Beyond The Big 2: 10 Benefits Of Alternate IaaS Providers

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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.

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 "alternates" 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 which 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, 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 which 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 the recognized leaders in the industry. There's very little these Big 2 providers don't offer today. They're also frontrunners 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 – which 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.

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