Top AWS Alternatives To Consider: What Can They Offer That AWS Can’t Provide?

May 13 , 2022
14 mins 51 seconds

Author: Mike Khorev


Amazon Web Services, or AWS, has been the market leader in the cloud computing and cloud services industry for more than a decade. Many enterprises and individuals alike have relied on AWS for virtually all things related to the cloud, and not without its reasons.

For instance, at the moment, Amazon Web Services offers a wider variety of services than its competitors, and to be honest, other cloud service providers and IaaS companies are still behind AWS at the moment.

With that being said, is looking for AWS alternatives relevant?

The answer is yes. Obviously, different enterprises and individuals have different needs when it comes to the choice of cloud services, and the wide choice of services offered by AWS isn’t always the best option in every scenario.

In fact, there are situations in which the variety of services offered by AWS can be a hindrance for users rather than a beneficial solution. Not to mention, for users with a tight budget, AWS is not the most affordable option, and many users have often complained about its complex billing system.

With that being said, there are AWS alternatives worth looking for when it comes to cloud service choices, and in this guide, we’re going to have a look at some of them.

How This Guide Works

As mentioned, AWS offers a wide variety of cloud services.

As of 2021, AWS offers more than 200 cloud products and services in virtually all categories related to the cloud: computing, networking, storage, database, analytics, management, virtual machine, machine learning, IoT tools, and more.

So, obviously, there are alternatives to each of these offers, so in this guide, we’ll have to divide our discussions into several sections, discussing the best alternatives to AWS as a whole (as a cloud computing suite) and the alternatives to some of the most popular AWS services:

Amazon Workspaces
AWS’s persistent desktop virtualization service

AWS hybrid cloud
Offering AWS services anywhere from on-premises, from the cloud, and at the edge

Amazon EC2
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, non-persistent desktop virtualization service

Amazon S3
Amazon Simple Storage Service, cloud storage via web service interface

Amazon Lambda
Amazon serverless computing platform

Let us begin, however, by discussing alternatives for AWS as a cloud computing suite.


AWS Alternatives: Top IaaS Providers

When it comes to all-in-one cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), there are only six cloud service providers besides Amazon that can be considered AWS alternatives:

  1. Microsoft Azure
  2. Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
  3. IBM Cloud
  4. Oracle Cloud
  5. Alibaba Cloud
  6. Tencent Cloud

While AWS can be considered the “safe” choice for most use cases, these AWS alternatives also offer some unique features and functionalities not available on Amazon’s services. Not to mention, there’s the issue of AWS’s complexity in pricing structure and feature, and these AWS alternative providers are offering different approaches in pricing structure that may attract different types of audiences.

Below we will discuss these six AWS alternatives, as well as their strengths and drawbacks. Let us begin, however, by discussing AWS as a benchmark.

AWS: Benchmark

Amazon Web Services is the current undisputed leader when it comes to cloud computing services, and its main strength is its widest range of services offered compared to the other six competitors. AWS is very versatile and can equally accommodate cloud-native, edge, and on-premises workloads.

Due to this versatility, AWS at the moment also attracts a wide range of clients, from early-stage startups to giant enterprises.


Amazon’s financial commitment
Amazon is obviously a rich company, and it has committed a large amount of investment to AWS. Meaning, as an AWS client, you can expect reliability and continuous increase in performance and values.

Innovation leader
AWS is the current innovation leader in the cloud service industry, allowing it to attract a wider range of customer types than all other cloud providers.

Amazon’s engineering advantage
AWS is leveraging Amazon’s engineering feats to stay innovative and competitive. For example, Amazon utilizes uniquely designed CPUs that offer a better price-to-performance ratio than standard CPUs. At the moment, AWS still has engineering advantages over all the other competitors.


Variance in service qualities
With AWS offering a multitude of different solutions, while many of them are really good and reliable, some of AWS’s offerings aren’t yet up to par.

AWS’s wide variety of solutions and services would also translate into additional complexity. In practice, AWS solutions may require substantial technical skills and experience, and many AWS clients end up resorting to third-party assistance (meaning additional cost) to tackle this complexity.

Pricing structure
Not only AWS’s pricing structure is often confusing and unpredictable, but clients often experience pressure from Amazon’s sales to increase their spending commitments when renewing existing contracts. Keep in mind, however, that this pressure to increase spending is not AWS’s policy, and you have the right to file a complaint without fear.

