Microsoft Azure vs. Google Apps vs. Amazon
The Windows Azure Service Platform from Microsoft is a unique cloud offering for the Microsoft Developer Community. If you are Microsoft based shop, then Azure is the only option as of now for developing applications using .net. Microsoft envisioned the entire cloud stack keeping in mind the entire developer ecosystem which is based on .net framework. Developers can use any language based on .net could be C#, VB .Net , Iron python, Iron Ruby and also Java currently added to the list or in future any language developed targeted on .Net . It also targets PHP and Java developer too.
Azure platform is an internet-scale cloud service platform which has the following core components: Compute, Storage and Fabric. Compute provides computation environment, storage provides scalable storage in form of Blobs, Tables, Ques, Drives where as Fabric takes care of managing the underlines host of complex network cluster and virtual instances. This helps application developer to stay focused in understanding his business problem rather the underline software and hardware architecture.
Its open architecture provides developer the choice of building various kinds of applications starting from web based applications to application that can run on other connected devices. It provides database of choice. Developers can use still the very old structure relation database like SQL server or they have choice for non SQL database which can scale for large projects like social applications.
Google App Engine:
Google app engine is a platform for developing applications using Google in house managed data centers. As Google is already uses lot of applications for its enterprise, the App Engine is primarily built on the same style.
App Engine has a more limited platform. Allows developers to build applications using python or Java and provides the storage as Google proprietary BIG Table data base. As of this writing there are many standard Java features are not yet supported.
Though it has limited offering, Hosting applications in App Engine is fairly simple and robust compared other cloud offering in the market. Google has worked very hard to make sure the developer need not to take the pain to understand the underlined architecture.
If you are a Java or python shop, the ultimate platform is App Engine. Google also recently included its popular GWT on its App Engine. For Java based applications this is an added advantage they can use built in stack for web deployment.
However Google does not support built in relational database as it only provides Big Table assess through high level APIs. There are many companies providing bridge between the relational and Non relational mapping. So this only should not be big problem while considering App Engine.
Amazon web services (AWS):
Amazon is the one of the first vendor to bring the cloud infrastructure to developer community in a big way. It has an array of technologies offered on the premise of cloud computing. It has different levels of offering for different business size.
With AWS users have the flexibility to choose whichever development platform or programming model makes the most sense for a particular business problem. AWS always maintained platform agnostic from the beginning which removes the vendor lock in. In one hand the AWS architecture provides platform neutral open architecture where the developer has complete freedom to configure his own stack on the other hand the developers have to take care the administrative tasks like managing the instances, no of instances required such as compute instances, storage instances. This needs more administrative people needed. Again all this boils down to the business requirement.
Amazon provides the following key cloud platforms:
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud ( Amazon EC2 ): A web service that provides resizable raw computing over the cloud. The developers can define the entire stack starting from OS, services, databases and application stack. Amazon provides complete freedom to the developers to mix and match their requirement.
Amazon Relational Database Service ( Amazon RDS ): This offering is targeted the traditional relational data base community who needs to store the data in relation database. Underlined database used is MySql. These MySql databases can scale as requirements grows dynamically. All the database management related issues are taken care under the hood without really exposing to the user.
Amazon SimpleDB : Amazon SimpleDB is an answer to NO SQL, non relational kind of database users. SimpleDB is a highly scalable non relational data store is targeted for the companies which need to store and retrieve large scale data over the cloud.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) – A simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve large amounts of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives developers and businesses access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites.