If you have made it this far, you deserve plaudits. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the different services offered and the different parameters that ultimately help you make the wisest cloud service choice. If you are here and you don't know what I'm talking about, you can brush up the basics of the comparison of the top cloud vendors here.

The services offered:

Compute: In simple terms, Compute refers to the applications that require a great deal of computation. A sufficient amount of resources are requires to handle these computation demands in efficient fashion. So, Compute is the processing power that the cloud services offer. The greater the processing power, the better. Small scale businesses and startups benefit from this because they can simply order compute power whenever they want without having to worry about installation and maintenance.

  • AWS : Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) handles all compute services. Manages virtual machines.
  • GCP : Google Cloud Engine (GCE) is the EC2 equivalent offered by Google. Provides identical services as its counterparts.
  • Azure : Virtual Machines and scale sets are provided by Microsoft to handle computations.
  • Alibaba : Elastic Compute Service (ECS) offers elastic and secure virtual servers to handle all cloud hosting needs.

Storage: Cloud storage is another important specification in the cloud computing model in which data is stored on remote servers. These remote servers are accessed from the Internet or 'the cloud'. Storage servers, which are built using virtualization techniques, are made use of by the service providers to manage, maintain and operate cloud storage facilities. Note that cloud storage is completely different from the normal disk drive storage devices in our computers. Problem solving capability must be present along with the ability to ensure reliable data storage without any risk of data loss/theft.

  • AWS : Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) Amazon S3 is object storage built to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere – web sites and mobile apps, corporate applications, etc.
  • GCP : Not as extensive as S3, google's Google Cloud Storage is a legitimate option for people who wish to have reliable services.
  • Azure : Microsoft Azure Storage offers similar services as the above stated services.
  • Alibaba : OSS (Object Storage Service) is an encrypted and secure cloud storage service which stores, processes and accesses massive amounts of data from anywhere in the world

Database: A cloud database is a database that typically runs on a cloud computing platform and access to it is provided as a service. Most database services offer web-based consoles, which the end user can use to provision and configure database instances. Using a Cloud DB eliminates the need for a physical infrastructure. It also results in significant cost savings.

  • AWS : RDS (Relational Database Service) provides support for major databases including Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc.
  • GCP : Cloud SQL offers SQL database handling features for Google Cloud.
  • Azure : Azure SQL offers SQL database handling features for Azure Cloud.
  • Alibaba : ApsaraDB is an on-demand database service that frees you up from the administrative task of managing a database, and offers support for MySQL, SQLServer and PostgreSQL.

AZURE vs AWS vs Google Cloud vs Alibaba : Reliability

Cloud reliability is not limited to platform performance alone. It also takes into account the vendor's ability to fulfill the commitments and other promises made. Almost all cloud vendors claim 99.999 uptime (popularly known as the five nines reliability cloud). According to a study conducted in 2014, a considerable amount of vendors achieved this goal and AWS came closest among the big guns. Fewer service interruptions were experienced by users of AWS than by users of Google cloud or by users of Microsoft Azure. Performance outcomes suggest the fact that cloud vendors are becoming more and more proficient at scaling their resources while also maintaining high reliability and performance. With these in mind, let us have a look at the major cloud outrages in 2018 to get a deeper idea about the reliability of the different providers.

A database glitch in GCP affected several high-profile Google cloud users on Feb. 15. This perturbed popular services like Google mySQL database and Google Datastore. Consumers experienced errors and latency for about an hour. Snapchat is an example for an application impacted by this outrage.

Storage and networking disruptions were caused as a result of a heat wave in Europe that culminated in many Azure users losing access to their data for many hours in June. Many North European businesses were particularly affected by this outrage.

A pervasive AWS outrage in March lead to the malfunctioning of the popular home assistant, Alexa for many users over the world. This also lead to choppy internet services like Slack. Amazon blamed this on the storm Nor'easter.

Also, Alibaba is no stranger to outrages, having experienced 2 outrages this month alone according to cloudharmony.com.

In conclusion, AWS has both the highest uptime and the least service interruptions & outrages over the past few years in comparison to others like Alibaba and Azure. So, if you are someone who prefers to have reliability of the highest order, then Amazon is probably the vendor for you.

AZURE vs AWS vs Google Cloud vs Alibaba : Ease of use

Ease of use is another valid factor that cannot be discounted when making the choice as to which cloud service suits you the best. Amazon Web Services' EC2 facility is relatively easy to use not only of its simplicity but also because it has preconfigured settings, sparing the user a lot of time. The VMs provided by Google cloud and Azure does not even come close to competing with AWS in terms of capacity, flexibility and ease of use although efforts have been made in improving the features provided. Similarly, when we consider the storage facilities, Amazon's S3 ( Simple Storage Service - with *heavy emphasis* on the 'Simple') is considered to be the best and to be head & shoulders above Microsoft Azure Storage and Google Cloud Storage respectively. However, S3 has the caveat of high cost, but if you want high reliability and if you value ease of use to be a significant factor, then the better solution for you would be to go with AWS. With respect to databases, Microsoft Azure's SQL database is the easiest to use for obvious reasons. AWS offers more DbaaS (Database as a Service) features but along with it comes along a considerable amount of complexity. GCP is a perfect middle ground that is not as simple as Azure nor as complex as AWS - providing the best services for novices.  

Documentation is another extremely important consideration that has to be made whenever one thinks about the ease of use of Cloud services. AWS offers the best documentation, followed closely by Azure and GCP. AWS documentation is built thanks to its age and contribution from multiple people over a decade. Multiple tutorials are available in each of the respective websites but Amazon takes the cake in this respect primarily because of the years and years of experience that it has over the other competitors.