Cloud Strategy, IT is business

17 criteria to choose a Cloud Service Provider for your company

August 3, 2020

Recently I had the mission to decide which cloud provider my company was to adopt. After taking a deep look at the capabilities, benefits, and other key important points of the three main clouds in the market (Azure, Amazon, and Google), I was very excited about the result and the effort put on and decided to share so it could help more people. This is a decision matrix developed to take the decision in my company. I strongly encourage you to inspire in this one and make the needed changes for yours. I hope it helps you to take your own decision as well. There are three main areas in this article: 1) Define the goals of the journey, 2) The spreadsheet, 3) the Adopted Criteria, and 4) the Final Decision.

1 – Define the goals for the cloud journey

When we start such an important project like this, it must be very clear to all high management the goals involved. These are the goals I defined together with my peers and validated with all the company senior management.

  • Overall company speed – essential for keeping competitive time to market.
  • Teams autonomy – one more important move to keep time-to-market as fast as possible and to foster DevOps adoption.
  • Cost savings – use the cloud benefit of the pay-as-you-go.
  • Enable software scalability – some of the products still suffer from on-prem challenges to scale.
  • Security – improve security while handing over a few of the key concerns to the cloud provider.
  • Better infrastructure costs management
  • Keep auditing key aspects valid – eg.: PCI compliant.

2 – The spreadsheet

In this spreadsheet, you can find the summarized version of all the criteria presented in the next section. The values in it are the actual result of my analysis. You should take a look by yourself and change the values according to your scenario.

3 – Define the criteria list

The following items are those important for this scenario’s migration. They are a total of Seventeen criteria analyzed to achieve a better overall understanding.

Five is the highest possible score. One is the lowest. Any other number between those are valid scores.

Feature count1
Oracle migration ease2
Available SDKs1
DDoS protection1
Overall security5
Machine Learning and Data Science features1
Community support3
Professionals availability3
Professionals cost5
Companies that already are in each cloud (benchmark)1
Internal team knowledge5
Auditing capabilities5
Cloud transition supporting products5
Dedicated links with specific protocol availability*5
GDPR and LGPD compliance*3
Cloud support*3

* These items were not included in my initial analysis and were suggested by a couple of friends using the model. I’m bringing them here as a few more suggestions for you.

2.1. Cost

The values were converted from US dollar to Brazilian Real in an exchange rate of BRL 5.25 to USD 1.00. RI = Reserved Instance. OD = On-demand instance

Why this criterion is important: Since the cloud move is an already taken decision, the goal of this criterion is to evaluate which cloud is the cheapest for this specific scenario need.

CloudScore givenScore comments
AWS5AWS has higher values in smaller machines and lower values in bigger machines
Azure5Azure has higher values in bigger machines and lower values for smaller machines
GCP3There are some lacking machine types.

2.2. Feature count

Why this criterion is important: innovation appetite of each cloud provider.

CloudServices QtySourceGiven scoreScore comments
AWS212TechRadar1Is the most mature cloud. Has count method simmilar to Google’s
Azure600Azure docs1Has a smaller overall feature count than AWS, but counts it in a different granularity
GCP90GCP docs0Has more basic features and has great benefits for companies that are born in the cloud

2.3. Oracle migration ease

Why this criterion is important: needless to say.

CloudAvailabilitySourceGiven ScoreScore comments
AWSAvailableAWS Docs2There’s a tool to migrate and convert the database
AzureNot availableAzure Docs1There’s a tool to migrate only
GCPNot available0There are no tools to help in this criterion

2.4. Available SDKs

Why this criterion is important: SDKs are important for applications under development.

CloudAvailabilitySourceGiven scoreScore comments
AWS Java
1SDK for the main needed languages are present
AzureAvailableAzure Docs1SDK for the main needed languages are present
GCP Java
1SDK for the main needed languages are present

2.5. DDoS protection

Why this criterion is important: DDoS is a common attack for digital products. This is an important feature thinking about the future.

CloudAvailabilitySourceGiven scoreScore comments
AWSAvailableAWS Shield1There is standard and advanced protection
AzureAvailableAzure Docs1There is standard and advanced protection
GCPAvailableGCP Armor1There is standard protection

2.6. Security overall

Why this criterion is important: there are some key security features my company is audited by third-party partners to which we must keep compliant.

