Cloud Technologies

Cloud Wars – VMware vs Microsoft vs Amazon vs OpenStack vs IBM vs Google


According to IDC’s platform migration MCS, roughly 80% of the enterprise servers which are migrating to the cloud are all Virtualized, rather than being virtualized as a part of migration and at the end of 2014 will be a crucial moment for the enterprise cloud. Cloud is already been implemented by medium and large enterprises across the Public and Private sectors as IT and business needs. Some says, Cloud computing is no more a technology holding back the cloud but it’s the Company Culture.


Many cloud technologies are available in the market, let me try to introduce top 6 cloud technologies.

Following are those top 6 competitors :
1) VMware’s vCloud

2) Microsoft’s Azure
3) Amazon Web Services
4) OpenStack Open Source Cloud
5) Google Compute Engine
6) IBM SoftLayer

VMware –

2012 market research says VMware dominates the Virtualization market with about a 60% market share compare to other competitors. In 2013 the numbers changed because of the VMware license pricing, though they have changed the licensing module a few times but still its high compare to others. I worked on 50% of above cloud technologies so I will say VMware vCloud is the most simplified, user friendly, easy to deploy and understand, and having many extra features compare to all other technologies. 

Due to migration headache 53% clients prefer using existing virtualization technology to upgrade it to the cloud but remaining 47% are ready to go for new technologies. So right now VMware has to face a serious competition with others, specifically with OpenStack as its Open Source. Paypal and eBay was thinking of dropping VMware from 80000 Servers and Replace it with OpenStack, but seems they have deicded to stick with VMware at the end. 


Rajesh Natarajan, VP of Platform Engineering & Operations at PayPal, says it best: “PayPal is focused on delivering agile platforms that seamlessly scale across multiple cloud environments. Our initiative with OpenStack is intended to enable agility, innovation and choice. We’re not interested in a “rip and replace’ approach. In fact, this collaboration will help us utilize robust virtualization technologies such as VMware. They are a valued PayPal partner, and we intend to continue leveraging their core strengths in our cutting edge cloud environment.”   Read more


So, yeah the competitors are trying hard.


OpenStack –

Actually, though OpenStack is Open Sourced technology but in actual world, it is not really free, it is same as Redhat who gives Linux free but charge for IT services. You still have to pay tonnes of money to the consultants who implement, design and maintain the OpenStack. 

Actually, 2013 was the first year for OpenStack in the Enterprise IT industry, as enterprise products don’t have thousands of client a year.


The December 2013 survey of OpenStack gives following numbers –

– Total 387 deployments worldwide which is doubled from what they achieved 6 months ago
– More than 50% of the deployments are done in Production environment
– 12% of these deployments are performed in the environment where more than 100 physical servers are used


If we consider same numbers for next 3 years then they should have almost 6000 deployments which is more than what VMware announced 5500 server clients in 3 years.

Google, Microsoft and Amazon Pricing changes –

On the other hand, Google, Microsoft and Amazon all are reducing their prices – 
– In Google Cloud Live Conference, 25th March 2014 Google announced some new features and steep price cuts
– The next day Amazon Web Services also announced new features and matching price cuts
– On 31st March 2014 Microsoft Azure also reduced prices

Check : Pricing comparisons of Amazon Web Services and Google Compute Engine 


We need to know few things to understand the right background of these price cuts. As Google is new in the market so the product works on latest Hardware specifically Intel’s CPU technology Sandybridge. The very recent one is called IvyBridge which has a feature of incremental improvements which gives more cores per chip and a slight improvement in the performance. While Amazon Web Sevices has 2 generations of instance types Old and New, AWS cut the prices by obsolete instance type families by a smaller percentage than the newer instance type families, so the gap has just widened. AWS is encouraging the transition by pricing its newer faster instances at a lower cost than the older slower ones.


Microsoft Hyper-V –

Now let’s talk about Microsoft, who is tying windows Server and Azure together. Because of Windows Virtual Hard Disk, now it become much simpler typing the data on two or more different systems as Windows VHD allows the admins to bundle the data in one single VHD file which helps in slinging it into Azure. The licensing is 4 times lesser than VMware, if we talk about the initial costs. You also have to pay for Windows Virtual Machine’s license cost, management database license cost (after managing more than 100 hosts in VMware), while all these licenses are included to manage upto 1000 hosts with Microsoft Hyper-V. On top of this all cloud features will be included in the same license for Hyper-V.

Google Compute Engine-

Google Cloud is officially launched in Dec 2013 after a long preview. Google thinks Amazon is their only real competitor. The Cloud-scaling has recently created the Google Compute Engine API for OpenStack.
What to say about Google !! take an example of Google App Engine which alone handles 28 Billion online requests a day which is 10 times more than what Wikipedia has.
Barb Darrow says, “8 things Google Cloud could do to freak Amazon out” 

1: Launch reserved instances.

2: Churn out more managed service-y services.
3: Parlay search.
4: Get louder about cloud 
5: Offer more and different types of instances
6: Add more regions
7: Offer virtual machine image import/export
8: Do all of the above but faster.
Read More

IBM Softlayer –
          IBM also provides the same pricing model (Pay per use) as Amazon and Google has but the prices are bit high. For IBM Softlayer, the small resource instance cost $0.10 per hour while Google and Amazon are having basic price $0.07 per hour. If you pick bigger resource instance the price changes linearly while Google and Amazon double the price each time the resource config doubles. 
           So to survive in this Cloud competition I think IBM has to reduce the prices. Last month IBM launched Blue Mix platform as a service module which helps developers and customers frame and launch an application more easily than with the raw resources of an Infrastructure as a Service cloud offering.

IBM has the plus point of existing clients, they have all industry clients with them and also they work for many outsourced clients. SoftLayer has gained 3500 clients so essentially growing twice as fast as it was expected nine months ago. To get new clients requests SoftLayer has also decided to automate and Streamlining its online Storefront, automation plays a big role in IBM’s success. IBM says they managed to gain some clients who wants to switch from Amazon Web Services.


So, the choice really depends on your needs. There is no such thing as an absolute best choice, though there is a solution that suits your very needs.

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