Public Cloud is where services are offered by third-parties over the internet, and resources shared between thousands of customers.
It has the advantages of being scalable on a pay-per-minute basis – that spike of web traffic for 2 hours is totally possible with the public cloud and elastic (we don’t mean your waistline) computing. It can be deployed extremely fast (within minutes) for as short of a time period as an hour.
There are many players in the market, but two of the biggest are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. In recent years, we’ve also seen Google Cloud begin to gain market share.
So, how do they compare?
None of these players just offer compute power, they offer things like hugely scalable SQL databases, cost-effective long-term data storage, Workspaces and numerous other features. If you’re just after some “bare metal”, i.e.: some computer resource somewhere else, we’ve also worked with DigitalOcean.
Amazon Web Services
it’s the biggest of the main players and the most mature, but in our opinion, its cost structure can be a bit confusing, although it’s feature set is unrivalled. It’s not great for working in a hybrid mode however; it can be difficult to get it work with your onsite data centre.
it’s the most enterprisey (what a great word! :-)) of the lot. And in our view, it’s the natural choice, if the services you’re trying to provide are things like Active Directory (shared logins) for Windows computers. It’s good for working with your own data centre, but it’s networking support can be needlessly complex at times. In the non-profit sector, Microsoft give $5000 of Azure credits each year to most Registered Charities, meaning instead of a server paid for, it often becomes free.
it’s the underdog of the three perhaps because it was late to the market, and in our view, it doesn’t have the range of features of the other two. But if you’re on G Suite for your productivity and other tools, it’s can be a good natural fit for your needs.
in New York, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, Frankfurt, Toronto and Bangalore and of course London. DigitalOcean provide very little in the way of extra features beyond the “bare metal box”, but with the others, it’s sometimes hard to know where you data is physically located – if you’re committed to keeping data in the UK and DO’s function set is what you need, they are really cost effective.