AWS Alternative 1: Google Cloud Platform

While in the recent past, Microsoft Azure is the one often considered the closest competitor to AWS, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has been rapidly gaining traction in recent years.

GCP has improved its features significantly and is now very reliable in nearly all use cases. Google is serious about entering the cloud service industry and is continuously investing in GCP to expand its capabilities and quantity/reach.

More recently, Google Cloud Platform has become the leader in cloud management and cloud-related service (i.e., container deployment.) Not only Google’s container services are better than AWS, but they are also priced lower than AWS and other competitors.


Impressive growth
More and more clients are migrating to the Google Cloud Platform in recent years, including with traditional enterprise-grade workloads. Google is especially strong in its data and analytics features.

Innovation and improvements
In recent years, Google Cloud Platform has shown astonishing year-over-year improvements, allowing GCP to chase both Azure and AWS in terms of cloud infrastructure. There are also areas, like Kubernetes and container-related services, where GCP is simply better.

Many of Google Cloud Platform’s services are priced more attractively than those offered by AWS and Azure and sometimes can reach 50% cheaper prices. AWS also charges clients by the second instead of by the minute or hour.


Price is likely to increase
While, as mentioned, Google offers lower pricing compared to AWS and other competitors, it’s likely that this situation won’t last. GCP is currently operating on a financial loss, and as the platform matures, it’s likely that Google will discontinue this discount sooner or later.

Poorer after-service
At the moment, GCP offers relatively poor postsales service. This is due to GCP’s current rapid growth not accompanied by organizational maturity at the moment.

AWS Alternative 2: Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is very versatile, offering a multitude of solutions rivaling those of AWS, making Azure very strong in virtually all use cases.

Being a Microsoft product, Azure is especially well-suited if your organization already uses Microsoft software and infrastructure (i.e., Windows-based servers and computers.)

However, Azure is not as affordable as Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft itself emphasizes more focus on enterprise-centric services. This is why most of Microsoft Azure’s clients tend to be mid-size to large enterprises.


Powerful data services
Microsoft Azure is especially strong in the Big Data solutions department, thanks to its Cosmos DB (NoSQL database) and Databricks.

Microsoft’s infrastructure
Azure is especially popular among larger enterprises thanks to Microsoft’s credibility and the fact that many companies have always relied on Microsoft infrastructure and software. Native integration with other Microsoft products is a massive advantage.

At the moment, Azure offers the broadest sets of features compared to any other cloud service provider, including AWS. Not only does Azure offer very versatile public cloud services, but it also offers powerful developer tools like GitHub and Microsoft own’s Visual Studio.


Licensing complexities
Microsoft products are often notorious for their complex licensing and contracting, and unfortunately, Azure doesn’t escape this issue. If users are not careful, their total costs can inflate, reducing the cost-effectiveness of the Azure platform.

Relative lack of innovation
Compared to other competitors and especially Google Cloud, Azure has been relatively lackluster when it comes to innovations in the past few years.

AWS Alternative 3: Alibaba Cloud

Also known as Aliyun in China, Alibaba Cloud has been a very prominent player in the cloud computing industry, not only in China but also in Southeast Asia. Alibaba Cloud currently has the third biggest cloud market share (although mostly concentrated in China.)

Alibaba Cloud is a worthy AWS alternative if you live in China or in Asia, simply because, at the moment, Alibaba Cloud has a better distribution of services in the region. Not to mention, Alibaba offers a generally faster and better customer experience than AWS in the region.


Regional prowess
As mentioned, Alibaba Cloud currently has an outstanding leadership position in China, Southeast Asia, and Asia in general, both in terms of technical capabilities and market share.

Data and analytics capabilities
Alibaba as a company has impressive big data and analytics capabilities, and these features are also offered in Alibaba Cloud.


Alibaba Cloud, at the moment, is not as transparent with its pricing strategy, which may lead to unpredictability in costs.

Alibaba is also still a little bit lacking in transparency when it comes to technical details and implementations

Lower adoption outside China and Asia
if you are not based in China or Southeast Asia, or if your business currently doesn’t require a local Chinese presence, Alibaba might not be a good choice for your company.

