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Azure vs. AWS vs. GCP vs. VMware: What is the difference?

Cloud computing technologies are solutions that are available on the go, without the need for additional physical hardware. Let us take our storage methods as examples. If we have media files in a pen drive, we must carry the pen drive around with us in order to be able to enjoy the media at our leisure.

However, if we upload the same media files to the cloud, we can access these files at any given time, without the pen drive. We would only need our internet connection and almost any device that has a browser would work.

Cloud computing makes storing files and accessing data easier and even simpler in certain cases. Most modern cloud computing solutions (mainly storage solutions) can be accessed from cell phones, tablets, and computers. Whether it is AWS vs. Azure (for enterprise) or OneDrive vs. Google Drive (for personal computing), cloud computing brings in standardization that is not biased towards any Operating System or device type.

However, this is simply personal cloud computing. Cloud computing as a whole comprises many more advanced solutions and large-scale applications. Any process that is involved with virtually delivering on-demand computer system resources can be defined as cloud computing. 

Companies that offer cloud computing services provide storage, servers, computing power, and IT infrastructures virtually. Cloud computing also deals with the databases and software that are built on top of these services. Companies are able to host many virtual systems through data centers in multiple locations. 

Cloud computing is distributed computing that allows more than one user to use the same physical hardware without reducing the capacity of the service. This is done through capacity and bandwidth optimization. Large clouds distribute their loads between different hardware resources in order to fit in any new networking requirement.

For companies, cloud technologies are easier and cheaper to adopt as compared to in-house IT infrastructure. In order to have physical servers, companies need to have a proper IT team on board at times to ensure that the servers are running effectively.

It also takes time to integrate physical solutions and train employees in custom software. Meanwhile, cloud solutions can be adopted in a single day.

Similarly, companies can directly hire employees who are certified in AWS or Azure, rather than spending time and money training them. Also, cloud solutions do not have excessive hardware requirements, thus not requiring companies to buy physical hardware and advanced systems. 

Companies are able to completely skip all the costs associated with physically setting up servers and installing various hardware. This is why cloud computing is getting incredibly popular with more small and large-scale businesses. Cloud computing solutions are extremely accessible and thus are preferred for all kinds of projects. 

End-users across the world have spent $410.92 million on public cloud services during 2021. This number will soon reach around $600 million (599.84 million, expected) in 2023. There is a huge rise in the global public cloud computing market, which is estimated to cross $330 billion in 2022. As a matter of fact, 41% of all EU enterprises are using cloud computing.

When it comes to digitized organizations, 90% of them are on the cloud already. Meanwhile, 81% of large companies have cloud computing strategies laid out that they have already adopted or will soon adopt.

What is Enterprise Cloud Computing?

Enterprise cloud computing can be referred to as the renting of virtual IT resources as pay-as-you-go services. These resources can be processing power, servers, data storage, network virtualization, and other IT architecture. These resources are generally provided as solutions such as SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).

Enterprise cloud computing revolves around business-oriented technologies that assist companies in their daily business operations. For example, enterprises need data storage for their applications or employee portals. Also, cloud computing is highly recommended for real-time analytics and business intelligence.

Enterprise-level cloud computing services are not like traditional cloud storage services and demand high bandwidth and a lot of flexibility. This is due to the need for scaling and the ability to expand when needed.

Some organizations truly need unlimited storage capacity due to the high amount of internal data traffic. Due to the vast amount of data that the organizations work with, they also require high efficiency and cost reduction through optimization of resources. 

More than anything, enterprises need high-speed solutions that allow rapid deployment and real-time collaboration. Apart from these, organizations also need better data security and restoring (back-up and restore) capabilities. Maintaining the integrity of data is one of the prime concerns of a company.

Thus, larger companies always need enterprise-grade cloud solutions for organizational use. Cloud solutions are also provided with multiple integrated software that helps enterprises make the most of virtual resources.

What is VMware?

VMware is mostly known for VMware Cloud, one of the most popular cloud computing solutions out there for enterprise needs. However, unlike services such as AWS and Azure, VMware solutions are focused on utilizing an organization’s own hardware and physical resources rather than offering public cloud solutions. 

VMware solutions were mostly private cloud solutions that relied on having the physical IT infrastructure and systems. Companies needed to have their own data centers rather than simply renting out multi-tenancy data centers that companies such as Google or Microsoft have.

For example, VMware ESXi is the enterprise-grade version of the VMware Server freeware. This enterprise software runs on the server’s hardware directly, thus allowing virtual servers to also use the hardware and integrate with VMware VCenter.

In the case of using AWS or Azure solutions, companies do not need to have their own physical servers and systems. The entire infrastructure can be rented out as an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and used virtually. For instance, you can simply host your application and its data over the cloud rather than using your own hardware and storage. 

By collaborating with other cloud platform providers, VMware now offers hybrid cloud solutions that allow companies to utilize VMware solutions on Oracle, Azure, AWS, or GCP infrastructure.

What is Azure?

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. It is one of the most enterprise-oriented cloud computing services out there as there are multiple Microsoft office software and applications (from office suite) that easily connect to Azure Cloud.

What is AWS?

AWS is Amazon’s cloud computing platform. AWS stands for Amazon Web Services and is one of the most popular cloud computing infrastructures for application development and deployment. This cloud computing platform is being adopted at an extremely high pace in all kinds of development pipelines. 

What is GCP?

