Comparing the Big Three – AWS Vs. Azure Vs. GCP – From the PoV of an AI & Analytics Services Partner

Let's take a closer look at how each of these service providers differs in its value proposition.

Ankit Khandelwal

Senior Principal, US Sales

Unless you have been living under a rock or are completely alienated from the tech world, you’d know that Amazon Web Services (“AWS”), Microsoft Azure (“Azure”), and Google Cloud Platform (“GCP”) are the three major public cloud providers in the world today, with a combined Market share of approx. 64%. Trailing behind them are Alibaba Cloud, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and others, who, in my opinion, need to either go niche or take a big bang approach if they want to catch up with the dynamic requirements across industries being catered to by the big three. But have you ever thought about what the big three bring to the table from the point of view of an AI & Analytics services partner? Let’s take a closer look at how each of these service providers differs in its value proposition.

What makes AWS, Azure & GCP the same, but still different from each other?

Talking about the three biggies, while AWS is the oldest of the lot, a lot mature in multiple aspects such as ease of integration & technical prowess of their products and kicking it out of the park in terms of their market share, their partner programs can learn a thing or two from Azure’s playbook. From strategic sales relationships with partners & joint GTM to general sales teaming to grow partners’ business, AWS is slightly behind. On the other hand, given they have been longer in the market and are a lot bigger in size, the sheer volume of demand that they see could potentially more than make up for this lack.

It’s not all bad for AWS, though – Irrespective of the size of the partner, they provide a personal touch during partner onboarding and help navigate the ocean that’s AWS, which is more than what I can say for Azure. Although a leader in profits & pricing for partners, Azure is notorious when it comes to personal touch & handholding for new partners, unless you can show the size and $$$$. Even for lead sharing and demand generation, Azure is known to prefer existing & known partners to new ones (not that I blame them!). I like to call Azure the “Business” cloud, as it has an unequivocal focus on improving its customers’ business rather than focusing too much on the technology perfection side of things.

All said, Azure today is one of the leading choices for companies as an enterprise cloud due to its native integration with other Microsoft products such as M365, Teams, Dynamics, ERP, etc., and superior support for Hybrid Cloud infrastructure. On the other hand, AWS, with its whim to stay away from being a hybrid or private cloud, is lagging in this area, and with a bulk of Fortune 500 companies moving to the Hybrid model, it may hurt AWS in the long run and may knock a few points off its market share.

Just like Azure, GCP also offers great support for the Hybrid Cloud model through its offering, Anthos, but is currently being considered, primarily, as a support cloud and not an enterprise one due to the low maturity of larger product capabilities (both IAAS & PAAS), low ease of integration and less evolved documentation, processes & features. From a partner’s standpoint, GCP is actually not behind on demand generation & lead sharing (as compared to Azure), and that is saying something, given that GCP came into the enterprise limelight only in 2019-2020 timeframe. However, due to less evolved partner programs, lower profitability, and limited sales relationship & support, GCP and its partners have not seen the kind of growth they set out for.

That said, with Mr. Kurien at the helm, GCP is very quickly making a name for itself as a huge proponent for its customers & their businesses, even with a highly developer-focused tech stack, which is open-source friendly and DevOps centric. They have also started ramping up their partner programs & strategy, which has grown by more than 400% in the last couple of years.

Capabilities of AI, ML & Analytics in AWS Vs. Azure Vs. GCP 

Talking about Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Analytics capabilities, despite its slow growth, GCP is coming out as a “hands down” leader with its powerful infrastructure, low latency & superior performance for high-end computing workloads. This is further strengthened by its Data based DNA – Due to their other free product offerings, GCP has had access to tons of data which has allowed them to create best-in-class AI capabilities. On top of this, GCP has further distanced itself from AWS & Azure by unveiling the Vertex AI workbench in 2021, which brings Google’s ML services under one roof to simplify the process of building, training & deploying ML models at scale.

Azure, with its suite of cognitive services and other AI/ML offerings, does not have as broad a spread as AWS or GCP, but the ones available are much more function-specific, which is in line with their “Business” first approach. However, from a performance standpoint, neither Azure nor AWS can match up with Google’s Tensor Processing Unit (TPU).

AWS has the widest variety of services available under the AI/ML & Analytics banner as compared to the other two but offers less flexibility and out-of-the-box algorithms, which makes it less favorable in certain cases.

At an overall level, while the differences in AI/ML & Analytics capabilities are more than noticeable between the three biggies, this area is seeing a continuous infusion of investment from all three service providers and the gap between them is bound to narrow down in the not-so-distant future.

Some of the key AI/ML & Analytics suite of offerings provided by these public clouds are ML as a service, language capabilities, speech-to-text & text-to-speech, vision-based recognition of images and videos, Anomaly Detection, NLP & Text analysis, Conversational AI, and many more.

Summing Up!

With a major pivot in IT & Data strategy from complete On-Prem to Cloud/Hybrid approach, it has become more important now than ever for companies to make the right choice of cloud. Building and operating your systems in-house is no longer necessary. As technology progresses, becomes more versatile and Opex driven, cloud adoption has become an integral part of any company’s IT strategy. With this new paradigm, there has been a shift in how businesses allocate resources across platforms that are most suited to their specific needs. Affine can assist you with this as we have vast expertise moving between all three major cloud providers. Schedule a call today and talk to our cloud experts.

About Author

Ankit Khandelwal is a highly accomplished, motivated, and hands-on analytics expert with a proven track record of success in the Retail, Technology, and Entertainment sectors. As an ardent advocate of customer enablement & success, he empowers clients to “Command the New” through consultative selling at the hyper-convergence of AI, Data Science & Cloud.

Ankit Khandelwal

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