A significant change in our industry is the upcoming shift to cloud computing. The advent of cloud platforms is one of the most essential parts of this shift. As its name suggests, such a platform allows developers to write cloud-based applications, or use cloud services, or both. Different names, including on-demand platform and platform as a service (PaaS), are used today for this type of platform. Whatever it is called, there is an excellent potential for this new way of supporting applications.
Reflect on how application platforms are being used today to see why. When an on-site application (i.e., one running within an organization) is created by a development team, much of what the application needs already exists. An operating system provides essential support for application execution, interaction with storage, and more, while other environmentally friendly computers offer services such as remote storage. If all these basics had to be built first by the creators of each on-site application, we would have many fewer applications today.
Similarly, if any development team that wants to create a cloud app must first build their own cloud platform, we won’t see many cloud apps. Fortunately, vendors are facing this challenge, and cloud platform technologies are now available. This overview aims to categorize and describe these technologies as viewed by someone who creates business applications.
Here are the 5 most significant cloud computing vendors in the world today.
Microsoft Azure is tech giant Microsoft’s cloud computing service to build, test, deploy, and manage applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers. It provides software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and supports many different programming languages, tools, and frameworks, including software and systems specific to Microsoft and third-party. Microsoft lists over 600 Azure services, including computing, storage, mobile, data management, messaging, media, and machine learning.
Microsoft’s two major cloud offerings, Office 365 and Azure, not only helped it become the top cloud vendor on the market but also broadened the lead from its main competitor, Amazon Web Services. In the quarter ended Sept. 30, Microsoft brought revenue of $8.6 billion, a growth rate of 24 percent compared to the same quarter last year.
Microsoft plans to pursue its growing cloud business. Microsoft recently announced its partnership with Financial Messaging, Swift. Around 11,000 finance companies and banks transfer money via the messaging-based Swift network. Microsoft plans to develop a Swift platform to enhance Swift’s unique network and cloud security and intelligence. Recently, Microsoft and Volkswagen revealed a partnership that will help carmakers use Microsoft’s cloud to produce smart vehicles. Microsoft also works on cloud and blockchain-based identity systems to store user identity and control access to data.
Interesting facts about Microsoft Azure
- Azure was announced in October 2008 and released on 1 February 2010 as Windows Azure, before being renamed on 25 March 2014 as Microsoft Azure.
- In 32 regions around the world, Azure is generally available and has announced plans for six additional areas.
- Microsoft says new customers grow at a rate of 120,000 per month.
- Azure deploys 1,4 million SQL databases.
- Every week, Azure IoT processes two trillion messages.
- Five million organizations use the Azure Active Directory.
- There are 4 million developers registered with the Visual Studio Team Services.
- Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform was the most substantial growth driver for its’ Intelligent Cloud Unit,’ growing 93 percent year-on-year as the company said its annualized business cloud run rate exceeded $14 billion.
- Azure’s 40% revenue comes from start-ups and ISVs.
- At present, to some extent, 85 percent of Fortune 500 businesses are using Azure.
Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services is the world’s most comprehensive and widely adopted cloud platform, providing more than 165 fully featured services for computing, storing, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) etc. It operates within 21 geographical regions, and AWS is trusted by millions of customers to power their infrastructure, become more agile and lower costs.
Amazon dominated the cloud market long before Microsoft’s recent victory leap. In the three months ended June 30, AWS reported revenue of $6.1 billion, an increase of 49 percent compared to last year’s $4.1 billion Q2 revenue. AWS may have lost its lead in quarterly revenue, but it snowballs and has an impressive market presence. Amazon’s cloud is the go-to cloud vendor, capturing 33% of the entire market. In the third quarter, AWS revenues came in at $6.7 billion.
Amazon’s cloud is the backbone of Amazon’s architecture, from smart predictions to amazing virtual assistant Alexa when shopping online. Amazon recently announced its partnership with a Chinese blockchain Qtum startup to help AWS users work on its smart contract and dApps platforms. This will help Qtum work on its enterprise Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) solution. Amazon is also working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on its STRIDES initiative to help provide large data sets to a broad audience to help researchers study, ultimately treat and prevent deadly diseases. Amazon Web Services works with a range of programs like these in the pipeline at a breakneck pace, as it gives other cloud vendors colossal competition.
