Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) software has been a hot topic in the tech world for quite some time. It promises to increase operational flexibility while also reducing cost of ownership and complexity. This excitement is well-deserved, as IaaS offerings promise to offer a bundle of infrastructure components hosted on the cloud that were typically created and managed by IT teams on-premises. For example, if on-premises IT infrastructure is like owning a car, IaaS is like leasing one.
IaaS providers typically offer servers, storage, networking, and virtualization services, which ultimately save IT teams both time and money. Many IaaS offerings also include integrations with other commonly used software, to provide a full suite of virtualized computer resources over the internet.
If you are just getting started in your search for an IaaS service that is right for your team, you’ve probably identified Amazon Web Services (AWS) as one of the most talked-about solutions. On TrustRadius, AWS is one of the most frequently searched for IaaS tools.
While AWS is one of the most popular IaaS products, there are of course other providers to choose from. Below, we’ll take a look at why AWS is most commonly used, and some alternatives you might consider.
How Amazon Web Services Helps IT Teams
AWS is one of the most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platforms, offering over 165 services. While we are focusing on its IaaS ability in this article, AWS also has platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and packaged software (SaaS) offerings as well. AWS aims to offer every component of IT functionality as a service, so in terms of IaaS, AWS is a good choice for organizations looking for a one-stop-shop for all their cloud computing needs.
For your IaaS basics, AWS has you covered—they can take over the management of your networking, server, storage, and virtualization needs, leaving you to focus on anything else you’d like. If you need support for your OS, data storage, and app deployment needs, AWS has services pertaining to those features as well.
Users on TrustRadius write that AWS’s pay-as-you-go pricing system is a big draw, great for businesses of all sizes. AWS users also enjoy its capabilities for rapid deployment and scaling, easy-to-navigate user interface, high-quality customer support, and—you guessed it—diversity of services.
“It is a well-balanced service for commercial-scale applications or at-home start-ups. You can experiment with different environments to find a configured that suits your needs, without the fear of long-term consequences. This allows for high performing, highly available architecture that is also cost-effective. You can configure your environment down to the minutia, or launch a wizard to handle it for you, allowing for mass-scale deployments.”~ Denzel Robinson | Operation Engineer | Asurion
But what other IaaS solutions are out there? Could another tool serve your company’s needs? Here are the top 6 most researched alternatives to AWS:
Top 6 Alternatives to Amazon Web Services
1. Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing solution designed for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services offered by Microsoft, using their data centers located around the world. It not only hosts IaaS tools, but those for platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) as well. A unique feature of Azure is its ready-made, industry-specific solutions for categories ranging from gaming to big data.
Azure users love its speed of deployment and the ease at which users can navigate its interface. Also, because it’s a Microsoft product, users praise how easily Azure integrates with Microsoft products such as Excel and other Office 365 services.
“With Microsoft Azure we now have the ability to develop and deploy cross-platform web and mobile applications in a short turnaround. Along with this, the data is stored seamlessly in a secure fashion all in the cloud.”~ Verified User | Engineer in Information Technology | Marketing & Advertising Company
2. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) is a set of integrated, subscription-based IaaS tools that allow organizations to work with Oracle’s Autonomous Database Cloud based on their unique needs. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has products speaking specifically to computing, storage, networking, containers, security, edge services, VMWare, and intranet.
Its users love that its user interface is very easy to navigate, which makes it great for introducing new team members. Users also give kudos to its data backup capabilities and integration with PeopleSoft systems, Oracle’s enterprise resource planning software.
“Any time that a project or prototype needs to gather some momentum then Oracle IaaS is a no brainer as it allows you to develop something real in a matter of weeks rather than months.”~ Daniel Willmott | BI Consultant | Beyond Systems Limited
3. Google Compute Engine
Google Compute Engine is the IaaS component of Google Cloud Platform, Google’s comprehensive suite of cloud computing services. Google Compute Engine allows users to create and run virtual machines (VMs) on Google infrastructure. It supports the creation of custom machine types and promises to provide entirely carbon-neutral infrastructure to users.
Similar to OCI, users report that Google Compute Engine makes deployment a breeze and also has a great user interface. Users also call out Google Compute Engine’s great GPU offerings, some of which aren’t available with competitors, and its RAM capabilities.
“Google Compute Engine is particularly well suited for multi-environment testing, development, and experimentation with the low cost of spinning up small instances along with the speed at which it can be done.”~ Verified User | C-Level Executive in Information Technology | Computer Software Company
DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure solution with support for Kubernetes. It’s designed for easily building, testing, managing, and scaling applications. A key attribute of DigitalOcean is its “Droplets” feature—Droplets are Linux-based VMs that run on top of virtualized hardware. According to DigitalOcean, each Droplet is a new server for customers to use and delete as needed.
One of Digital Ocean’s biggest selling points is its low cost—users on TrustRadius consistently highlight DigitalOcean’s low monthly rates and prices per resource. Many also suggest that DigitalOcean is best for small businesses and startups operating on a budget. Users also report that DigitalOcean has great response speeds, server reliability, and useful, steadily updated documentation for a variety of setups.
“Love the speed in which one can spin up a fresh machine, it literally takes only a few seconds. Why bother with virtual machines when you can just as easily do it in the cloud? The community is particularly responsive and helpful.”~ Chris Gabriel | Interactive Designer & Developer | Macy’s.com
5. IBM Cloud
Next up are three cloud infrastructure components from IBM: IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers, IBM Cloud Object Storage, and IBM Cloud Virtual Servers. IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers provide users with a single-tenant bare metal server without a hypervisor and can be purchased pre-configured if necessary or configured to a customer’s unique specifications. IBM Cloud Virtual Servers provide scalable cloud infrastructure with a managed hypervisor. Lastly, IBM Cloud Object Storage is great for archiving and backing up “practically limitless” amounts of data.
Users of these products call out their great account management features and ease of use for small businesses. And as IBM acquired SoftLayer, a former IaaS product, IBM Cloud products have incorporated many of its beloved selling points like being fully redundant and offering a variety of server setup and management options. This was important to those who transitioned to IBM Cloud offerings, as they really found them to be necessary utilities for their teams.
“We use virtual servers in the entire organization, and we use them to process vehicle tracking data and show results instantly on the customer portal. IBM servers have helped us deliver direct service to nearly 5,000 customers on a regular and consistent basis…It is very convenient for all services that rely on instantaneous and fast interaction.”~ Yasser Gohar Al Baraka | Technical Solutions Director | INJAZ e-Business Solutions
6. Rackspace Managed Hosting
Rackspace Managed Hosting is an IT service product from the Texan cloud computing company, Rackspace. Its users lease dedicated hardware from Rackspace, and get to choose their own operating system while Rackspace takes care of administration, management, and support. Rackspace offers bare metal servers with multi-cloud connectivity, dedicated databases, and support of cloud platforms through AWS, Microsoft, and OpenStack.
Based on user reviews on TrustRadius, Rackspace is well-known for having excellent customer service and response times to inquiries. Users also like Rackspace’s robust server offerings and flexibility in terms of complex layouts, storage scalability, and distributed workloads.
“If you need to run a moderately large sized service, like a website, and need to know it is in capable hands and ready to weather anything from malicious attacks to massive loads, Rackspace is the provider for you.”~ Verified User | Employee in Information Technology | Retail Company
Want to go deeper into IaaS solutions?
If these solutions weren’t quite what you were looking for, never fear. These are just the top 6 of many. Check out reviews of these products and other IaaS software to get a sense of their pros, cons, and whether they will work for your use case.