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Introduction to the Top Public Cloud Platforms

2h 37m
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The public cloud is a range of computing services that are offered by platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and making them available over the internet. They are readily accessible to all that want to use and/or purchase them.

Choosing the right public cloud provider is becoming an increasingly nuanced discussion that goes well beyond scale. There are three major players in the public cloud platforms arena - Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft's Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. The top cloud computing companies are addressing a large and growing market. In turn, they provide a wide array of cloud-related products and services, including infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service solutions (SaaS). 

This learning path provides you with an overview of the three platforms and then takes a closer look at each. By looking at the three platforms together, you will be able to see what the strengths and weaknesses of each are, how they align with your larger goals, as well as get a sense of where the industry is heading as a whole.

For individuals and organizations looking for a deeper understanding of the cloud computing space, or some direction for which platform to dive deeper into depending on the direction you are looking to head, this is a great starting point.

Learning Objectives

  • Obtain a baseline understanding of the three main cloud vendors on the market today: AWS, Azure, and GCP
  • Learn about their core features and capabilities

Intended Audience

This learning path is ideal for anyone looking to learn more about the cloud and cloud computing.


Since this is an introductory-level learning path there are no prerequisites, however, we would recommend having an interest in cloud computing.


What is the difference between a public cloud and a private cloud?

The key differentiator between the two clouds is that with public clouds you don’t have to worry about managing the hosting solution. Your data is housed on the host’s data center, which makes the provider responsible for maintaining the data center.

What is the difference between public, private, and hybrid clouds?

Public clouds are managed and maintained by a cloud vendor. These clouds may be free or subscription-based. Private clouds are managed and maintained by your company. The initial cost of setting up a private cloud can often be cost-prohibitive. A hybrid cloud is a blend of both private and public. Hybrids may use the private portion may be used for housing secure data or IT workloads, and then use the public portion to offset the sporadic spikes in network traffic.

What is AWS cloud?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a secure cloud service similar to a private cloud, yet it offers many of the benefits of a public cloud including additional compute power, storage for your data, and other functionality designed to help your business grow without the costs of creating a true private cloud.

What is the difference between Azure and AWS?

AWS offers multiple functionalities and is a more seasoned solution for your cloud needs. While many of these functions add overall cost to use, they are enterprise-friendly for larger organizations. Azure offers a solid hybrid cloud solution for those companies looking to offset some of the network traffic while still keeping things very secure.

What is the difference between IaaS and PaaS?

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the basic level. It provides pre-configured systems via an interface or hypervisor. The next step up is Platform as a Service (PaaS), which includes the operating system and applications. This type of service is attractive to companies looking to create applications in a specific environment, while not being required to maintain the platform.

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About the Author
Ben Lambert
Software Engineer
Learning paths

Ben Lambert is a software engineer and was previously the lead author for DevOps and Microsoft Azure training content at Cloud Academy. His courses and learning paths covered Cloud Ecosystem technologies such as DC/OS, configuration management tools, and containers. As a software engineer, Ben’s experience includes building highly available web and mobile apps. When he’s not building software, he’s hiking, camping, or creating video games.

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