Why do some companies choose Azure or AWS over open-source technologies like OpenStack?

Q:

Why do some companies choose Azure or AWS over open-source technologies like OpenStack?

A:

To some companies, the open-source OpenStack platform for the cloud offers significant savings and other benefits. But other firms are more likely to choose a vendor-supported platform such as AWS or Microsoft Azure.

One simple reason that many companies might go with either Amazon or Microsoft is the power of the brand. Both of these companies are household names – and Microsoft is a quite familiar name in IT. Some companies may even go with Microsoft Azure simply because they're already used to using other Microsoft products. Amazon AWS has also done an excellent job of selling itself as a preeminent cloud management choice.

Other reasons for vendor product adoption have to do with some of the common issues that often plague open-source communities. A Business Insider article describes how many companies see OpenStack as either hard to use, relatively unreliable, or less secure than an option such as AWS or Microsoft Azure. Amazon and Microsoft have undoubtedly traded on this idea, promoting their platforms and the security that they provide. Ease-of-use is a major issue for companies – they want to be able to hit the ground running with whatever model they adopt, and that's another reason why executives might choose one of the leading vendors over trying to implement an open-source solution. Another related issue regards the respective builds of the platforms in question – some contend, for example, that the API connectivity of OpenStack differs significantly from the API connectivity of AWS or Azure. In general, the big companies have the means to more fully engineer their products and offer more support to adopters.

Other factors have to do with the development of cloud services. For example, many IT professionals think of OpenStack as a dominant avenue toward hybrid cloud adoption. However, others see OpenStack’s hybrid models as relatively fragmented, and not supported in a collective, comprehensive way. At the same time, Microsoft's development of Azure Stack has positioned the company to compete in a hybrid space.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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