GCP is Google’s cloud computing platform. GCP integrates well with all other Google products and is also a highly preferred alternative for application development. Google also provides more capacity and storage by default (or at similar pricing) as compared to AWS or Azure.

Comparison between VMware vs. AWS vs. Azure vs. GCP

When comparing VMware vs. AWS vs. Azure vs. GCP, we must first understand that VMware provides different enterprise solutions as compared to AWS, GCP, and Azure. VMware primarily focused on private cloud solutions and has recently shifted towards hybrid cloud solutions through a layer-like architecture on top of public cloud infrastructure provided by AWS, GCP, or Azure.

When it comes to AWS vs. GCP vs. Azure, each cloud provider has its own offerings and benefits. AWS is known for being cheap and highly flexible. AWS allows smaller companies to rent out lower capacity resources on a pay-as-you-go basis without any long-term commitments. 

Meanwhile, Azure seems to be preferred by most large organizations and top corporations. Azure professionals are incredibly in demand due to this. As a matter of fact, more than 95% of all Fortune 500 companies use Azure.

GCP is highly preferred by developers and startups who deal with building applications. GCP infrastructure comes in handy when building and deploying applications. Developers can also benefit from their Firebase platform when developing mobile or web applications. Firebase easily integrates with Google Cloud, thus providing a seamless experience.

Now, all three of the platforms are different from VMware, as the company’s primary concern was always native cloud solutions. However, inspired by the popularity of public cloud infrastructure and networks, VMware needed to join this market. 

By collaborating with AWS, VMware released its first service-agnostic hybrid cloud platform that would be able to integrate public cloud infrastructure as well as native infrastructure such as enterprise data centers.

To compete with multi-cloud infrastructures, VMware also released SDDC products that can work across most major cloud providers such as Oracle, AWS, GCP, and Azure. By being an abstract layering infrastructure that works on multiple platforms, VMware could offer the portability that other cloud providers could not offer, despite having enormous resources. 

Followed by AWS, Microsoft also started delivering VMware environments on Azure. This was done with the help of Azure VMware Solution. Google followed suit and launched its Google Cloud VMware Engine. 

VMware is quite different as compared to AWS vs. GCP vs. Azure. While VMware is a hybrid cloud solution, the other three are cloud infrastructure providers. However, VMware Cloud on Azure vs. AWS vs. GCP is quite different and the experience is quite different for each. 

For example, VMware Cloud on AWS architecture is extremely flexible and scalable for application development pipelines while this might not be the case on other architectures. However, VMware on AWS is not as effective for employee management portals as in Azure. Azure has always been one of the best platforms for enterprise use.

Thus, when discussing VMware on Azure vs. AWS vs. GCP, we must also consider other factors such as pricing, offerings, and limitations. It is more of a comparison between AWS, Azure, and GCP because VMware’s capacity is almost similar to all three solutions.

Also, we must consider the GCP vs. Azure vs. AWS services comparison and not just their infrastructures. Complimentary cloud services, software, and solutions are as important as the infrastructures themselves.

However, another big point for comparison between Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud is the fact that Azure offers both single-tenant and multi-tenant capabilities. What this means is that VMware on Azure can be run on the customer’s direct tenancy and not just on multi-tenant environments.

Reasons to Choose VMware on Azure vs. AWS vs. GCP

When deciding to choose among the three cloud providers to run VMware solutions, we must first do an AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud feature comparison. First, let us come to Azure vs. AWS vs. GCP pricing. Azure VMware solution pricing is generally the highest among the three while there is stiff competition between AWS and GCP VMware solutions. 

It is said that VMware on GCP is more cost-efficient as GCP allows you to churn out more power from your cloud infrastructure. GCP provides twice as many cores as AWS for your money as well, as of now. 

In a comparison between AWS, Azure, and GCP, it is found that GCP provides 768 GB RAM for its VMware solution. However, by default, AWS only provides 512 GB RAM but can support 768 GB RAM.

Meanwhile, Azure offers 576 GB RAM for its Azure VMware solution. However, GCP provides over 19 TB of data storage while AWS and Azure provide about 15 TB. AWS can be upgraded to support 60 TB of data storage.

When it comes to maximum capacity, AWS comes out the winner but when it comes to pricing, enterprises might find GCP to be more cost-effective.

Market Share and Growth

AWS controls 37% of the market share in the cloud services industry in the US, meanwhile Azure controls 23%. GCP controls only 9% of the market share in the US as of 2021. Globally, Azure does have more clients and customers than in the US, however, AWS is rapidly gaining more ground internationally with its incredible flexibility. Similarly, GCP has the least amount of share in the European market as well as other global markets. In the previous decades, Azure was the most preferred solution in India, however, companies are slowly shifting towards AWS. This trend is most noticeable among newer companies, startups, and software development firms.

Cloud Computing Skills Required for Each

For using VMware on any cloud provider, you would need to know programming and cloud computing fundamentals. It would also help to know data engineering, data architecture, and database management.

However, a VMware vs. Azure certification would be very different as VMware requires skills in private and hybrid cloud computing while the other three require skills in public cloud infrastructures.

Here are the skills you would need for each:

Enterprise-level companies require strategic data flows to be put in place, which will allow the company to carry out its day-to-day business. In order to sustain these data flows, companies must depend upon digital or physical infrastructure. There are also safety and security requirements as well.

This is where companies such as VMware come in and provide these services. VMware also offers cloud management software, virtual desktop infrastructure software, application management software, recovery management products, and storage solutions. The company also adopted network virtualization later on and offered software-defined data center (SDDC) solutions.

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