Does it matter which cloud service my company uses?

August 27 2019

As a proud .NET developer and a cloud architect working with Azure, I'm a little bit biased toward Microsoft. But during a recent conversation about microservices, security, and hyper-scale clouds I became curious about the comparisons between Azure and other leading cloud services. Together my business partner and I took a close look at what's on offer by Azure's competitors and how they stack up against Microsoft's platform. Our findings suggest that in the near future, software deployed to the public cloud will be developed to support greater portability between providers.

Taking stock of the main players

Currently, the four largest global clouds that we considered are Azure, AWS, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud.  All of these have the basics of a cloud architecture:

  • Storage
  • Security
  • Networking tools
  • Databases (both relational and noSQL)
  • Event messaging
  • Virtual Machines

The cloud market is highly competitive and each offering is well-documented and an amazing technological achievement. But for customers and end-users, which one is the best? The answer seems to be that it depends on the strengths of the company. In enterprise architecture we need to have a consistent strategy for what are known as cross-cutting concerns. These can be broken down to the following items:

Security

  • All of the clouds allow for OAuth2 standards to authenticate with SAML 2.0 tokens.
  • All of the clouds allow for Virtual Networks (VNets) both internal and hybrid VPN
  • Secure storage of keys: Microsoft and IBM have key vault services, which allow for updating of encryption keys in a secure fashion, including the keys for Hardware Security Modules (HSM)
  • Certificate Services are available in all of the clouds

Storage

  • They all support cloud storage, which means extremely fast access to files on a global network
  • They all support file type storage on a global basis
  • They all support tags and fast query methodologies
  • They all offer redundancy outside of a specific region which helps in disaster recovery scenarios
  • They all have content delivery networks (CDN) that place the data close to a request on a geographic basis

Databases

  • They all offer relational databases, such SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, etc.
  • They all offer multiple types of NoSQL databases with very large capabilities allowing them to store petabytes of data and retrieve it quickly (a petabyte is one million gigabytes)
  • They can store in multiple locations with various consistency strategies which determines when data can be read from different locations

Event Messaging

About Tracy Rooks

Tracy Rooks was born in Florida and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He was passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountants examination and worked for such prestigious firms as Price Waterhouse in Jacksonville, Florida and Coopers and Lybrand in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tracy has owned several successful IT solutions startups including T Squared Software which he merged into 11Binary in 2014. Tracy currently holds the position of Chief Cloud Architect with this organization.

Tracy has built software for some of the largest and smallest companies in the world including Northrup Grumman, Winter Haven Hospital, Home Shopping Network, Jabil Circuit, Petco, Promis Solutions, TKE and MGM Resorts. In the past several years Tracy has championed and programmed a Microservices Lightweight Messaging Architecture including a Universal Data Storage component capable of handling Petabytes of data, a Universal Logic Layer capable of designing  business rules and algorithms for big data situations and finally a Universal Analytics and AI platform for predictive analytics. These tools do not require software engineers and may be used my trained business analysts.

Tracy likes to fish in the St. Johns River near his home in the historic district of Sanford, Florida near Orlando. He often travels to visit his son and grandchildren in Las Vegas and Nashville.

More about Tracy Rooks

Azure Services