Beyond The Big 2: 10 Benefits Of Alternate IaaS Providers - InformationWeek
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Beyond The Big 2: 10 Benefits Of Alternate IaaS Providers

If you're looking at infrastructure-as-a-service options, you're already aware Gartner has declared Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure as the Big 2 in the market. And, in many cases, they're all you'll need. But sometimes, your unique business requirements will make an alternate IaaS provider a better fit for your organization. Here, we outline 10 benefits to help you decide what's right for your needs.
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(Image: BeeBright/iStockphoto)

(Image: BeeBright/iStockphoto)

We've all heard the old saying "bigger is not always better." Such is the case with your infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider.

According to Gartner's 2016 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service, "The market for cloud IaaS has consolidated significantly around two leading service providers." While these Big 2 players -- Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure -- offer a wide range of services and integration partners in their ecosystems, choosing an IaaS provider depends wholly upon your business needs.

That's not to imply all the alternatives we'll be discussing here are diminutive. In fact, IBM and Verizon are among the service providers whose IaaS offerings we'll be discussing. It's simply that, when their IaaS services are stacked up against the Big 2, they qualify as alternative options. We'll also be talking about smaller providers who offer certain specialties that might be important to your organization.

Still, choosing a player other than the Big 2 can feel risky. In fact, the Gartner report further said customers may be at risk in choosing an alternate service provider for various reasons, including lack of maturity and vision, and a reduced number of integration options.

I tend to disagree. I believe there are plenty of unique strengths offered by alternative IaaS providers that can prove invaluable to potential customers.

[How does your data center stack up? Read 7 Cool Data Center Innovations.]

In fact, the Gartner report outlines 10 strengths offered by alternative IaaS providers. We highlight those here, along with additional advice as you weigh your decision about whether AWS, Azure, or an alternative IaaS provider is right for your organization.

Before we get started, let's note there are plenty of very good reasons why IaaS services from Amazon and Microsoft are recognized as leading offerings in the industry.

There's very little these Big 2 providers don't offer today. They're also front-runners when it comes to leveraging emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Still, alternative cloud providers can fill many gaps -- primarily in the areas of service and support. That fact could make all the difference, depending on your business needs. It's in these instances where you'll find the true benefits of alternate IaaS providers.

Once you've reviewed our list of benefits, tell us about your own experiences in the comments section below. Have you worked with one of the Big 2? Have you chosen an alternate IaaS provider for your organization? We want to hear from you.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Apprentice
8/26/2016 | 2:40:30 AM
Spot on, especially regarding the benefits of actually having a vendor that cares about your business
Many good points in this article. I think the most important issue for us was the level of support provided by an IAAS provider. When you are betting your entire architecture on IAAS it is nice to know that a vendor has your back. Costs are not the most important part of the equation and it is important to remember that if you experience downtime there can be significant costs as well. We chose iLand as an IAAS provider and we have seen them continue to innovate by offering and industry leading cloud management console as well as strong vendor alliances which give us the best disaster recovery solution in the industry (Zerto). 
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