Top 10 Public Cloud Platforms

September 26, 2023 | Editor: Michael Stromann

Public Cloud platforms provide on-demand storage and computer resources for enterprise data and applications that allow to save money and enhance data security.
Access a reliable, on-demand infrastructure to power your applications, from hosted internal applications to SaaS offerings. Scale to meet your application demands, whether one server or a large cluster. Leverage scalable database solutions. Utilize cost-effective solutions for storing and retrieving any amount of data, any time, anywhere.
Microsoft Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any alternative language, tool or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.
Google Cloud Platform is a set of modular cloud-based services that allow you to create anything from simple websites to complex applications. Cloud Platform provides the building blocks so you can quickly develop everything from simple websites to complex applications. Explore how you can make Cloud Platform work for you.
Heroku is the leading platform as a service in the world and supports Ruby, Java, Python, Scala, Clojure, and Node.js. Deploying an app is simple and easy. No special alternative tools needed, just a plain git push. Deployment is instant, whether your app is big or small.
The developer cloud helping millions of developers easily build, test, manage, and scale applications of any size – faster than ever before.
Europe’s leading cloud provider, that delivers public and private cloud products, shared hosting and dedicated server solutions in 140 countries worldwide.
Oracle Public Cloud provides customers and partners with a high-performance, reliable, elastic, and secure infrastructure for their critical business applications and offers customers a complete range of business applications and technology solutions, avoiding the problems of data and business process fragmentation when customers use multiple siloed public clouds.
Rackspace Cloud offers four alternative hosting products: Cloud Servers for on-demand computing power; Cloud Sites for robust web hosting; Cloud Load Balancers for easy, on-demand load balancing and high availability; and Cloud Files for elastic online file storage and CDN.Rackspace Cloud hosting customers never need to worry about buying new hardware to meet increasing traffic demands or huge traffic spikes.
Get the best of both worlds – the power of real time + the simplicity of the cloud – with our cloud-based deployment option for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, SAP NetWeaver BW powered by SAP HANA, and the SAP HANA platform.
IBM Cloud offers open cloud infrastructure services for IT operations. The IBM Cloud gives you the flexibility to have public, private or hybrid clouds, depending on your business needs. With the IBM Cloud you can unlock more value in your business and in the technology you already have. It’s the cloud that can integrate enterprise-grade services and help speed up the way you innovate.
  on Live Enterprise
Alibaba Cloud offers a integrated suite of cloud products and services that are reliable and secure, to help you build cloud infrastructure, data centers in multi regions empower your global business.
Tencent Cloud is a secure, reliable and high-performance cloud compute service provided by Tencent - the largest Internet company in China

Latest news about Public Cloud Platforms

2023. CoreWeave, a GPU-focused cloud compute provider, lands $221M

CoreWeave, a general-purpose cloud computing platform, has raised $221. CoreWeave initially had a singular focus on cryptocurrency applications, but in recent years, it shifted its focus to encompass general-purpose computing and generative AI technologies, such as text-generating AI models. Nowadays, CoreWeave offers access to a wide range of Nvidia GPU models in the cloud, with over a dozen SKUs available, including H100s, A100s, A40s, and RTX A6000s. These GPUs can be utilized for various purposes, including AI and machine learning, visual effects and rendering, batch processing, and pixel streaming.

2023. ChatGPT comes to Microsoft Azure

Microsoft has officially announced the general availability of ChatGPT, which can now be accessed through the Azure OpenAI Service. This service, tailored for enterprises, offers a fully managed platform with additional governance and compliance features to ensure businesses can leverage OpenAI's technologies effectively. ChatGPT now joins a lineup of other OpenAI-developed systems already provided via the Azure OpenAI Service, including the text-generating GPT-3.5, code-generating Codex, and image-generating DALL-E 2. Microsoft maintains a strong collaborative partnership with OpenAI, marked by substantial investments and an exclusive agreement to commercialize OpenAI's AI research.

2022. Google Cloud will shutter its IoT Core service next year

This week, Google Cloud made the announcement that it will be discontinuing its IoT Core service, allowing customers a one-year timeframe to transition to a partner for the management of their IoT devices. Google believes that relying on partners to handle the process on behalf of customers is a more effective approach. A Google spokesperson explained, "Since the launch of IoT Core, it has become evident that our customers' needs can be better met by our network of partners who specialize in IoT applications and services. We have diligently worked to offer customers migration options and alternative solutions, and we are providing a year-long transition period before discontinuing IoT Core."

