Top 8 Cloud Platforms to Watch Out for in 2021 and Reasons to Learn Them Now

Today, cloud technology is the key driver of a paradigm shift from traditional IT services to next-generation computing solutions, redefining the way companies deliver software and applications, and customers use them.  

The rapid proliferation of IoT (Internet of Things), 5G technologies, and edge computing, along with a rise in Big Data consumption, as well as the increased use of AI-powered, real-time data analytics, are significantly contributing to the adoption of cloud computing worldwide. 

A cost-effective alternative to on-premises IT and the foundation of app-based, data-driven tech environments, cloud computing provides businesses with easy access to a variety of resources from anywhere, at any time, including databases, servers, storage, and virtual machines. 

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Taking advantage of the fast-growing cloud infrastructure, forward-thinking organizations are migrating their services, applications, and software to the cloud, in order to become more adaptive, agile, and responsive. Because of that, investments worth billions of dollars are coming into the cloud ecosystem in recent times. 

According to Gartner, Inc, the world's leading research and consulting firm, the global public cloud market will have a $300 billion economy by 2021. Statista, the Internet's leading statistical database, predicts that the Cloud market will exceed $362.3 billion by 2022, while consulting firm MarketsandMarkets forecasts that the cloud computing market will reach $832.1 billion by 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of 17.5 percent, up from $371.4 billion in 2020. 

Cloud-based services, which offer scalable resources, allow for faster innovation, and have a pay-as-you-go model, are increasingly becoming mainstream. Studies indicate that more than 60 percent of businesses will use Cloud computing by 2022, nearly twice the number reported in 2018. As more and more companies position themselves to leverage Cloud computing, the demand for Cloud professionals is also skyrocketing.

Market analysts agree that cloud-related positions, such as Cloud Systems Engineer, Cloud Operations Architect, Cloud Solutions Consultant, and Full Stack Developer, will be the most in-demand job roles in 2021. Those with in-depth knowledge of major cloud platforms will be the most sought-after tech professionals. 

In this article, we've compiled a list of top 8 cloud computing platforms you need to pay attention to if you want to fast-track your career growth in 2021.

What Is a Cloud Platform?

A Cloud platform hosts the server hardware and operating system in a web-based datacenter. The platform enables the coexistence of hardware and software, and it offers remote connectivity to compute services at scale.

Businesses leveraging a cloud platform can remotely access a variety of pay-per-use computing services, including databases, servers, analytics, storage, intelligence, networking, and software. Organizations do not have to build and own computing infrastructure or data centres. They only pay for the services they use.

The cloud platforms permit enterprises to create and test applications, as well as store, retrieve, analyze, and back up data. Companies can also embed business intelligence into operations, stream videos or audios, and deliver on-demand software on a worldwide scale.

Although cloud platforms come in a variety of flavors, the following models are the most common:

Public Cloud Platforms:

A public cloud platform is a third-party cloud service provider that delivers scalable computing resources via the Internet. Typical examples of public cloud platforms include IBM Bluemix, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and AWS (Amazon Web Services).

Private Cloud:

Private cloud platforms are managed by an organization's internal IT department. They use existing infrastructure and resources that already exist at a company's on-premises data center. Private cloud platforms offer the highest level of cybersecurity.

Hybrid Cloud Platforms:

Hybrid clouds, which combine private and public cloud platforms, provide both scalability and security. It allows enterprises to seamlessly move applications and data between private and public cloud platforms, offering increased flexibility and superior optimization of infrastructure, compliance, and security.

Top 8 Cloud Platforms in 2021

There are several cloud platforms on the market. The services offered by these platforms range from providing complete app development frameworks to computing services, such as virtual desktops, servers, and storage. Below is a list of 8 handpicked cloud platforms that you need to know about if you want to build a career as a cloud professional.

1. AWS

AWS or Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of the American multinational Amazon, is one of the most well-integrated and widely adopted cloud platforms in the world.

Amazon Web Services offers a wide range of innovative cloud-based services, including Route 53, AmazonCloudWatch, Simple Email Service, CloudTrail, Relational Database Service, Simple Queue Service, AWS Key Management Service, Elastic Compute Cloud, Simple Storage Service, DynamoDB, AWS Data Transfer, Simple Notification Service, EC2, and Virtual Private Cloud. 

AWS has an unmatched global footprint in the cloud services market with 78 AZs (Availability Zones) in twenty-five geographic regions.

AWS Features

  • Simple sign-up process
  • Super-fast deployments
  • Centralized management and billing 
  • Seamless add/remove management
  • Access to limitless capacity
  • Offers a per-hour billing model

2. DigitalOcean

Headquartered in New York City, United States, DigitalOcean is a privately-held cloud infrastructure and services provider with data centers around the globe.

