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AWS finds a place among multiple clouds, hybrid customers

Cloud computing services have expanded into various choices for the enterprise. IT teams must decide whether to go all-in with AWS, choose a hybrid model or take a multicloud approach.

Cloud computing customers have plenty of options when choosing service providers. Enterprises can go all-in with AWS -- and many do -- or use multiple clouds at once, such as Microsoft, IBM or Google. They can also choose a private cloud, such as OpenStack, or opt for hybrid cloud -- a combination of public and private cloud. The choices can be boggling, but the majority of enterprises fall into three overall buckets: all-AWS, hybrid cloud and multicloud customers.

And the types of customers that go with each cloud option generally fall into three categories.

All-in AWS customers

Enterprises that choose all-AWS come from different types of industries. Usually, they are large global 2000 enterprises that don't want to deal with other providers, preferring to rely on a single vendor for public cloud. Small enterprises -- typically those with less than a billion dollars in valuation -- also choose AWS because they can't afford the extra cost of the complexity required to support multiple clouds.

These businesses generally believe in following the leader, and that's clearly AWS in the public cloud space. Simplicity is a good strategy for these enterprises, and they do not place a value on the best options in each class.

Hybrid cloud customers

Companies that turn to hybrid cloud want to hedge their bets. They might like the idea of the public cloud, but claim that some of their workloads do not belong on public cloud platforms. So they go with a private cloud that works and plays well with a public cloud. At least, that's the hope.

Many of the public cloud portions of hybrid clouds are based in AWS, but AWS and Google do not have the private cloud options that Microsoft and IBM do. It's up to enterprise IT to knit together its own hybrid cloud and then deal with the complexities and costs. A hybrid cloud might be worth the time for businesses that want more options.

Multicloud customers

Companies that choose multicloud do so with the understanding that each cloud has unique strengths and weaknesses. These customers use a multicloud model of two or more public clouds to get the most cost-effective public cloud services.

The multicloud approach is complex. But multicloud customers typically use sophisticated tools that abstract manual processes away from the underlying infrastructure and complexities of having to deal with multiple clouds.

Cloud management platform tools can manage interfaces for multiple clouds using a single service or approach. For example, when you allocate storage, you do so using the same interface regardless of whether your storage service is on AWS, Google or Microsoft.

There are many individual approaches to enterprise cloud projects, and each comes with different complexities and tradeoffs. Enterprises can learn from the patterns of others, and they should do their homework before making a decision.

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