2022. Google expands Vertex, its managed AI service, with new features

Roughly one year ago, Google introduced Vertex AI, a managed AI platform designed to expedite the deployment of AI models for businesses. Today, Google has announced upcoming enhancements for Vertex, including a dedicated server for AI system training and the introduction of "example-based" explanations. As Google has consistently emphasized, Vertex offers the advantage of integrating Google Cloud services for AI within a unified user interface (UI) and application programming interface (API). According to Google, notable customers such as Ford, Seagate, Wayfair, Cashapp, Cruise, and Lowe's utilize Vertex to construct, train, and deploy machine learning models within a single environment, effectively transitioning from experimental stages to production.

2021. Microsoft launches Azure Container Apps, a new serverless container service

Microsoft has announced the preview launch of Azure Container Apps, a new serverless container service that is fully managed and complements their existing container infrastructure services such as Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Azure Container Apps is designed for microservices and offers rapid scaling based on HTTP traffic, events, or long-running background jobs. It shares similarities with AWS App Runner, one of Amazon's serverless container services focused on microservices. Google also provides container-centric services, including Cloud Run, which is their serverless platform for running container-based applications.

2021. IBM Cloud Satellite brings IBM public cloud on premises

While emphasizing multi-cloud capabilities, IBM has consistently maintained its own public cloud infrastructure, catering to complex enterprise workloads commonly found on mainframes and other systems. The introduction of IBM Cloud Satellite represents an expansion of the IBM Public Cloud, enabling its operation within the customer's on-premises data center or at the network edge. Built on Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud Satellite leverages the Kubernetes management environment, similar to other hybrid cloud solutions offered by IBM. The concept revolves around introducing a Location mechanism, which represents an instance of IBM Public Cloud deployed beyond the confines of IBM's data centers.

2020. Koyeb raises $1.6M for its serverless data-processing engine

French startup Koyeb has recently secured a pre-seed round of $1.6 million. Koyeb specializes in facilitating data-processing workflows across multiple cloud providers. The company believes that organizations will increasingly leverage the capabilities of cloud-native APIs and storage services in the future. To enable seamless integration and utilization of these diverse providers, Koyeb serves as the serverless glue that binds them together. For instance, users can store videos on an object storage system managed by DigitalOcean, utilize Google Cloud's speech-to-text API to transcribe audio from these video files, and save the results to another object storage bucket. Koyeb empowers companies to mix-and-match the best services from various cloud providers, enhancing their data processing capabilities.

2020. Cloudflare launches Workers Unbound, the next evolution of its serverless platform

Cloudflare has introduced Workers Unbound as the next phase of its serverless platform, aiming to rival the capabilities of AWS Lambda and other similar services. The company initially launched its Workers edge computing platform in late 2017, which has garnered significant adoption with "hundreds of thousands of developers" and witnessed over 20,000 developers creating applications based on the service in the last quarter alone. While Cloudflare already employs Workers to power its own services, the initial version of the platform had certain limitations. With Workers Unbound, Cloudflare intends to overcome these limitations and transform it into a comprehensive platform capable of competing with industry leaders like AWS, Microsoft, and Google.

2020. Cloud for developers DigitalOcean raises $50M

DigitalOcean, a leading cloud provider for developing modern applications, has announced the successful closure of a $50 million Series C funding round. The funding was led by Access Industries, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz. DigitalOcean Cloud offers simplified app creation capabilities for a wide range of developers, including individuals, startups, and small to medium-sized businesses. With its infrastructure and platform-as-a-service (IaaS and PaaS) solutions, DigitalOcean provides a seamless experience that eliminates the need for extensive DevOps expertise. This empowers developers to dedicate their efforts towards building innovative software. Following this funding round, the company's valuation has reached $1.15 billion, indicating a significant increase from its pre-money valuation of $1.1 billion.

2020. CloudShare extends virtual IT Labs solutions to Google Cloud Platform

CloudShare, a company specializing in specialized cloud environments, has announced its official partnership with Google Cloud. As part of this collaboration, CloudShare's scalable and interactive virtual training solution is now accessible on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This means that software companies can conduct comprehensive training programs using CloudShare's platform on top of the GCP infrastructure. Additionally, CloudShare is actively working on developing transparent training solutions for other leading cloud providers such as AWS and Azure, with plans to release them in the near future.

2020. Cloud infrastructure provider DigitalOcean raises $100M

DigitalOcean, a cloud infrastructure provider with a focus on smaller businesses and younger companies, has announced today that it successfully raised $100 million. Unlike traditional sales-driven models, DigitalOcean operates as a self-serve SaaS business, allowing users to easily get started without requiring assistance. This approach avoids the costly and time-consuming sales cycles. However, while the convenience of self-signup appeals to small companies, this acquisition method often leads to high customer turnover. To address this, DigitalOcean is dedicated to establishing a niche in SMB and developer-oriented cloud infrastructure, maintaining favorable economics through low customer acquisition costs and self-service revenue generation. The profits generated from this approach sustain the company's growth, enabling it to invest in itself through debt rather than equity. Overall, this unexpected news adds an exciting element to the day.