One of the most comprehensive cloud platforms on the market, DigitalOcean offers cloud computing services that enable users to scale and deploy applications across multiple computers at the same time.

The company's scalable VMs (Virtual Machines), called Droplets, provide performance monitoring capabilities, add-on storage, and tight security, allowing users to run, test, and manage production applications with ease.

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DigitalOcean Features

  • Enables deployment of 1-click apps, standard distribution, or custom image
  • Flat pricing for Droplets across eight data centers in different regions
  • Flexibility of selecting Performance Plans or Standard Plans depending on business needs

3. Microsoft Azure

Azure was released in February 2010 by technology giant Microsoft to facilitate the development, testing, deployment, and management of services and applications through data centers owned and managed by Microsoft.

An agile and open-source cloud computing service, Microsoft Azure is one of the quickly-growing cloud platforms today. It offers state-of-the-art security and is compliant with 90 industry-specific, region-specific, U.S., and global regulatory compliances.

Azure integrates diverse cloud-based services, which include Windows Virtual Desktop, Microsoft Azure Stack, the Internet of Things, Developer Tools, Mixed Reality, Storage, Security, Databases, Containers, Networking, Migration, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, and Analytics.

Microsoft Azure Features

  • Superior solutions for data-related needs
  • Outstanding flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency
  • Consistent performance across clouds 
  • Allows users to scale up or down according to business requirements

4. Salesforce

A california-based software company, Salesforce Inc., offers a fully-loaded cloud computing platform that enables enterprises to accelerate application production through multiple cloud services, such as Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud. 

Salesforce provides a unique solution for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in the cloud. The cloud-based CRM suite allows users to access cutting-edge functionalities without the need to deploy costly IT infrastructure.

Salesforce Features

  • 24/7 customer support via the Service Cloud
  • Empowers organizations with real-time decision-making capabilities 
  • Automates business processes and helps manage customer contact information

5. GCP (Google Cloud Platform)

GCP is one of the most popular cloud platforms that integrates an array of advanced features and solutions. The platform is available in more than 200 countries, 20 regions, and 61 zones. 

Some of the stand-out services provided by the Google Cloud Platform include the following: Firebase, G Suite, Orbitera, Apigee, Android Enterprise, Google Hardware, Chrome Enterprise, Google Identity, Google Maps Platform, Serverless Computing, Storage, Networking, Databases, Containers, Migration, Compute, API Management, the Internet of Things, Multi-cloud, Machine Learning, and AI. 

Google Cloud Platform Features

  • Flexible, open technology that allows excellent scalability
  • Helps users solve problems with high-caliber data analytics and accessible AI
  • Eliminates the need to install IT infrastructure
  • Provides a complete suite of cloud-based services

6. IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud is one of the most reliable full-stack cloud platforms, which features a robust cloud computing suite. The cutting-edge platform offers Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) to enterprises via the private, hybrid, and public cloud models. 

The industry-leading services of the IBM Cloud include VMware, Analytics, IoT, AI, Blockchain, Dev Tools, Cloud Packs, Database, Migration, Integration, Security, Management, Storage, Network, and Compute.

IBM Cloud Features

  • Enterprise-grade cloud platform
  • Top-of-the-line scalability
  • High-performance cloud services and communications

7. Rackspace Cloud

Multinational technology company, Rackspace, operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, India, Germany, Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Switzerland. 

Rackspace's high-tech cloud platform includes a diversified portfolio of cloud-centric offerings, such as Virtual Private Server, Cloud Storage, databases, load balancers, monitoring capabilities, and backup. 

Rackspace Cloud Features

  • Fast cloud migration
  • Follows the pay-as-you-go pricing model
  • Allows users to use a mix of hard drives and SSDs (Solid State Drives) for increased performance

8. Oracle Cloud

One of the most trusted cloud platforms, the Oracle Corporation's Oracle Cloud, offers PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), DaaS (Data-as-a-Service), SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service).   

Oracle Cloud's Infrastructure-as-a-Service includes FastConnect, Ravello, DNS Monitoring, Load Balancing, Database, Networking, Storage, and Compute.

The Platform-as-a-Service offerings incorporate Data Management, Business Analytics, Application Development, Cybersecurity, Content Management, and Integration. 

The Software-as-a-Service includes Blockchain Applications, Analytics, the Internet of Things, EPM, SCM, ERP, HCM, and CX.

Data-as-a-Service is offered by the Oracle Cloud.

Oracle Cloud Features

  • Integrated and innovative cloud computing services
  • AI-powered chatbots
  • Next-generation data management
  • High-grade security
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