Cloud Computing and case for Azure@Microsoft

Few years back, when cloud computing was in nascent stages no one would have thought how the marketplace is going to look like in next 5 years. Google as one of the early public cloud company, helped many of us to have our first experience with it. Using Google Doc, moving photos to the cloud were some of the early experiences.
Not many would have guessed correctly on the top players in cloud industry that time. People have been traditionally bullish on large application companies like Oracle and SAP or core infrastructure companies like VMWare or EMC as possible candidates. Big blue IBM was always a contender but to everyone’s surprise, it is Amazon as number 1 and Microsoft as number 2. The war for a small pie of revenue has become more fierce. Amazon has absolutely stunned the market observers for the first couple of years and has been rewarded very well in terms of stock price.
Microsoft in last 2–3 years have finally got their act together and are going the right way on the enterprise applications. They are in a much better placed now in terms of database and core development platform. As they open themselves more and more to standards languages like R, Python, Java and more recently support for Linux, they will continue to beat the other large vendors. But the biggest surprise has been Azure. It is a hybrid cloud with strong DevOps support, excellent big data offering and possibility to build applications using many means and ways.

So where is the market heading? What is the current composition?

These are just estimates based on multiple online reports

Public Cloud: — AWS has been the biggest, most unexpected phenomenon and is the undisputed market leader — though some of the reports show that its adoption is going flat. Azure in second place is having a stronger growth albeit from a much smaller base

*These are just estimates based on multiple online reports

Amazon started out to only provide public cloud services with main focus on hosting services, trying to grab the market from tradition IaaS players. What made Amazon an unexpected yet a very strong contender for the pole position in the Cloud business is:

  • Financial Strength: In last 3 years company has multiplied its value by 5 times. See the chart here.
  • Its own experience managing one of the largest product catalog and data infrastructure
  • Its agility and ability to innovate. We have seen so many cool technologies coming out of these new generation tech companies compared to traditional tech product and App companies like SAP, Oracle etc.

Microsoft, however is challenging AWS. Again an unexpected choice if you asked one to predict about 5 years back. People would have been far more bullish on a bunch of infrastructure companies like EMC, Cisco or product companies like SAP, Oracle. The advantages Microsoft has are:

  • Strong customers reach through its traditional OS/Office via which it has been able to push office 365.
  • On Premise Azure stack which provides a very neat integration between the public and private cloud solution.
  • Same is true for the Big data solution where you can have a hybrid of data source but can have an integrated layer when it comes to pulling information
  • A large number of applications available for Analytics, Workflow, Dev-Ops etc.
  • MS is farm more open to open source then it has been traditionally.

We have entered the Cloud Era lead by Amazon and Microsoft. We will continue to see the emergence of cloud and here are the top 5 benefits

  1. Easy to deploy and standardizations: When we work individually, we all have the possibility to share the knowledge but we can’t share each other’s awesome work. Especially the best practices related Infrastructure management, automation of application deployment and management.
  2. Very smart systems: We don’t create our own pipeline from the nearest lake for each house. We do then when we design and build system with homogeneous process across multiple companies. Yes, there is customisations but the systems in the cloud are far smarter than individual systems. Data on the cloud means you have so many more nodes to work together and many copies of data too to avoid downtime. A traditional in premise infrastructure won’t be able to compete against these and many other benefits of the same backbone of infrastructure used by 1000s of companies globally.
  3. Commoditising development and maintenance. When you have standardised application layer with less but more widely used tools and technologies, you are bringing automation and commoditisation like never before. Setting up a cloud-based 5 Petabytes Data infrastructure would be far simpler than setting up a 25 TB in premise DWH infrastructure 5 years back.
  4. Flexibility in terms of costs and tech stack: It is generally true as you have a catalog to choose from. Here AWS positioning is massive commoditization and standardization. Thus they offer a very robust and reliable but singular infrastructural option. Microsoft’s approach to enterprise infrastructure has been a lot flexible and adaptable. The advent of their Azure stack with opening up to Python, Java and other standard technologies is an example of this.

Key takeaway

  • Hybrid cloud is winning, although the security as a challenge will start fading fast
  • Skills will be in short supply as the cloud adoption is gaining tracking and riding towards the peak of growth curve
  • AWS remains the leader in the near future with Microsoft being the challenger
  • Company with cloud based infrastructure will be more competent and innovative on the wake of cost optimisations and access to pre-build cloud based apps for business processes.

Reference material:

Before we start talking, let us explain some key jargons and emerging concept.


Cloud computing is a type of Internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand.

So basically you have a cloud client which could be any device like Mobile, Tablet or your computer. You avail the services and software from a provider which hosts and manages it. You might be using SaaS, PaaS and / or IaaS. SaaS is Software as a service and most common example is hosted Email or CRM kind of services. PaaS is platform as a service and common examples are hosting of Database, Web Services etc. IaaS is infrastructure as a service where you are provided with core infrastructure as services, so example like Virtual Machines, Servers, Storage etc.

More details:

Private Cloud

Private cloud is cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party, and hosted either internally or externally. Your Intranet is a perfect example.

Public Cloud

A cloud is called a “public cloud” when the services are rendered over a network that is open for public use. Gmail or AWS are good example for Public Cloud.

Hybrid Cloud:

Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment which uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms. Key Players: Microsoft Azure, VMWare and openstack