2019. Google Cloud gets a new family of cheaper general-purpose compute instances

Google Cloud has recently introduced its new E2 family of compute instances, specifically designed for general-purpose workloads. These instances offer a significant cost advantage, delivering savings of approximately 31% when compared to the existing N1 general-purpose instances. Moreover, the new system incorporates enhanced intelligence in terms of VM placement, granting the flexibility to migrate them to alternative hosts as required. To achieve these advancements, Google has developed a custom CPU scheduler. Unlike comparable alternatives offered by other cloud providers, E2 VMs from Google can sustain high CPU loads without artificial throttling or complex pricing structures. It will be intriguing to witness benchmark tests that compare the performance of the E2 family against similar offerings from AWS and Azure.

2019. Google Cloud adds a managed service for Microsoft’s Active Directory

Microsoft's Active Directory continues to be widely utilized as an identity service in enterprise environments. While Google Cloud Platform has previously enabled manual setup of Active Directory deployments, the company has now elevated its offering by introducing a managed service in beta. With this development, Google assumes the responsibility of managing the service and automating various aspects, ranging from server maintenance to security configurations. In line with Google's emphasis on hybrid-cloud deployments, this service also facilitates the extension of on-premises Active Directory domains to the cloud.

2019. Google launched its coldest storage service yet

Google has introduced a new cold storage service aimed at archival purposes. While this service doesn't have a flashy name, it complements Google's existing Nearline and Coldline services, offering an affordable solution for storing large quantities of infrequently accessed data. What sets this archive class apart is its cost-effectiveness, with pricing starting at just $0.0012 per gigabyte per month ($1.23 per terabyte per month). What distinguishes Google's cold storage from competitors like AWS S3 Glacier is its immediate accessibility, eliminating the millisecond latency typically associated with retrieval. Unlike other services that require users to wait before accessing their data, Google's solution allows for immediate use. This new archival cold storage service is set to launch later this year.

2019. AWS launches fully-managed backup service for business

Amazon's cloud platform, AWS, has introduced a new service called Backup, allowing companies to securely back up their data from various AWS services as well as their on-premises applications. For on-premises data backup, businesses can utilize the AWS Storage Gateway. This service enables users to define backup policies and retention periods according to their specific requirements. It includes options such as transferring backups to cold storage for EFS data or deleting them entirely after a specified duration. By default, the data is stored in Amazon S3 buckets. While most of the supported services already offer snapshot creation capabilities (except for EFS file systems), Backup automates this process and adds customizable rules to enhance data protection. Notably, the pricing for Backup aligns with the costs associated with using the snapshot features (except for file system backup, which incurs a per-GB charge).

2018. Microsoft Azure gets new high-performance storage options

Microsoft is introducing a range of new storage options for Microsoft Azure, with a particular focus on scenarios that require high disk performance. One notable addition is the public preview of Azure Ultra SSD Managed Disks. These drives are designed to deliver extremely low latency, making them well-suited for workloads that demand quick response times. Additionally, Standard SSD Managed Disks have transitioned from preview to general availability within just three months. Moreover, Azure now offers expanded storage capacities of 8, 16, and 32 TB across all storage tiers, including Premium and Standard SSD, as well as Standard HDD. Another new addition is Azure Premium Files, which is currently in the preview stage. This service is also SSD-based and aims to provide improved throughput and reduced latency for SMB operations within Azure Files, a familiar cloud storage solution that uses the standard SMB protocol.

2018. Rackspace acquired Salesforce specialist RelationEdge

Rackspace has completed the acquisition of RelationEdge, a recognized partner specializing in Salesforce implementation. While Rackspace has established itself as a prominent provider of hosting and managed cloud services, the company is determined to broaden its portfolio and incorporate managed services for SaaS applications. This strategic move follows Rackspace's previous acquisition of TriCore, a company operating in the enterprise application management sector, signaling the company's commitment to expanding its capabilities in this domain. Through the acquisition of RelationEdge, Rackspace aims to further enhance its offerings and strengthen its position in the market.