Interesting facts about AWS
- AWS was officially launched in 2006. About 1/3rd of people visiting daily internet access websites that are powered by AWS!
- AWS ‘ global infrastructure includes 64 availability zones spread across 21 regions around the world!
- Amazon Web Services has over 70 services, including storage, computing, database, networking, application services, management, analytics, deployment, and mobile.
- AWS is renowned for continually adding new features to its list. New AWS features and services have increased by 40% with 722 new features and functions combined in a single year!
- The rapid decrease in prices: AWS has decreased the costs of its services at least as many as 60 times since its launch!
- AWS has customers from more than 190 countries! The company has over one million active customers, including a whopping 5000 educational institutions, 2000 government agencies, and over 17,500 non-profit organizations.
- In just one year, AWS Data Services increased by a staggering 96 percent. This includes Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon ElastiCashe, Amazon RDS, Amazon Redshift!
- AWS accounts for 31 percent of cloud infrastructure as a market share service, while Microsoft accounts for 10 percent and IBM for 7 percent.
- The world’s largest companies, like Netflix, Expedia, Reddit, and NSA, use AWS to run their applications.
- On average, consumers view 7 million online videos every minute, ask Siri 100,000 questions and buy $222,000 worth of items from Amazon as per recent research! All this was hosted on AWS!
IBM Cloud is a cloud computing platform that provides a service infrastructure (IaaS), a service software (SaaS) and a service platform (PaaS) through public, private and hybrid cloud delivery models, in addition to those components that make up the clouds. IBM Cloud assists developers in creating and running modern apps and services. It gives developers instant access to the computers and services they need to launch, iterate continuously, and scale successfully quickly.
IBM was part of the cloud wars, giving Amazon and Microsoft huge competition in 2017. IBM generated revenue of $5.5 billion in the last quarter of 2017, the highest revenue ever created by any cloud vendor. IBM remains a crucial performance cloud vendor, but its slowdown comes at a time when every cloud vendor on the market is driving the cloud hype, and many other cloud vendors are growing at higher rates than the big blue. IBM’s cloud growth rates rose from 30% in Q4 last year to 20% in Q1 and Q2 to 10% in Q3.
The tech giant recently announced several promising partnerships that could save it in the coming years. IBM has been working on blockchain for a while and recently released IBM’s blockchain-based Food Trust platform. IBM also partnered with Travelport to manage, track, and calculate travel expenses using Travelport data and IBM’s IBM Watson and IBM Cloud blockchain. IBM recently released Multicloud Manager to help users manage their data across multiple clouds.
Interesting facts about IBM Cloud
- IBM is one of several genuinely global cloud platforms on a scale— but uniquely focused on the transformation of business.
- In 2015, IBM rolled out eight cloud data centers across six continents worldwide, with more than 46 cloud data centers.
- Including AT&T, ABN Amro, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and Whirlpool, IBM Cloud supports 47 of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies.
- IBM has acquired ten companies over the past few years to accelerate data-driven cloud workload delivery across industries: Ustream (cloud video services), Clearleap (cloud video services). Weather Company, Cleversafe (hybrid cloud storage), StrongLoop, Compose (cloud data services), Merge Healthcare (medical images), AlchemyAPI (deep learning cognitive APIs) and BlueBox (open hybrid clouds).
- Leading brands, including Ethiad ($700 M), EVRY ($1B), Finnair, ANZ, and Columbia Pipeline, continue to migrate to IBM Cloud services.
- 500 IBM engineers are actively involved in developing open cloud offerings and innovations for 2015, and Synergy ranked IBM as a top performer and leader in private and hybrid cloud space.
- IBM provides clients with a variety of locations for data backup and recovery, data location, and the ability to securely analyze data across geographies with 46 global cloud data centers.
- Seventy-seven thousand active developers use Bluemix’s Watson tools, meaning they have been using the services for the past 30 days.
- One-hundred companies are now selling Watson cloud developer platform-built products.
