Cloud computing has become an integral part of the modern digital landscape—it is estimated that by 2025, 85% of businesses will be cloud-first, meaning they utilize cloud computing as their primary infrastructure. Alongside this growth in cloud adoption has come an increase in the number of cloud providers businesses and developers today have to choose from. Despite this proliferation of cloud providers, so-called hyperscaler clouds, which boast a vast network of data centers and a wide range of services, still dominate the cloud market. Hyperscale providers include the “big three”— Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)—which combined, control an estimated 65% of the cloud market.
While many cloud users may default to using the well-known hyperscaler clouds, there are numerous other cloud providers which cater to specific markets, industries, and regions, collectively offering a diverse array of cloud services to meet the varied needs of users worldwide. Smaller, specialized cloud providers can excel in niche industries, offering tailored solutions and personalized support that hyperscalers might not prioritize due to their vast scale. These providers may also offer more cost-effective options for businesses with smaller workloads, enabling budget-conscious organizations to optimize their cloud spending effectively.
In this post, we’ll explain what a hyperscaler cloud is, what the benefits and challenges of using a hyperscaler cloud are, and how to consider alternative clouds for your business.
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A hyperscaler cloud is a cloud service provider which has a large network of data centers and a wide range of services that can support the needs of enterprise applications with massive user bases. Hyperscaler clouds dominate the cloud market, and are typically offered by technology companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft which have a number of other technology services in addition to their cloud infrastructure services. While both public and private hyperscalers exist, in this article we’ll focus on public providers.
Public hyperscalers are cloud computing platforms that are offered to the general public. They are owned and operated by large companies, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.
Here are six widely used public hyperscalers:
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS, offered by Amazon, is the largest and most popular hyperscale cloud provider globally, with a market share of about 32% as of Q1 2023. AWS provides a comprehensive suite of cloud services, including computing power, storage options, databases, machine learning, analytics, and more. AWS serves millions of customers, ranging from startups to enterprises, and offers extensive global infrastructure.
Microsoft Azure Microsoft Azure is a leading hyperscale cloud platform provided by Microsoft, which has about 23% market share. It offers a wide range of cloud services, including virtual machines, app services, AI and machine learning, IoT, and more. Azure integrates well with Microsoft’s existing enterprise software, making it a popular choice for businesses already invested in Microsoft technologies.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) GCP is Google’s hyperscale cloud offering that provides cloud computing, storage, big data, machine learning, and networking services. It controls about 10% of the cloud market. Google’s expertise in data handling and AI/ML technologies makes GCP attractive to developers and businesses seeking advanced analytics and AI capabilities.
Alibaba Cloud Alibaba Cloud, also known as Aliyun, is the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, a Chinese multinational conglomerate. As a public hyperscaler, Alibaba Cloud provides a comprehensive suite of cloud services to businesses and organizations worldwide. One of the main features of Alibaba Cloud is hybrid and edge computing which makes it adaptable to various types of businesses.
IBM Cloud IBM Cloud, offered by IBM, provides a suite of cloud services, including IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and various AI and blockchain capabilities. It focuses on hybrid cloud solutions, catering to businesses that require integration between their on-premises infrastructure and the cloud.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Oracle Cloud infrastructure is Oracle’s hyperscale cloud platform that offers a range of services, including compute, storage, database, analytics, and enterprise applications. Oracle Cloud emphasizes its strength in database management systems and enterprise-grade applications.
Hyperscalers like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud offer unparalleled scalability, global reach, and an extensive array of services. Hyperscaler clouds are used by a wide range of businesses, from small businesses to large enterprises, but often cater to the needs of enterprises who will get the most out of their vast infrastructure network and range of product offerings.
While hyperscale clouds can meet the scalability needs of large businesses, their pricing complexity, potential vendor lock-in, data transfer costs, and regulatory considerations warrant careful evaluation. When comparing hyperscalers to other cloud providers, it’s crucial to assess factors such as service offerings, scalability, pricing models, support, and compliance. Hyperscalers offer global reach and diverse services but might lack personalization. Other providers can offer tailored solutions, better support, and cost optimization. Understanding these differences will help you make an informed decision, helping to ensure a seamless cloud experience aligned with your specific requirements and strategic goals.
Hyperscaler clouds are designed to scale up or down to meet demand. This means that you can easily add or remove resources as needed. They offer virtually unlimited computing resources, enabling businesses to scale their applications and services rapidly to meet changing demands without worrying about hardware constraints.
