A Realistic Review of AWS Alternatives

Posted on April 1, 2021 How-To Guides

In a real-world landscape dusted with federal anti-trust law suits, we look at how AWS alternatives stack up, and how a team might go about making this choice.

In the early days of computers, the saying was that “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

As we move from the desktop to the cloud, Amazon Web Services has taken over that slot as the safe choice among cloud service providers. And while it seems as though everyone and everything is in the cloud already, only 67 percent of enterprise infrastructure had moved to the cloud as of the end of 2020.

As the world of cloud computing has grown, so has the number of options available to companies looking to make the jump. AWS alternatives are catching up to the market leader in terms of features, services, and computing power.

If your company is looking at moving its IT into the cloud, it’s wise to learn what makes AWS the leader as well as more about your other cloud server options.

Why You Might Consider an AWS Alternative

If you are trying to decide how to pick a cloud server, know that AWS offers much for businesses of all sizes. 

Many times companies start looking at AWS alternatives to find a different feature set or a better pricing model.

Fortunately, the cloud computing market is huge, which means an increasing amount of competition. To find a foothold in that market, the competition has to rely on unique technology and strategic partnerships to set themselves apart.

To date, AWS has been a safe choice because of its status as the market leader and its bevy of services. But it can be a case of more isn’t always better.

The complexity of service offerings at AWS is rivaled only by the complexity of the pricing structure that goes with them. As a result, it can be easy to get started with service there, but difficult to get optimal use out of what you’re buying. Not to mention, it can be difficult to tell exactly what you’re paying for or get a handle on what costs might be.

To help you research your choices for a cloud platform, let’s take a look at AWS and the top six alternatives to AWS listed by Gartner:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • IBM Cloud
  • Oracle Cloud
  • Alibaba Cloud
  • VMware

Amazon Web Services

AWS is considered the pioneer in this space and certainly benefits from a first-mover advantage. The cloud computing platform offers fast, flexible, and reliable solutions.

Today, AWS offers more than 175 services through its platform, with more features than any other. This includes infrastructure for computing, data storage, and databases, and emerging tech such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and analytics products. Many are based on open-source software.

The AWS virtual platform works the most like an actual computer with hardware, operating system, and preloaded applications. Going forward, the company plans to build out more of its AI and MLS features. along with Edge computing and an expansion into SaaS.

The company announced last year that it would start offering virtual computing for developers based on Apple’s MacOS and added its own location service. The addition of Bablefish for Aurora PostgreSQL to the AWS servers targets Microsoft’s SQL Server database tech.

Microsoft Azure

Launched in 2001, the Microsoft Azure cloud platform draws raves for being open source and flexible. The platform operates with consistency across clouds by providing familiar tools and resources from other Microsoft products. That said, it’s still one of the easiest to get started with even if you aren’t familiar with Microsoft products.

The platform is easy to scale based on your business needs, and offers a lot of services, especially when you’re working with Office 365, Dynamics 365, and LinkedIn. You can use any open-source tools, languages, and operating systems on Azure.

Azure appeals especially to companies that are already using MS enterprise solutions as they can be easy to migrate to Azure. The same goes for programmers developing .NET applications or programming Windows client apps in C#.

As to pricing, Azure is cheaper than AWS for SQL Server and Window Server, but comparable otherwise. Its pricing blends a lot of different models and bundles since you can pair up a cloud with the 365 products. That can lead to some hidden costs so make sure you read the fine print.

Google Cloud

Google Cloud has become the company’s fastest-growing line of business. With world-class security and multi-cloud facilities, Google offers a decent subset of AWS’s offerings and is expanding all the time.

Google offers accessible AI, data analytics, and easy-to-use machine learning. It integrates with leading open-source software and uses the same tech that supports the search engine, Gmail, and other Google products.

As you might expect, Google Cloud is the preferred platform for Android mobile app developers. It is also a leader in container deployment, orchestration, and management.

The company recently simplified its terms and conditions as well as compliance certifications. It also acquired a platform that will allow it to offer analytical solutions to cloud users.

Google Cloud has some of the lowest pricing, making it popular with small and medium-sized businesses, but also has large enterprise clients in the banking and finance sector.

IBM Cloud

While buying IBM was the standard in the early days of computers, IBM Cloud still trails the bigger boys in the cloud world. It’s one of the top alternatives to AWS after acquiring RedHat last year for $34 billion to improve its share of the hybrid cloud market. That move signals a serious commitment to compete in the space.

The company offers 170 services and products, including IoT, containers, and blockchain. The full-stack cloud platform is known for its open technologies that ensure your products can work together.

IBM has a bit of an edge in performance and security with its bare metal services. No sharing of resources means improved security and higher throughput. This is a great benefit to companies that have high compliance standards to meet.

The cost-per-seat with IBM Cloud can be lower for certain features, making it a good option if the price is a concern.

Oracle Cloud

Among the big Amazon AWS alternatives, Oracle came into the IaaS market a bit late despite being one of the more innovative software players for years. The company developed AWS’s Relational Database Service and its enterprise offerings are easily integrated into Azure Cloud.

Once it turned its attention to the IaaS space, Oracle began solid growth thanks to a well-designed platform with a good feature selection. Among these is its Autonomous Database, which some claim runs 14 times faster than the same work on other AWS alternatives.

Oracle is an open-source cloud, so you can run Oracle software or any third-party applications you want. For developers, this might include options like Kafka and Kubernetes.

Oracle Cloud includes AI, chatbots, and machine learning, along with next-generation data management. The company focuses on security, competitive pricing, and fast performance with its service.

Alibaba Cloud

You might be familiar with the Alibaba Group thanks to its e-commerce offerings, but Aliyun is one of the largest cloud computing providers in China as well. It opened up the computing power it uses for its e-commerce platform to serve other businesses.

The company holds most of the IaaS market in the Asia-Pacific region; 59 percent of Chinese companies use the platform. It’s best known for its top-notch anti-DDoS software and infrastructure, which provides global protection against malicious traffic.

Along with data protection, Alibaba focuses on high reliability of data storage and stability for applications. It has its own CDN spread over 70 countries, along with container service, cloud storage, big data platforms, and serverless computing.


VMware is known for its ability to evolve with the ecosystem. You can use it to manage a hybrid cloud environment with traditional or container workloads and take advantage of integrations with third-party or custom applications and tools.

A portfolio company of Dell Technologies, VMware used to focus on virtualization and containers and was known for leading private cloud deployments. It has since expanded to handle the public cloud as well.

VMware cuts complexity and risk with a single security and operational model. It can deploy any application with the need for conversion or re-architecture.

The platform has partnerships with AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, which can get you the best of both worlds. VMware runs on a pay-as-you-go pricing model that can help you keep a strict handle on spending while still having the features and tools you need. 

Interested in AWS Alternatives?

Choosing between cloud platforms can be a tricky business. Fortunately, you have a lot of choices even among big alternatives to AWS to get the best option for your business in terms of pricing, security, software, and storage.

If you have more questions about AWS alternatives, contact us to talk through your cloud service options. We’d be happy to talk you through how a private cloud solution can help power your business growth.

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