July 24, 2018
Amazon Web Services better known as AWS is a diverse set of global computing, data storage, analytics, application, and deployment services managed by Amazon. Much like Microsoft Azure, companies use AWS cloud services to reduce IT costs, increase data flexibility, and catalyze digital transformation efforts.
In a previous post, we explored some of the advantages of Microsoft Azure, the world’s most popular cloud computing service provider. In this post we will take a deep dive and discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of Amazon Web Services, the world’s second most widely used cloud service provider.
Pro: Eliminating Capacity Constraints & Mitigating Cost
In-house data servers inherently pose capacity constraints. AWS helps clients eliminate these capacity constraints created by on-premises traditional data storage. Customers can stop guessing about capacity prior to deploying an application. Often times companies end up running out of capacity, which inhibits time to market or conversely, to sit on expensive idle storage. With AWS, or other cloud computing services, these capacity constraints and questions go away. Business leaders also want IT to help preserve cash. AWS customers don’t need to worry about wasting resources on excess capacity or expensive on-premises datacenters.
Pro: Global Reach & Scalability
AWS makes it easy for customers to go global with cloud services in a matter of minutes. Companies can expend their teams internationally or access applications while traveling abroad. AWS also markets its reliability which is paramount for global operations that need to drive consistency across the world. AWS markets its services as simple for companies to scale up or down depending on their needs at the time.
Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2)
Elastic Compute Cloud or better known as EC2 is Amazon’s primary off-premises cloud computing platform. It allows users to rent virtual computers for which to run their own applications on.
Pro: EC2 allows for companies to be extremely flexible with their data usage. Customers can expand or reduce their usage capacity in a matter of hours.
Amazon maintains server centers which they refer to as data regions on both US coasts, Japan, Australia, and Ireland. This feature increases the reliability and access of EC2 services globally.
Con: EC2 is reported to face some reliability and functionality issues when scaling up. The EC2 virtual hardware is reportedly not as robust as physical hardware. As AWS aims to support more enterprise clients with EC2, more companies migrate their legacy data and software into the cloud that requires a greater level of control than EC2 can offer.
Con: Instance controls are limited to one option. EC2 allows users to deploy dedicated hosts but they must declare an instance type. Each instance per host must be uniform that requires users to specify configurations like RAM, CPU, and bandwidth requirements.
Elastic Block Store
Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) provides block storage volumes for use with Amazon EC2 instances in the AWS Cloud.
Pro: EBS provides high availability and durability and provides customers the option of generating storage volumes. EBS benefits application workloads that benefit from fine tuning for performance, cost, and capacity. The infrastructure allows for high levels of flexibility.
Pro: EBS is highly secure. AWS claims data housed in EBS maintains the same level of security as data housed on-premises. Companies can even utilize EBS for long-term backup purposes.
Con: Since EBS solutions are internet based, access is entirely reliant on connection. This can also cause problems with speed if companies choose not to invest in upgrading to faster software. However, these drawbacks can apply to any cloud service.
Con: Some EBS reviews state that billing can be confusing.
Simple Storage Service (S3)
Amazon S3 is object storage built to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere. It provides customers with immediate, flexible, and secure data storage solutions for nearly any kind of application or data needs.
Pro: Storing with Amazon S3 is very cost effective. For companies that don’t want to invest in on-premises data storage can save on IT costs by moving data to S3.
Con: However, individual transactions can be expensive. Customers pay for transactions in addition to storage.
Pro: If you already use AWS, using S3 is incredibly convenient and can be implemented very quickly. It provides a viable option for quick data backup if companies need to free up capacity in their on-premises data centers.
Compared to Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure maintains the top ranking spot when it comes to cloud services. In Q1 of 2018, Microsoft cloud services revenue topped $6.0 billion, Amazon Web Services brought in $5.44 billion and IBM cloud services came in at $4.2 billion.
Microsoft’s leadership in the space is due to its deep commitment to all three levels of cloud services, SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. The company also leads with innovative, cutting edge technology to help customers get ahead in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and machine learning. It continually weaves traditional and new technologies together for customers to evolve while maintaining continuity.
AWS functions primarily as IaaS and doesn’t offer the same level of end-to-end software that its number one competitor does, however it remains bullish on cloud services and continually makes big moves to bolster its position in the space. After all, AWS now represents Amazon’s top revenue stream offsetting some of the company’s most expensive operations. To keep growing AWS, the company looks to push more into the PaaS and SaaS verticals. In order to do so, Amazon may just acquire one of the market leaders in PaaS and SaaS. Until then, Microsoft Azure remains the top pick for companies looking for full service cloud services and storage solutions.