Source: Three main sources from security experts blogs were used to this evaluation:

Sub criterionCloudGiven scoreScore comments
Overall SecurityAWS1.25AWS gets the higher score according to specialists due to the granularity it allows
Overall SecurityAzure1
Overall SecurityGCP1
Ease to configure securityAWS0.5
Ease to configure securityAzure0.75
Ease to configure securityGCP1.25Google gets a higher score due to ease to configure and abstraction capacity
Security InvestmentAWS1.25AWS is the one that invests the most on security
Security InvestmentAzure1
Security InvestmentGCP1
Security community supportAWS1.25AWS has a bigger community
Security community supportAzure1
Security community supportGCP0.75

2.7. Machine Learning and Data Science features

Why this criterion is important: looking for the future, it’s important to think about new services to be consumed. This feature received a low maximum score because it is not something critical for this stage of the cloud adoption.

CloudAvailabilitySourceGiven scoreScore comments
AWSAvailableMachine Learning as a service comparison1They all have pros and cons and specific ML/DS initiatives
AzureAvailable1They all have pros and cons and specific ML/DS initiatives
GCPAvailable1They all have pros and cons and specific ML/DS initiatives

2.8. Community

Why this criterion is important: a strong community makes easier to find solutions for the problems that will come in the future.

CloudSourceGiven scoreScore comments
AWSCommunity comparison AWS vs Azure vs Google3Biggest and most mature community
Azure2More than 80% of Fortune 500 uses it
GCP1It’s growing

2.9. Professionals availability

Why this criterion is important: the ability to hire qualified professionals for the specific cloud vendor is crucial for the application lifecycle. This research was performed on LinkedIn with the query “certified cloud architect <vendor>”.

CloudSourceGiven scoreScore comments
AWSLinkedIn3183k people found
AzureLinkedIn290k people found
GCPLinkedIn122k people found

2.10. Professionals cost

Why this criterion is important: as important as professionals availability, the cost involved in hiring each of these professionals is also something important to keep in mind.

CloudSourceGiven scoreScore comments
AWSGlassdoor5There was no difference found between each professional
AzureComputerworld (portuguese only)5There was no difference found between each professional
GCP5There was no difference found between each professional

2.11. Companies already present in each cloud

Why this criterion is important: taking a look at companies help to understand where the biggest and most innovative companies are heading to. And if they are doing so, there must be a good reason for that.

CloudBrands foundSourceGiven scoreScore commends
AWSFacebook, Amazon, Disney, Netflix, TwitterWho is using AWS1
AzurePixar, Dell, BMW, AppleWho is using Azure1
GCPSpotify, Natura, SBT1

2.12. Internal team knowledge

Why this criterion is important: the more internal knowledge for a cloud adoption, the faster it will be to achieve a good level of maturity.

CloudSourceGiven scoreScore comments
AWSInternal knowledge4Developers know AWS better
AzureInternal knowledge4Infrastructure team knows better Azure
GCPInternal knowledge0Nobody have ever worked with GCP

2.13. Auditing capabilities

Why this criterion is important: auditing capabilities are important to keep compliant to some existing contracts.

CloudAvailabilitySourceGiven score
AWSAvailableAWS Config5
AzureAvailableAzure Docs5
GCPAvailableGCP Audit5

2.14. Cloud migration products

Why this criterion is important: since this is intended to be a company wide adoption, some areas will have more or less maturity to migrate to a new paradigm of cloud native software development. The more the cloud provider can assist with simpler migration strategies such as an “AS IS”, the better for this criterion.

CloudSourceGiven scoreScore comments
AWSAWS CAF4There are more manual work to perform to achieve data sync
AzureAzure Migration Journey5Due to the company having a big number of Windows-based services, Microsoft native tools have an advantage
GCP3No resources to keep both cloud and on-premises workloads working together were found

4 – Conclusion

Below is presented the final result for this comparison. Having reached this, I intend to help your cloud journey adoption decisions, but please do not stick to these criteria presented here. Always take a look at what is important to your company and business evolution.

This adoption must also come hand-by-hand with an internal plan to improve people’s knowledge of the selected cloud. The cloud brings several benefits compared to on-premises services, and like everything in life there are trade-offs and new challenges will appear.

Feature count110
Oracle migration ease210
Available SDKs111
DDoS protection111
Security overall434
Machine Learning and Data Science features111
Professionals available321
Professionals cost555
Companies already present in each cloud111
Internal team knowledge440
Auditing capabilities555
Cloud migration products453
Grand total403726

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