How to Choose the Right Cloud Platform for Your Startup
When launching their startups, most entrepreneurs go with a cloud-first approach because they can concentrate on innovating and building their businesses. They get the infrastructure and platform services they need without having to make upfront investments or maintain any of the infrastructure.
The three major cloud vendors — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) — offer similar scalability, flexibility and reliability.
“There are only a few major differences where one might outshine the others,” says Leslie Silverman, a public cloud specialist at CDW. “It comes down to, is there something specific startups are trying to achieve, where one cloud is a better fit than another?”
Do your homework before choosing a cloud provider, Silverman says. For example, AWS provides a strong Desktop as a Service offering, while Azure appeals to startups that want integration with Microsoft 365 and Windows. Meanwhile, GCP is strong with machine learning, artificial intelligence and open-source technologies.
If startups are working on cloud-native applications that use AI, and they know many developers in that space use Google, then Google Cloud is worth considering because the startups can attract developers to write their code, says Roy Illsley, chief analyst of IT ecosystems and operations for tech research firm Omdia.
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“It’s a conscious decision where a startup would go based on technology,” Illsley says. “If a startup is using voice-activated technology and thinks Alexa on AWS is better, then it can use that development platform, and Microsoft is obviously a strong pull because Microsoft is used everywhere. The startup can use Azure to hook into Office and other products.”
When Should Startups Consider Multicloud?
AWS, Azure and GCP want to build long-term relationships with startups. So, to attract their business, the cloud giants offer incentives, such as free credits, education and support, particularly to startups that have raised venture capital funds, Goddard says.
But as companies grow, a multicloud strategy might make sense for several reasons.
The startup may need to develop applications or services in other cloud platforms because its client base demands it, Silverman says. Or, a startup may want to take advantage of a technology or service that another cloud provider excels in, or may want to prevent vendor lock-in or ensure business continuity in case their current cloud provider suffers outages.
“It could be for customer-driven reasons, because a cloud that has a sweet spot where it does something better than others, or just for creating resiliency,” she says.
A company may also go multicloud because another cloud provider has data centers in regions where the startup wishes to grow, but where its primary cloud vendor is not located, Goddard says.
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