2018. Google Compute Engine adds simple machine learning service

Google has introduced AutoML, a groundbreaking service available on Google Compute Engine that empowers developers, even those without prior machine learning (ML) expertise, to construct personalized models for image recognition. The scarcity of machine learning experts and data scientists in today's market is widely acknowledged. To address this challenge, Google's new service enables virtually anyone to submit their images, upload them (and import or create tags within the application), and automatically generate a custom machine learning model using Google's advanced systems. The entire process, from data importation to tagging and model training, is facilitated through a user-friendly drag and drop interface. It's important to note that this service goes beyond the capabilities of Microsoft's Azure ML studio, which offers a Yahoo Pipes-like interface for model building, training, and evaluation.

2017. AWS launched browser-based IDE for cloud developers

Amazon Web Services has introduced a new browser-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) called AWS Cloud9. While it shares similarities with other IDEs and editors like Sublime Text, AWS emphasizes its collaborative editing capabilities and deep integration into the AWS ecosystem. The IDE includes built-in support for various programming languages such as JavaScript, Python, PHP, and more. Cloud9 also provides pre-installed debugging tools. AWS positions this as the first "cloud native" IDE, although competitors may contest this claim. Regardless, Cloud9 offers seamless integration with AWS, enabling developers to create cloud environments and launch new instances directly from the tool.

2017. Kubernetes comes to Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has finally introduced support for the widely anticipated Kubernetes container orchestration system within its Elastic Container Service (ECS). Kubernetes has emerged as the de facto standard for container orchestration, enjoying support from Google (its incubator), Microsoft, and virtually all major cloud providers. Although AWS is somewhat late to join, it boasts a significant user base with over 100,000 active container clusters and millions of containers already running on its platform. While AWS users have already been utilizing Kubernetes on AWS, they lacked direct support from AWS. However, this new service will enable AWS to take charge of managing the container orchestration system. ECS for Kubernetes will ensure compatibility with the latest Kubernetes versions, with AWS handling upgrades and overall service and cluster management.

2017. Google Cloud Platform cuts the price of GPUs by up to 36 percent

Google is implementing a price reduction for Nvidia's Tesla GPUs on its Compute Engine service, with savings of up to 36 percent. In U.S. regions, the cost of utilizing the slightly older K80 GPUs has been reduced to $0.45 per hour, while the more advanced and powerful P100 machines will now cost $1.46 per hour, both with per-second billing. By doing so, Google aims to attract developers who seek to execute their own machine learning workloads on its cloud platform. Additionally, various other applications, such as physical simulations and molecular modeling, can greatly benefit from the extensive number of cores provided by these GPUs.

2017. Cloud Foundry adds native Kubernetes support

Cloud Foundry, the open-source platform as a service (PaaS) offering for enterprise, made an early commitment to Docker containers. However, with the introduction of Kubo, a tool donated to the project by Pivotal and Google last year, Cloud Foundry gained a new capability to rapidly deploy and manage a Kubernetes cluster. Kubernetes, an open-source container orchestration tool backed by Google and emerging as the industry standard for container management, is now an integral part of the Cloud Foundry platform under the new name "Cloud Foundry Container Runtime." The collaboration between Google, Pivotal, and Cloud Foundry in developing this integration comes as no surprise.

2017. Following AWS, Google Compute Engine also moves to per-second billing

Last week, Amazon Web Services introduced per-second billing for users of its EC2 service. Today, Google has made a similar announcement, implementing per-second billing for Google Compute Engine, Container Engine, Cloud Dataproc, and virtual machines (VMs) in App Engine's flexible environment. This updated pricing model also covers preemptible machines and VMs running premium operating systems such as Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and SUSE Enterprise Linux Server. Notably, Google's offering surpasses AWS as it extends per-second billing to a wider range of instances, including Windows Server and various Linux distributions, which were previously subject to separate hourly charges on the AWS platform. Like AWS, Google will charge a minimum of one minute for the usage duration.

2017. AWS introduced per-second billing for EC2 instances

In recent years, several alternative cloud platforms have shifted towards more flexible billing models, primarily adopting per-minute billing. However, AWS is taking it a step further by introducing per-second billing for its Linux-based EC2 instances. This new billing model applies to on-demand, reserved, and spot instances, as well as provisioned storage for EBS volumes. Furthermore, both Amazon EMR and AWS Batch are transitioning to this per-second billing structure. It is important to note that there is a minimum charge of one minute per instance, and this change does not affect Windows machines or certain Linux distributions that have their own separate hourly charges.

