- Cloud services enable startups to avoid spending money on expensive IT infrastructure by working with an expert third party.
- The flexibility of these services allows startups to scale their operations sustainably and mitigate the pain points of rapid growth.
- Every provider is different, but some have more comprehensive offerings than others.
Running a startup is all about making tough decisions. Who to hire, what market to target, and what technologies to implement. The best startup teams understand how to balance scalability and cost to maximize their return on investment. One of the most important things is identifying the technology that will power your business. The answer for many top startups is simple: cloud services.
Why Do Startups Use Cloud Services?
Cloud services have become popular with startups because they provide an alternative to committing excessive amounts of capital to expensive, high-maintenance, on-site servers. It enables startups to simultaneously reduce their property and technical overheads by “outsourcing” that infrastructure to a third party specializing in building and maintaining it.
Whether you need to deliver content, store vast amounts of information, or process complex datasets, you can find a cloud service that will empower you to do it. As an added advantage, if your business suddenly takes off, you will be able to seamlessly scale these cloud services to match your needs.
This provides startups with a way to easily predict their potential costs and ensures that they are only paying for the services they’re using.
How Do Startups Select The Right Cloud Services Provider?
The value-add of cloud services is pretty straightforward but raises another question: How do you find the right provider? In general, you will need to select a provider that offers quality services at the right price point. Migrating to a new provider can be an overwhelming process (but it doesn’t have to be). Making the right choice in the beginning, can help save you time and money.
When selecting a cloud services provider, there are 3 key criteria to keep in mind:
- Are they an established provider? – While it can be tempting to look at emerging operators, they come with some major risks. You need a service that will still be in business for the next five years and a company with the resources to ensure that you are always online.
- Do they offer a comprehensive suite of solutions? – Ideally, startups want a cloud services provider that can offer a wide range of solutions you might need in the future, even if not immediately. Minimizing the number of vendors you rely on reduces the number of companies you need to manage.
- Are they a security-first company? – Data breaches are no joke. Companies are under the constant threat of increasingly sophisticated attacks from hackers, so you need to select a provider that takes those threats seriously and knows how to deal with a constantly evolving selection of attack vectors.
In our experience, there are three top cloud providers for startups on the market today: Amazon Web Services (AWS) , Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Let’s take a look at these services, and their pros and cons.
Google Cloud Platform – Good for startups reliant on Google products
|1. Excellent cross-platform support for windows and Linux|
2. Strong selection of AI and Data Analysis Apps
3. Easy integration into Google products
4. Facilitates easy collaboration
5. Has strong open source integration
|1. More expensive than AWS|
2. Difficult to integrate with non-Google products
3. A limited selection of programming languages
4. Fewer features compared to competitors
5. Fewer data centers compared to competitors (although Google is expanding)
6. Difficult to transition to a new cloud services provider
With 8% market share, GCP is the smallest provider on our list today, but that doesn’t mean that you should count them out. The platform is considered one of the top cloud services platforms on the market today, and can be easily set-up through its graphical user interface. It even comes with a 99.99% uptime guarantee.
For Startups already using many Google Products, GCP’s best feature is undoubtedly its easy integration with other Google tools and APIs, this could be particularly handy for a company focusing on Android Apps. This also includes Google’s suite of analytics tools.
Where things become less attractive is in pricing. Compared to other providers Google Cloud tends to come out as more expensive, and it doesn’t currently offer any storage-optimized options.
Microsoft Azure – A good fit for companies who need hybrid cloud solutions
|1. Windows and Linux container compatibility|
2. Excellent frontend management interface
3. Strong focus on security
4. Easily scalable
5. Has strong open-source integration
6. Designed for hybrid cloud solutions
|1. Difficult to set up and requires significant management|
2. Requires platform expertise
3. Is more expensive than the other leading cloud platforms
4. Customer service can be lacking
Microsoft Azure clocks in as the second-largest cloud services platform with a 21% market share. While Azure positions itself as the solution for enterprise customers, its true selling point is the focus on hybrid cloud solutions.
Hybrid cloud solutions combine an on-site datacenter, sometimes called a private cloud, with a public cloud, enabling data and applications to be shared between them.
These solutions are useful for organizations that process sensitive data, such as financial services providers, who can store sensitive data on-site, while leveraging the flexibility of cloud services to scale their operations when needed.
Microsoft focuses heavily on providing hybrid cloud services, and is probably the strongest provider in this category. Additionally, It is also easy for users to migrate their existing cloud solutions to Microsoft’s azure cloud by using Azure’s migrate services.
Azure does have some downsides. Users have historically critiqued its DevOps and customer services support, and for general purpose computing it has a tendency to be more expensive than competitors, although it is a little cheaper if you’re planning on using it for accelerated computing.
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AWS – The overall best fit for startups
|1. Provides startups with access to up to $100,000 AWS credits over the course of their lifetime|
2. Free tier available for testing
3. Excellent migration features
4. Security first implementation
5. Solid customer support
6. A wide range of apps available in the store
7. Offers great flexibility
8. Support for Windows and Linux servers
9. Easy to deploy
|1. Its hybrid offering is not as robust as Microsoft Azure’s|
2. The sheer volume of options can be overwhelming for new users
3. Pricing is attractive, but it can be difficult to determine a budget when you start using AWS apps
Controlling around 32% of the market, AWS is the most mature cloud services solution on the market today. While it may not have access to Google’s analytical tools, or Azure’s specialized focus on hybrid-computing, AWS excels in flexibility.
The platform is designed to be tailored to each user’s specific needs. The AWS Marketplace makes it possible to essentially “build your own” Cloud Solution, that suits your business. This is a bit of a double edged sword, as flexibility also means complexity. However, with the right team (Hey there!) it is more than possible for users to navigate Amazon’s ecosystem.
There is one other major advantage to AWS compared to other providers, and that is the AWS Activate program. This enables eligible startups to access up to $100,000 in AWS credits over the course of their lifetime. These credits could mean that your business implements AWS without paying a bill for years. They can even be used to purchase services from AWS partners like Cloudvisor, making AWS credits a highly flexible medium.
Let Cloudvisor Guide You On Your AWS Journey
For most startups, AWS is probably going to be the best choice. That’s why Cloudvisor specializes in offering AWS services tailored to startups like yours.
Our talented team of AWS professionals can help you set up a cloud infrastructure tailored to your unique business needs. We are also highly experienced with the AWS Activate program and can help determine your eligibility and guide you through the process of obtaining AWS credits.
Thanks to our position as an advanced AWS consulting partner, we can offer immediate discounts on the standard AWS rate through our AWS Resell service.
Ready to find out why AWS is the perfect solution for your startup? Book a tailored consultation with one of our AWS specialists, and we’ll help you to create a cloud solution that works for your business.