Hyperscaler clouds are designed to be highly available and have a large number of data centers located around the globe, which can mean more redundancy for your cloud application if it’s hosted across data centers… Hyperscalers provide low-latency access to users worldwide, improving performance and user experience.
Hyperscaler clouds offer a high level of security, often investing heavily in infrastructure redundancy, disaster recovery, and cybersecurity, helping to ensure high levels of service availability, and data protection. They use a variety of security measures to protect your data, including encryption, firewalls, and intrusion detection.
Hyperscaler clouds can be complex to manage. They offer a wide range of features and services, which can be overwhelming for some users. Also, hyperscalers’ extensive customer base might lead to challenges in obtaining personalized support and prompt responses, particularly for smaller businesses.
If you use a hyperscaler cloud, you may become locked in to that vendor. This means that you may have difficulty moving your applications to another cloud provider if you decide to switch. Migrating data in and out of hyperscalers can result in additional expenses, which can be a concern for businesses with significant data transfer needs.
Unpredictable pricing by hyperscalers can pose challenges for businesses. Fluctuating costs and hidden fees make budgeting difficult, often leading to unexpected expenses. Companies must carefully monitor usage and negotiate contracts to mitigate financial uncertainties associated with hyperscale cloud services.
While hyperscalers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP are dominant players in the cloud market, their high prices and complex offerings can make them a poor fit for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs). Other cloud providers offer several benefits for those seeking a more tailored solution, lower costs, and enhanced support offerings.
Specialized offerings: Other cloud providers often specialize in niche industries or tailored solutions, providing personalized support and deep expertise that hyperscalers may not prioritize due to their vast scale. Businesses with unique needs may benefit from this specialization and receive more attentive customer support.
Lower costs: Additionally, some companies might prefer smaller cloud providers due to cost considerations. For projects with modest workloads, hyperscalers’ extensive resources might be overkill and lead to unnecessary expenses. Local data residency and compliance requirements can also play a role, as some businesses may opt for smaller providers to adhere to specific regional data laws. For those looking to optimize their cloud spend, non-hyperscale cloud providers are often a more cost-effective option.
Avoid vendor lock-in: Choosing smaller cloud providers can offer flexibility in terms of vendor lock-in. Migrating between smaller providers or back to on-premises infrastructure may be less complex than transitioning between hyperscalers, allowing businesses to adapt more easily to changing needs.
Enhanced support: Because other cloud providers have fewer customers, they often offer better support, especially for individuals and smaller businesses which are not a priority for the hyperscale providers. For example, read how DigitalOcean’s support compares to support offered from AWS.
DigitalOcean is a cloud provider that is specifically designed for the needs of SMBs and individual developers. It offers a simpler, more affordable platform that is easy to use and manage. DigitalOcean’s pricing is based on the amount of resources that you use, so you only pay for what you need, and has industry-leading bandwidth pricing. This can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you have fluctuating workloads or use a large amount of bandwidth.
In addition to its affordable pricing, DigitalOcean also offers a number of other benefits that make it a good choice for SMBs. These include:
A wide range of services: DigitalOcean offers a comprehensive range of cloud services, including compute, storage, networking, databases, and ,amaged Kubernetes. This means that you can find everything you need to run your business on the cloud, all from a single provider.
A simple and easy-to-use interface: DigitalOcean’s interface is designed to be simple and easy to use, even for non-technical users. This makes it easy to get started with DigitalOcean’s virtual machines, databases, and other products.
Excellent customer support: DigitalOcean offers excellent customer support, with a range of support plans, including free ticketed support for all customers. Learn more about DigitalOcean support plans here.
While hyperscalers provide a vast array of services for large enterprises, DigitalOcean’s specialization in serving the needs of small-to-medium businesses makes it a more attractive choice for SMBs looking for a cloud provider that aligns with their specific requirements. For those looking for cloud optimization, DigitalOcean customers such as Validin have found savings when moving from hyperscalers such as AWS to DigitalOcean: “When we tried Premium CPU-Optimized Droplets we moved a workflow that was in AWS, and with the Premium CPU-Optimized Droplets our workloads got faster by several hours. Right off the bat we saved $2000 a month with DigitalOcean, and we get better performance.” - Kenneth Kinion, Managing Director, Validin.
The combination of simplicity, cost-effectiveness, developer focus, and tailored solutions by DigitalOcean makes it a compelling cloud provider for SMBs seeking a hassle-free and optimized cloud experience. Sign up for DigitalOcean today to get started, or talk to our sales team if you need assistance migrating cloud workloads from a hyperscaler.
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