computing and Internet of Things (IoT), with offerings that reach from its hyperscale data center out through edge solutions such as Azure Stack and Data Box Edge,” Gartner explains, adding that “Microsoft Azure’s capabilities have become increasingly innovative and open, where 50% of the workloads are Linux-based along with numerous open-source application stacks.”
All of this means that, for smart, connected, and networked IoT devices, Azure as a Cloud provider could be a good choice, and perhaps even a superior one to the AWS offer.
However, there are two caveats: first, as Azure is still growing there are occasionally stability and downtime issues that AWS does not seem to suffer, and second, the level of technical support for development teams is not always the best.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
As the third member of the industry’s big three serverless offers, Google Cloud Platform is a leader thanks to its scale, but no thanks to its performance. Gartner explains that the company has “an immaturity of process and procedures” and is “difficult to transact with at times”. What’s more, they note that the limited number and expertise of partners doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence among some enterprise customers, though they also note that GCP is often a preferred choice for startups and scaleups.
On the bright side, Google seems to have containers right: “Google has leveraged its internal innovative technology capabilities (e.g., automation, containers, networking) by providing a scalable IaaS offering with PaaS capabilities, centered on open-source ecosystems,” Gartner writes. They note that Google has “differentiated technologies on the forward edge of IT, specifically in analytics and machine learning” and that this has encouraged machine learning and AI-focused firms to shift to Google in some cases.
For Gartner and, to be sure, for most in industry, the leadership of AWS as Cloud provider is undisputed. The market backs this up, too, because despite the rise of Azure and the advances made by Google, Amazon remains in front – and by a long way.
It’s investment in serverless technology and, indeed, its entire cloud platform has paid huge dividends for Amazon, and the market has rewarded that. A wide partnership network, developers and engineers that have got used to deploying on AWS serverless infrastructure as standard operating procedure, and an infrastructure that is reliable and robust have helped establish and maintain Amazon’s lead.
But as the Gartner analysts note, there are some areas where Microsoft and Google are making inroads. Azure’s appeal for IoT networks is clear and its edge computing offering is attracting eyeballs and dollars. Google’s experience in processing their own big data has helped them establish some leadership for anything related to Big Query, even if their enterprise offer remains weaker than its rivals.
For industry analysts, it’s 1-2-3, Amazon, Microsoft, Google market – but I’m a little less bullish on AWS.
Let me explain why.