A new survey by Clutch found that enterprises strongly prefer Microsoft Azure, while small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) gravitate toward Google Cloud Platform. The survey was conducted in order to gain more knowledge on the “Big Three” cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure.
Nearly 40% of Azure users surveyed identified as enterprises. In comparison, only 25% identified as SMBs and 22% identified as startups/sole proprietorships. Conversely, 41% of GCP users surveyed identified as SMBs.
The trends among enterprises and SMBs reflect the strengths of each platform. “It goes back to the trust and familiarity issues,” said Nicholas Martin, principal applications development consultant at Cardinal Solutions, an IT solutions provider. “Windows Server and other Microsoft technologies are prevalent in the enterprise world. Azure provides the consistency required by developers and IT staff to tightly integrate with the tools that Microsoft leaning organizations are familiar with.”
Meanwhile, Dave Hickman, vice president of global delivery at Menlo Technologies, an IT services company, said that “small businesses tend to lean more on pricing than security or toolsets.” Thus, GCP’s lower pricing can be more palatable for an SMB.
Clutch’s survey also investigated the primary reasons respondents selected one of the three providers. The largest percentage of users (21%) named “better selection of tools/features” as their top reason, while “familiarity with brand” and “stronger security” nearly tied for second place.
Experts emphasized how users will choose a provider based on the selection of tools or features it offers. “Infrastructure-as-a-service will reside mainly on AWS, cloud services will be on Microsoft's side, while Google will dominate analytics,” said Brian Dearman, solutions architect at Mindsight, an IT infrastructure consulting firm. “Even though every platform offers each type of service, people will want the best.”
The survey included 85 AWS users, 86 GCP users and 76 Microsoft Azure users. While these totals do not reflect each platform’s market share, the nearly even number of respondents using each provider allowed Clutch to analyze opinions and behaviors more equally.
Based on the survey findings, Clutch recommends that companies consider the following:
- If your business is an enterprise, requires Windows integration, or seeks a strong PaaS (platform-as-a-service) provider, consider Microsoft Azure.
- For heavy emphasis on analytics or if you are an SMB with a limited budget, look into GCP.
- If service longevity, IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) offerings, and a wide selection of tools are important to you, AWS may be your best option.