AWS Insights

Five things to consider when choosing your cloud provider

As cloud computing has matured, hyperscale cloud providers have evolved to meet customer needs, with most offering similar features and capabilities. This has led some to believe that cloud providers can be used interchangeably.

A recent report by The Futurum Group, a global technology research and advisory firm, notes however that hyperscalers “have unique ways of building out their infrastructure and services to address the plethora of requirements of enterprises and start-ups alike.” In the past few years, the report says, hyperscalers “have also developed their own ways to provide specialized capabilities — such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) — that have become priorities across all types of businesses.”

Organizations must consider several factors when deciding which cloud provider to use, including security, performance, availability, and scalability, the report notes. And it argues that, based on those requirements, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is “the clear market leader among public clouds.”

“AWS stands out among public cloud service providers because of its leadership in areas such as silicon innovation, serverless computing, security and reliability, and a wide range of capabilities for running any type of application anywhere,” the report states.

“At AWS, we like to say there is no compression algorithm for experience,” says Tom Godden, director of AWS Enterprise Strategy. “Doing this at scale longer than any cloud provider, well, it matters.”

Here are five things that set cloud providers apart that you should consider when choosing among them.

1. A breadth and depth of services that delivers efficiencies for customers

Today, organizations face a host of overlapping challenges, including the need to reduce costs and complexity, operate in a scalable and reliable way, and increase innovation and value at the same time.

To address those challenges, AWS focuses on providing its customers with the tools and innovations they need to succeed, Godden says. “Our focus lies on understanding the problems that our customers are facing, the opportunities that our customers have, and then helping build solutions and working backwards from that to be able to innovate on their behalf,” he says.

“Never have I seen a company that spent so much time trying to help their customers reduce costs on what we’re charging them by providing them more efficient, more capable things,” Godden says.

According to the Futurum Group report, AWS delivers a comprehensive breadth of cloud infrastructure and platform services and its offerings are often the most mature in the market. AWS offers customers meaningfully more compute instances than any other cloud provider, with more than 750 generally available instances, giving customers the choice and flexibility to choose what works best for their unique workloads.

Additionally, AWS works with partners to make its infrastructure more efficient for customers. For example, in 2023 at re:Invent, AWS introduced three new NVIDIA GPU-based Amazon EC2 instances to help developers build and deploy generative AI, HPC, and graphics applications.

2. A focus on securing your data no matter where it resides

Today, AWS delivers on organizations’ needs for confidential computing with the AWS Nitro System, the foundation of its modern compute infrastructure, built with security in mind. The AWS Nitro System offers built-in security to protect hardware and software against potential security threats. AWS Nitro Enclaves, a feature of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), allows organizations to create isolated compute environments to further protect and securely process highly sensitive data.

Since its introduction in 2017, AWS has made the Nitro System a cornerstone of its infrastructure. It dramatically increases organizations’ performance and security. The Nitro System delivers practically all of the compute and memory resources of the host hardware to customers’ instances, resulting in better overall performance. And as the Futurum Group report notes, the Nitro System’s security model is locked down, with administrative access prohibited to eliminate possible human error or tampering by external actors or AWS administrators. In 2023, the NCC Group, a leading cybersecurity consulting firm based in the United Kingdom, conducted an independent architecture review and validated AWS security claims about the Nitro System.

3. The ability to make infrastructure management worry-free

AWS pioneered the event-driven serverless computing space with the 2014 release of AWS Lambda, which is now natively integrated with over 200 AWS services and software as a service (SaaS) applications. That portfolio includes serverless services across compute, storage, databases, analytics, event-driven architectures, and more.

Lambda lets developers run their code without provisioning or managing servers, and customers don’t have to worry about scaling, patching, or managing any servers.

“At AWS, we do the heavy lifting and manage the complex infrastructure,” Godden says.

AWS also recently updated Lambda so that it scales up to 12 times faster, allowing customers with highly variable traffic to reach concurrency targets faster than before. “It’s just exciting to see these things come out, time and time again, and hear customers go, ‘Oh, that’s exactly what I needed,’” Godden says.

“From self-managed through fully managed options, including support for Kubernetes workloads, more serverless and containers applications run on AWS than on any other cloud,” the Futurum Group report notes.

4. Choice when it comes to generative AI

As generative AI has taken off, AWS has been a leader in democratizing access to the technology. AWS not only offers custom-built silicon to train foundation models and put them in production, but it also provides customer access to a range of large language models through Amazon Bedrock. These include models from AI21 Labs, Anthropic, and Stability AI, and Meta Llama 2.

“These advancements empower developers to create innovative content, reimagine applications, and drive transformative changes in businesses,” the Futurum Group report notes.

AWS is also developing applications to run on foundation models, including Amazon Q, a new type of generative AI-powered assistant designed to help improve your productivity at work. Amazon Q benefits a wide range of personas, from knowledge workers with Amazon Q for business, as well as developers with coding assistance directly in Amazon Q.

Since it is still very early in the generative AI era, AWS is investing in a range of models to provide customers choice, Godden says. Some models are better at conversation or summarization, and others are better at generating images from text inputs.

“If you invest deeply and are embedded and ingrained in one that may not be the preeminent model, you’re going to struggle to make a pivot when something else emerges that is more defining,” Godden says.

And in all of these endeavors, AWS is ensuring customers’ data is secure and is not used to train models. “We want to bring these capabilities into your secure environment so your data remains your data,” Godden adds.

5. An extensive network of partners to optimize the cloud experience

No single cloud provider can do everything for every customer, which is why AWS has developed a broad and deep set of partners. The AWS Partner Network includes more than 130,000 partners from over 200 countries, with 70% headquartered outside of the United States, as of October 2023.

Because AWS has been a leader in cloud computing for so long, it has developed strong and mature relationships with systems integrator and managed service provider partners. Most independent software vendor and SaaS providers see the benefits of adapting their technology to work with AWS.

And the AWS Marketplace is the largest and most full-featured digital marketplace for third-party cloud software in the industry, according to Gartner’s 2023 Magic Quadrant for Strategic Cloud Platform Services.

Organizations have many choices when it comes to cloud providers, but there are key differentiators that make AWS stand out. The Futurum Group report concludes that AWS “is the clear market leader among public clouds, due largely to its cutting-edge infrastructure, extensive experience in cloud computing, and a full stack of services.”

For more on how AWS differentiates itself, watch this conversation between Tom Godden and Futurum Group CEO Daniel Newman and read the Futurum Group report.