From the magazine: Beyond the cloud turf wars

Businesses should consider smaller cloud providers for a more differentiated offering

RackWare, Cloud computing, Microsoft, AWS, Google

The big three of cloud providers AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud have hogged the “cloud wars” headlines in the recent past. And for good reason. With big-name customers and virtually unlimited resources dedicated to innovation and expansion, it’s no surprise these vendors almost always get the first look when enterprises begin to consider cloud services. In such a slanted environment, it’s easy to forget that there’s life beyond the big three. 

Todd Matters, chief architect and cofounder of RackWare, a hybrid cloud management platform, said enterprises can’t count smaller providers out when developing their cloud migration plan because there still are viable Tier 2 companies that provide great services.

“Because enterprises must focus on their application when migrating and developing their cloud strategies, everybody should have a multiple provider strategy. Nobody is going to want to rely on just a single vendor,” said Matters. “And, choosing one or two boutique providers to meet some demanding application needs makes a lot more sense,” he added.

There are plenty of companies that would be better off looking at both the small players and the bigger players when developing their cloud migration plan, Sash Sunkara, CEO and co-founder at RackWare said. This is because there are a lot of Tier 2 and Tier 3 players that are focused on specific verticals, he added.

For example, there are certain cloud providers that focus on healthcare, and they’ve done a lot to ensure they are HIPAA-compliant. There are also service providers that are focused on retail and are looking at PCI and various compliance issues and security issues that revolve around private data. “There’s a level of specialty that the smaller players provide versus the “Big 3”, said Sunkara. 

There’s a level of specialty that the smaller players provide versus the “Big 3"

Land grab

AWS, Azure, and Google are competing in a major land grab right now. They are going after every single vertical, but whether they can focus on a particular one or provide the necessary level of security, availability and reliability is still a question mark, said Sunkara.

“We’ve seen outages and issues with the large cloud providers so smaller players who can focus on and put more resources into their solution for a particular audience may make more sense than just going with the “Big 3”. It really depends on your application and your needs,” said Sunkara.

AWS and Microsoft specifically have announced major investments in opening up datacentres in the Middle East region. With the major providers dominating the cloud landscape, literally and figuratively, the average enterprise would be hard-pressed to identify any of the smaller players.   

Matters said businesses eager to explore further afield can lean on their existing partners such as service providers to point them in the right direction. “Most enterprises have service companies that they work with, either ISVs or MSPs, and using those vendors to help find those very competent Tier 2’s makes a lot of sense,” he said

RackWare: Migration and Disaster Recovery on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.


The “Big 3” themselves could gain a leg up over their equally illustrious rivals by partnering with smaller players. Matters points to the recent announcement of a partnership between Microsoft (Azure) and Oracle Cloud. “The cloud providers are playing to their strengths right now. For example, Microsoft has its own software and by partnering with Oracle Cloud infrastructure, they can be more competitive in the industry without really threatening their core cloud business.

“In turn, Oracle has an opportunity to increase their revenue by providing services where they are the dominant leader,” he said. Because they can be mutually beneficial, we will see similar partnerships moving forward, Matters reckoned. “This competition is always good for customers. It will continue to drive down prices, increase innovation and solve real problems for enterprises,” he concluded.

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