The fact that all major cloud platform providers offer a similar set of basic services could lead to the conclusion that the public cloud has become a commodity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When it comes to adopting or migrating to a public cloud, there are important differences between service providers. The distinctions are even more dramatic for organizations that are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) or need to optimize the performance of mission-critical systems like SAP.

As the pace of advancement in hardware performance long enabled by Moore’s Law has slowed, other factors have assumed more importance in supporting the modern, microservices-based, cloud-native constructs that today’s enterprise IT organizations aspire to build. These include graphics processing units, object storage, high-speed networks, virtual machines, and software containers. All cloud providers offer these options, but the distinctions between them can be significant when you’re thinking about infrastructure modernization.

For example, Google’s Tau virtual machines provide up to 42% better price/performance compared to general-purpose offerings from other providers. For organizations that plan to shift applications to software containers, the Google Kubernetes Engine is a fully managed service with automatic provisioning and support for clusters of up to 15,000 nodes from the company that invented Kubernetes. These features are available only on Google Cloud.

Other innovations available only on Google Cloud include the high-performance C3 machine series with Google’s custom Intel Infrastructure Processing Units and Hyperdisk block storage, which delivers 80% higher input/output performance per virtual CPU than similar offerings from other cloud providers.

Google’s own Tensor Processing Units are application-specific integrated circuits that are optimized for machine learning workloads. Vertex AI accelerates machine learning with a unified platform and tooling that support MLOps practices and development on optimized infrastructure.

SAP customers can take advantage of innovations like BigQuery Connector for SAP, which is the fastest route to unlock business agility through analytics on top of SAP data.

A history of scale

All these features separate Google Cloud from the pack in the domain of performance, reliability, and price. But some distinctions are less tangible than others. For companies that plan to grow their computing footprint to achieve new insights from large-scale analytics, a cloud provider’s deep domain experience with highly scalable infrastructure is a critical consideration.

Google’s YouTube service, for example, now has 2.6 billion global users who collectively watch more than 1 billion hours of video content every day and upload 500 hours of video per minute without performance degradation. Google’s Gmail service has more than 1.5 billion users, and Google’s market-leading search engine processes more than 105,000 queries per second.

These services are among the largest and most demanding on the planet, which begs the question: If you plan to build a house, do you want to work with someone who has built 1,000 mansions or one whose experience is limited to a few small rooms?

Building (or migrating to) the right infrastructure in the cloud is one of the most important initiatives your IT organization will oversee. When choosing a service provider, ask the right questions to ensure that their portfolio matches your current needs and that it will also be ready for what comes next – even if no one knows exactly what the future will look like.