Understanding Cloud Data Services

Demystifying Service Offerings from Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud Platform

In the past five years, a shift in Cloud Vendor offerings has fundamentally changed how companies buy, deploy and run big data systems. Cloud Vendors have absorbed more back-end data storage and transformation technologies into their core offerings and are now highlighting their data pipeline, analysis, and modeling tools. This is great news for companies deploying, migrating, or upgrading big data systems. Companies can now focus on generating value from data and Machine Learning (ML), rather than building teams to support hardware, infrastructure, and application deployment/monitoring.

The following chart shows how more and more of the cloud platform stack is becoming the responsibility of the Cloud Vendors (shown in blue). The new value for companies working with big data is the maturation of Cloud Vendor Function as a Service (FaaS), also known as serverless, and Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. For FaaS (serverless) the Cloud Vendor manages the applications and users focus on data and functions/features. With SaaS, features and data management become the Cloud Vendor’s responsibility. Google Analytics, Workday, and Marketo are examples of SaaS offerings.

As the technology gets easier to deploy, and the Cloud Vendor data services mature, it becomes much easier to build data-centric applications and provide data and tools to the enterprise. This is good news: companies looking to migrate from on-premise systems to the cloud are no longer required to purchase directly or manage hardware, storage, networking, virtualization, applications, and databases. In addition, this changes the operational focus for a big data systems from infrastructure and application management (DevOps) to pipeline optimization and data governance (DataOps). The following table shows the different roles required to build and run Cloud Vendor-based big data systems.

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