2017. AWS offers a virtual machine with over 4TB of memory

Amazon's AWS has introduced its largest EC2 machine yet, the x1e.32xlarge instance, boasting an impressive 4.19TB of RAM. This represents a significant upgrade from the previous largest EC2 instance, which offered just over 2TB of memory. These machines are equipped with quad-socket Intel Xeon processors operating at 2.3 GHz, up to 25 Gbps of network bandwidth, and two 1,920GB SSDs. It is evident that only a select few applications require this level of memory capacity. Consequently, these instances have obtained certification for running SAP's HANA in-memory database and its associated tools, with SAP offering direct support for deploying these applications on these instances. It's worth mentioning that Microsoft Azure's largest memory-optimized machine currently reaches just over 2TB of RAM, while Google's maximum memory capacity caps at 416GB.

2017. Rackspace acquires multi-platform hybrid IT management solution Datapipe

Rackspace has announced its acquisition of Datapipe, a major competitor in the managed public and private cloud services industry. While Datapipe has achieved significant success with enterprise and government clients, Rackspace has traditionally focused on the mid-market segment. Notably, the two companies have not consistently competed for the same deals, and their product portfolios differ substantially. Rackspace acknowledges that it could have attained similar technical capabilities through multiple smaller acquisitions, but this approach would have been more time-consuming and may not have granted Rackspace access to Datapipe's current customer base. Among Datapipe's customers are numerous large public-sector organizations, including the U.S. departments of defense, energy, and justice, as well as the U.K.'s cabinet office, ministry of justice, and department of transportation.

2017. VMware Cloud is now live on Amazon Web Services

Last autumn, VMware and AWS announced a strategic partnership, and now they have unveiled a unified solution for enterprises called VMware Cloud on AWS. VMware Cloud on AWS offers customers a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud environment that maintains consistent architecture, capabilities, and operational experience across their on-premises vSphere-based infrastructure and AWS. Although AWS operates its own virtual machines (VMs), they differ from those used by VMware in data centers. This disparity poses management challenges for companies seeking to utilize both platforms. By enabling organizations to migrate to AWS while retaining their VMware VMs in the public cloud, they can enjoy the benefits of both worlds without encountering management complexities.

2017. Google App Engine gets a firewall

Finally, Google App Engine is introducing a comprehensive firewall with advanced features. Previously, developers faced challenges in easily limiting access to their applications on the service to a specific set of IP addresses or ranges, especially for testing purposes. They had to incorporate a custom solution directly into their applications, resulting in incurred costs even for rejected requests that still reached their applications in some capacity. Now, developers have the convenience of utilizing the Google Cloud Console, App Engine Admin API, or the gcloud command-line tool to establish access restrictions that permit or block specific IP addresses. By placing the firewall in front of the application, rejected requests are intercepted before reaching the application, eliminating the need for App Engine to initiate unnecessary resources only to reject those requests. This enhancement streamlines access management, reduces costs, and optimizes resource allocation within Google App Engine.

2017. Microsoft launched new archival storage option for Azure

Microsoft has recently unveiled a new storage option, known as Azure Archive Blob Storage, for its cloud computing platform Azure. This addition offers developers a more cost-effective solution for storing large volumes of archival data, including logs, raw camera footage, audio recordings, transcripts, medical documents, and images. The key distinction between the "cool" and "archive" tiers lies in the pricing structure and accessibility of the data. While archival storage comes at a lower cost, the retrieval expenses are higher. Additionally, data stored in the archive tier is not readily available for immediate access. The stored blobs undergo a process of "rehydration," which can take up to 15 hours for blobs holding less than 50GB of data. It is worth noting that Amazon Glacier and Google Near, which provide similar cold storage services, have been established options for several years.

2017. Google Cloud Platform gets a cheaper, lower-performance networking tier

Google is introducing a new networking option for users of its Cloud Platform that offers a more affordable solution. Developers now have the choice between a premium tier, which prioritizes routing traffic over Google's high-speed networks to minimize distance and hops, and a standard tier, which relies on the public internet with potential slowdowns and additional hops. The standard tier is priced 24-33 percent lower than the premium tier in North America and Europe. However, Google applies different pricing models to each tier. The premium tier's pricing is based on the source and destination of the traffic, accounting for the distance it travels over Google's network. In contrast, the standard tier's prices are determined solely by the source location. This new offering provides Cloud Platform users with increased flexibility and cost savings depending on their networking requirements.

Editor: Michael Stromann
Michael is an expert in IT Service Management, IT Security and software development. With his extensive experience as a software developer and active involvement in multiple ERP implementation projects, Michael brings a wealth of practical knowledge to his writings. Having previously worked at SAP, he has honed his expertise and gained a deep understanding of software development and implementation processes. Currently, as a freelance developer, Michael continues to contribute to the IT community by sharing his insights through guest articles published on several IT portals. You can contact Michael by email