AWS Alternative 4: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle is obviously one of the most prominent brands in tech, having developed some of the most popular and innovative software solutions for more than four decades. However, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) was a relative newcomer in the cloud computing industry and as an AWS alternative.

One of the key reasons to use OCI as your cloud provider is if your business is already using Oracle’s various enterprise solutions. However, OCI also offers some really great features like its Autonomous Database, a self-automating database that is not only more cost-effective but also offers significantly better performance than other AWS alternatives.


Great innovations
Oracle has been really consistent in terms of innovations, bringing the OCI closer to Google Cloud, Azure, and AWS in terms of cloud capabilities. In recent years, Oracle has introduced more new features and capabilities than any other prominent cloud provider in the industry.

Integration with Oracle solutions
Not only does OCI offer native integration with all Oracle solutions, it now serves as the underlying cloud infrastructure for all Oracle’s SaaS solutions.

Distributed cloud capabilities
Oracle offers a unique strategy in providing distributed cloud capabilities to its clients called Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer, which essentially allows enterprises to deploy a private cloud that can be operated offline (without the internet) for extra versatility.


Oracle-centric focus
OCI has more (and potentially too much) emphasis on Oracle workloads and solutions and is relatively lackluster as a general-purpose cloud provider due to its relatively limited ecosystem and overall features.

Immature features
While, as mentioned, OCI is the most innovative cloud provider in recent years, it can also be a double-edged sword. Many of OCI’s newly introduced features are immature and not yet widely tested, which may impact your workflow negatively.

AWS Alternative 5: Tencent Cloud

Similar to Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud (Tencent is a Chinese giant tech company) is mainly focused on China and Asia, especially Southeast Asia. However, it is recently expanding to other regions and is currently the only cloud provider offering core infrastructure capabilities in Russia.

Tencent cloud is especially focused on serving multinational companies in China or Chinese companies expanding overseas. In recent years, Tencent has been investing heavily in increasing its network capabilities to ensure low latencies required in gaming workloads.


Innovations in multiple niches
Tencent (being a gaming company) is leveraging its strengths in gaming, social media, and digital marketing, adding new features and capabilities in its services that support these niches.

Hybrid-cloud deployments
Especially in China, Tencent offers hybrid-cloud deployments so clients can easily integrate their existing on-premises infrastructure. This adds extra versatility to Tencent Cloud as an AWS alternative.


Presence outside China
Tencent Cloud, as mentioned, is especially focused on the China market, so more than 30% of Tencent’s regions outside China are operated by a partner. As a result of this, many key features of Tencent Cloud are not available in the regions outside China.

AWS Alternative 6: IBM Cloud

While, at the moment, IBM Cloud offers a smaller pool of virtual servers and services than what’s currently offered by AWS, IBM cloud is much simpler to use and navigate. IBM Cloud is especially focused on hybrid cloud offerings, regulated workloads, and enterprise-grade cloud services.

While IBM Cloud is easy to use, there are little to no customizability options, and it is more expensive than AWS. This is why its clients tend to be mid-size and large enterprises. However, IBM offers versatile plans that include loans with flexible leases at competitive rates.


Regulated workloads
IBM is especially focused on features to facilitate regulated workloads in regulated industries. This makes IBM an interesting AWS alternative to consider if your company needs to work with these regulated workloads.

Edge computing
IBM Cloud offers innovative features in edge computing, such as its Edge Application Manager powered by IBM Cloud Satellite.


Legacy infrastructure
IBM, as we know, is a very old company that used to specialize in legacy technologies. As a result, many of IMB Cloud’s features are not yet adequately tested.

As mentioned, at the moment, IBM Cloud’s rates are significantly more expensive than other AWS alternatives, and IBM’s Reserved Instance program is the least flexible, price-wise.


Amazon WorkSpaces Alternative: V2Cloud

Amazon WorkSpaces is AWS’s DaaS (Desktop as a Service) offering, providing desktop virtualization solutions to end-users (a client company’s employees.)

In a DaaS environment, employees can easily access a virtual desktop and every application they need to fulfill their work, anytime and from any device.