- Over half a million users have access to IBM Watson Analytics, a cognitive service that provides intuitive visualization and predictive capabilities for business users.
Salesforce is a relatively less familiar cloud computing vendor, managing growth at a fast lightning rate. Salesforce Cloud Computing provides all the applications businesses need, including CRM, ERP, customer service, sales, mobile apps, and marketing. It includes multiple cloud services such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and helps manage contact information for customers and automate business processes.
It reported last quarter revenue of $3.39 billion with multiple cloud offers. This places Salesforce at No. 4 on this list. The substantial quarterly revenue represents an increase of 26 percent year-over-year. In order to do so, Salesforce planned to expand and acquired and forged strategic partnerships. In order to expand its cloud services, Salesforce recently acquired MuleSoft, a platform for cloud and SaaS integration. Several small-scale cloud-based companies made similar acquisitions. Salesforce has also partnered with Apple to help restructure its iOS app and encourage developers to work to add iOS features to it. For the longest time, Salesforce has been on the cloud market, and it seems to make all the right decisions that pay off.
Interesting facts about Salesforce
- Salesforce has acquired 50 companies since its inception in 1999. Ten of these companies were acquired in 2016 alone.
- Salesforce commands about 20% of the market share of CRM and has more than 150,000 paying customers.
- Salesforce accounts for 31% of Service Cloud sales revenue and 41% of Sales Cloud sales revenue.
- Salesforce releases three times a year new features, products, and updates. These releases are called “Winter Release,” “Spring Release,” and “Summer Release.” Companies switching to Salesforce on average will see an increase in revenue of 25 percent. Salesforce customers say they saw an average ROI marketing increase of 25 percent.
- Worldwide, it is expected that Salesforce and its partner ecosystem will create 3.3 million new jobs by 2022.
- On the Salesforce AppExchange, more than 3,000 apps were deployed, and these apps were downloaded more than 3 million times.
- In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, Forbes named Salesforce the “World’s Most Innovative Company” four times in a row.
- Marc Benioff and Parker Harris founded Salesforce in 1999. Since its launch, Salesforce has provided over $128 million in grants.
- Salesforce launched its artificial intelligence tool “Salesforce Einstein” in 2016, which can be used by developers/administrators to add artificial intelligence to their existing CRM features.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a cloud service suite that includes computing, data storage, data analysis, and machine learning. It provides infrastructure as a service, a service platform, and a computing environment that is serverless. Google Cloud Platform is part of Google Cloud, which includes the public cloud infrastructure of the Google Cloud Platform as well as the enterprise versions of G Suite, Android and Chrome OS, and the programming interfaces (APIs) for machine learning and business mapping. Google lists more than 90 Google Cloud products.
Several companies already prefer Google Cloud over Microsoft and Amazon’s cloud offerings because of their lower pricing and high speeds of up to 10tbps. Google Cloud Platform has grown from generating $500 million per quarter in 2016 to more than $1 billion. The impressive Google Cloud clientele includes Spotify, Apple, Lush cosmetics, and Evernote. Recently, Google revealed that Google Cloud Robotics Platform would be released in 2019. This platform is expected to provide an ecosystem of collaborative robots running on Google’s AI and algorithms for machine learning.
Interesting facts about Google Cloud
- 7 Google products have one billion or more users, all running on the same Google Cloud infrastructure. On over one billion smartphones, there are three G Suite applications. G Suite has over 3 million customers paying.
- Google Cloud now serves more than a billion users as Google’s 8th product.
- Google Cloud is now the largest employee headcount division of Google. Google has doubled the size of the workforce in Google Cloud over the past 12 months.
- Google Cloud had 500 + software releases over the past year.
- Google Cloud has had a 2.2x increase in customers over the past year.
- There are more than 750 security engineers at Google.
- Diane Greene is Google Cloud founder and head of VMware. Greene is a company computing space industry pioneer and has publicly stated the ambitious plan to surpass AWS in five years.
- Google Cloud Platform uses resources in Google’s data centers such as computers, virtual machines, hard drives, etc.
- Google Cloud Platform is an integrated storage system that developers and businesses use to store live data.
- Apart from the free trial, this service is available in different flexible payment plans based on Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG).