How Do You Know Which Cloud Provider is Best for Your Project? You Don’t.

How to Choose a Cloud Provider
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this blog:

  • The big three cloud providers offer a plethora of services
  • Increased spend on cloud by 36% of Q2 2021 shows movement towards cloud 
  • Commitment to strategy is foundational to success with any cloud provider
  • Write Once Run Anywhere allows for flexibility with any provider
  • Consider alignment with mindset, skills, and culture for optimal outcomes  

The cloud market is dominated by AWS, Azure, and GCP, which collectively take up almost 60% of the cloud market. While all three cloud providers vary in functionality and availability, any attempt at comparing them would require a book to withstand a fair, comprehensive analysis and comparison. However, this book would soon be outdated in a matter of weeks. So, how do you know which cloud provider is best suited for your project? The short answer: you don’t. 

With an increased demand for cloud services, industries of virtually every vertical are migrating to the cloud. In fact, Gartner predicted worldwide public cloud spend to grow 18% in 2021. Cloud providers have hundreds of services and offerings that are constantly changing. How does your team strategically choose a cloud provider? There are many complexities that go into the decision. With a strong commitment to strategy, a Write Once Run Anywhere approach, and an alignment with team skills and culture, you can make your project work with any cloud provider. 

1. Make a Commitment To Your Strategy 

A successful project starts with a strong commitment to a cloud strategy. Without this component, your team may face challenges in keeping healthy progress. A team that works within the framework of the established cloud provider will generate solutions instead of sidestepping into solutions for other providers. Healthy progress on a project shouldn’t be impeded by internal debate on a cloud provider that was settled prior to starting. A break from consensus undermines progress and creates confusion. Commitment to your strategy across your team creates morale and momentum. It’s a simple, but a necessary aspect that can make any cloud provider work. A cloud strategy should have the following attributes: 

  • Clear: clarity makes decision-making at all levels much easier. The goal is for teams not to struggle with decisions since it is clear which way to go based on the strategy.
  • Attainable: it must be within reach so the team does not feel like it is mission impossible. 
  • Recitable: having team members able to recite the strategy is key to making it a reality. It becomes part of everyday language within your organization. 
  • Inspiring: it is desirable to have the strategy be inspiring to current employees as well as future candidates. Talented people want to work where exciting things are happening.  

2. Will You Go All In on Cloud Native? 

For organizations that want the greatest speed of development, embracing the cloud-native capabilities of the chosen cloud provider will provide the most gain. This approach is not concerned about vendor lock-in and would rather focus on development speed using cloud-specific offerings. Application developers become the stitchers of available services assembling 12-factor apps in reduced time.  

3. Consider a Write Once Run Anywhere (WORA) Approach

For organizations that are worried about vendor lock-in, there is the option to Write Once Run Anywhere (WORA) that doesn’t tether you to a single cloud provider. While this cloud-agnostic strategy allows you to mitigate vendor lock-in, it does come at a cost. WORA has increased complexities, delayed development speed, increased cost, and the threat of being de-platformed. However, open-source enables you to become more portable across platforms. This approach appeals to organizations that want or need the ability to move workloads anywhere. Otherwise, the cost to Write Once Run Anywhere would translate to a slower and more expensive process.  

4. Ensure Alignment in Mindset and Skills

Another consideration for making any cloud provider work is making sure that the provider aligns with your team’s skills and culture. If your team is already utilizing Microsoft teams for collaboration, it would make sense for your team to select Azure since the team is already accustomed to Microsoft suite. Alternatively, if your team has the most expertise in AWS, pivoting to Azure would counteract the established skillset of your group. Making a decision for a cloud provider in the context of your team’s capabilities and outlooks will create a stronger approach that focuses on the resources that are more stable as opposed to a cloud landscape that is constantly changing. 

In Conclusion

Although cloud providers are constantly changing their portfolios, any cloud strategy can work for you and your team. Commitment to the strategy is foundational and especially important to making progress. If your team requires an insurance policy that enables easily moving workloads, then WORA is a great method. The last element is ensuring the choice you select aligns with available team resources. A method to guide the decision is taking inventory of your team’s skillset and mindset. Your team is part of the equation that you know best, so assessing this aspect will strengthen your approach to the cloud.  

In our transformation service offerings for Public Cloud Advisory Services, GAP collaborates with your team of domain experts to fully understand factors that contribute to your decision-making process. With our full analysis, GAP will equip your team with the most comprehensive understanding of your options in public cloud providers. The final report includes a cost analysis breakdown for your data, strengths and weaknesses of each provider measured against the strengths and weaknesses of your team, all in the context of security, and government regulations.  

About Dave Moore

Dave Moore, CIO

Dave Moore is GAP’s Chief Innovation Officer. He is a seasoned technology executive with more than 25 years of experience in conceptualization and crafting innovative solutions that provide scalability, widespread end-user adoption, and substantially increased revenue. Dave’s experience has given him unique insight into building diverse teams, and expert knowledge of microservices, Serverless, cloud optimization, CI/CD, security, big data and open-source technologies. You can connect with Dave on LinkedIn, or send him an email.