While AWS WorkSpaces is fairly reliable as a DaaS offering, V2 Cloud, another popular DaaS solution, also offers some unique benefits as an Amazon Workspaces alternative:

  • Ease of deployment
    Unlike AWS WorkSpaces, V2Cloud is fully integrated, and you can control all V2Cloud’s functionalities from just one single pane. V2Cloud can also ensure end-users’ virtual desktops are automatically switched between tablet and desktop mode depending on the current use case.
  • Performance reliability
    V2Cloud offers a very reliable image quality over any network, with multi-user Windows cloud-based desktops that can hold up to 250 users on each virtual machine.
  • Versatility
    Active Directory Integration allows users to easily connect to on-premises Windows Active Directory or other cloud-based directories, and V2Cloud’s intuitive web app offers access to cloud desktops with any web browser over a secure SSL connection. Mobile users can also use the mobile app (iOS and Android) to access the full desktop experience from their smartphones or tablets.

AWS Hybrid Cloud Alternative: VMWare Cloud on AWS

VMWare Cloud on AWS is a hybrid cloud offering that also allows full access to AWS services while keeping resources in AWS’s datacenter to ensure low latency. In this VMWare Cloud on AWS arrangement, a dedicated physical system is physically located in AWS’s data center to facilitate a true hybrid cloud environment with access to AWS solutions.

While VMWare Cloud on AWS, as the name suggests, is also based on AWS, it does offer some unique benefits and capabilities compared to AWS’s hybrid cloud offering:

  • Easy to implement, very little training of personnel is typically required since existing workflows and tools are easily reusable on VMWare
  • Integration with CloudFormation for automated and very easy deployment
  • Full access to AWS services allows easier refactoring of existing applications when needed.
  • Easy expansion of resources without needing to deploy additional infrastructure
  • Great reliability and availability. All of VMWare’s native resiliency features are fully supported, including but not limited to shared storage (for application support), automatic restart after node failure, and so on.
  • Full support for VMWare Horizon 7, allowing enterprises to use older devices to use virtual desktops for latency-sensitive applications delivered over the cloud.
  • Easy migration of Virtual Machines (VMs) between cloud and on-premises to minimize latency or other issues. Also allows migration across different geographic locations.
  • Cost-effective discounts are available based on resources consumption and licensing.
  • VMWare Site Recovery (a DR as a service offering) is fully supported, leveraging the AWS infrastructure to minimize downtime during worst-case scenarios.
  • DPR, HIPAA, ISO, and SOC compliant, allowing clients to securely develop 100% compliant solutions.

For those currently considering a move to hybrid architecture, VMWare Cloud on AWS is a great option, offering the simplest and easiest method to migrate to a hybrid cloud environment.

Wrapping Up

By integrating cloud computing into their workflow, enterprises can improve themselves in many different aspects: data security, productivity, reliability, and ultimately, revenue, and AWS is not the only viable option when it comes to cloud computing solutions.

If you are looking for alternatives to AWS for any reason, it may help to review our summary of AWS alternatives and their advantages:

  • Google Cloud
    At the moment, the industry leader in container and machine learning technologies. Clients can also leverage Google’s fast and reliable infrastructure. Often the most cost-effective cloud provider in many use cases.
  • Microsoft Azure
    Very versatile and best for businesses using Microsoft enterprise solutions, including C# developers. Also ideal for businesses looking to adopt a hybrid cloud environment.
  • Oracle Cloud
    A relatively new player but has many innovative offerings, including Oracle Cloud’s Autonomous Database service could revolutionize data analysis.
  • IBM Cloud
    Great for hybrid cloud deployment, leading the way in the ability to switch between on-premises and virtualized environments. Expensive, but it does offer justifiable values for certain use cases.
  • Alibaba Cloud
    Great fit for businesses that are based in China or Southeast Asia. Not very innovative at the moment, but very reliable and cost-effective in China, Southeast Asia, and Asia in general.
  • Tencent Cloud
    Mainly focused on the Chinese market and heavily emphasized low-latency networks for gaming workloads.

If you have any questions about how to effectively adopt the cloud for your business, or how to make the most of your cloud environment, contact us today to help you out with your performance and security needs.

Written By: Mike Khorev

With over 10 years of experience in digital marketing, web design and SEO consulting I help SaaS, Technology, Software and IT companies grow sales pipeline and revenue through performance based marketing strategies and SEO.