IaaS: Alternative Cloud Providers for the Enterprise - InformationWeek

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IaaS: Alternative Cloud Providers for the Enterprise

There are alternatives to IaaS providers like AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure. Here are a handful of other providers that give enterprises more choices on price, stability, and ease of use.

A growing concern among IT organizations as they transition more workloads to the cloud may very well be managing and containing those ever-growing cloud bills. When you pay for a service as a utility rather than as a capital expense, you are going to pay for it on a recurring basis. So how do you manage those costs?

A new report from G2 Crowd, a crowdsourced site for business-to-business technology reviews, offers a few suggestions. From user reviews, G2 Crowd created a report that collects the top infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers by momentum in the market and offers some perspective on alternatives to the leaders that could give enterprises more options in terms of costs.

(Image: Shutterstock)

(Image: Shutterstock)

But what exactly are enterprises looking for when they shop for IaaS providers?

"The thing I hear is simple, fast, and affordable," said Michael Fauscette, chief research officer at G2 Crowd. "They do look for stability and uptime. That's the most basic thing."

Fauscette, who is a former IDC analyst, said stability and uptime are absolutely essential, like electricity coming into your house. In addition, organizations are looking for enough reserve capacity to cover any changes in their ability to deliver if they have a large increase in web traffic.

Top providers of IaaS are most often listed as Amazon's AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine. But the G2 Crowd report only has one of those in its group of top providers. The other two may be names that you've heard of, but not necessarily the first ones you would consider.

G2 Crowd's top group includes Digital Ocean, Google Compute Engine, and Green Cloud Technologies as momentum leaders in the grid -- those that got both high momentum scores (based on the buzz in the market as reflected on social media and web site mentions, among other factors) and high customer satisfaction scores.

Other players with top satisfaction scores included Amazon LC2, Amazon VPC, Lionode, and Rackspace Managed Cloud. The G2 Crowd report also included IBM Cloud Virtual Servers, CloudStack, and OpenStack.

In terms of user reviews, one of the things that hurts Amazon AWS offerings is lack of ease of use, according to Fauscette.

"It can be difficult to set up," he said. "If you are a heavy technical dev person then it is no big issue. But if I'm less technical, ease of use is important, especially for a small dev shop."

One thing that big players have going for them is a wide range of services offered. They have a real breadth of offerings, Fauscette said. That can be convenient for some enterprises. But as organizations get more comfortable with data portability and multi-cloud environments, they may be more open to some of the alternative players in the market.

"We used to hear about vendor lock-in," Fauscette said. " "Now more than that we hear that organizations want to have alternatives they can move to quickly."

Sometimes that can give smaller cloud providers an advantage. Maybe a customer wants to work with a company that is more personal and less gigantic. Smaller companies can also specialize in the services or features they offer.

"Smaller cloud players often focus on a smaller set of offerings," Fauscette said. "If you do something specialized really well, you build a reputation around that." For instance, there are providers that cater to companies that offer game apps, and they focus on meeting the high-availability needs of those customers.

Open APIs are also changing this market and customer options, according to Fauscette.

"In the future I will have all these Lego blocks available to me," he said. "I can build out applications that fit my exact business process."


Jessica Davis is a Senior Editor at InformationWeek. She covers enterprise IT leadership, careers, artificial intelligence, data and analytics, and enterprise software. She has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology. Follow her on twitter: ... View Full Bio

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