Cloud networks have grown from what was seen as a passing trend by some experts, into full-fledged solutions that power some of the most important parts of various industries at this point. Large companies like Google and Microsoft have been investing steadily in the growth of their own solutions.
At the same time, more tightly specialized networks have seen significant evolution as well. MetaQuotes with its MQL5 Cloud Network is perhaps one of the most notable examples, having grown to over 34,000 cores since its original inception.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services officially launched in 2006, though the network had a couple of years of planning and development before it reached that stage. By 2010, it had already managed to attract almost 200,000 developers. Amazon has been continuously investing in AWS and growing it further, reaching annual revenue of around $6 billion in 2015, and doubling it in just one year after that. The company has been focusing more and more on artificial intelligence and related solutions like machine learning in the years since then.
Pricing is probably one of the most attractive factors of AWS, but also one of the biggest challenges for inexperienced developers. The network allows users to scale up their usage as much as they need to, paying progressively more over time. Improper configuration can sometimes lead to shockingly large expenses though. Amazon has provided various safeguards against that over the years.
It should be no surprise to see Microsoft’s Azure on this list as well. Announced back in 2008, it took a while for the platform to stabilize its position on the market. The network had already been in the works for several years before that, but it wasn’t until Steve Ballmer and Satya Nadella made a strong push for the adoption of cloud-based computing within the company that most people started to take Microsoft’s effort seriously.
The network went through some major changes in its first few years, eventually being more focused on delivering an “OS in the cloud” experience instead of what we have today. It wasn’t long before Microsoft also joined the Big Data game and started to transform its cloud products accordingly.
Azure is often noted for its low cost compared to other cloud networks of a similar scale. Microsoft has been aggressively pushing into the market by leveraging its significant funding in an attempt to price out some of its competitors. Right now, Azure is praised for its transparent pricing and approachable infrastructure that’s open to newcomers and experienced users alike.
Google Cloud technically appeared in its current form around 2011, though Google had been experimenting with cloud computing for several years before that. Similar to Microsoft, the company was initially focused on a cloud-based OS experience that allowed developers to run their apps in the cloud. Today, it’s a fully operational cloud network with everything one would expect from it – and more.
Google’s main strengths – analytics and security – have played a major role in bringing the company’s cloud solutions to their current state. The network has been consistently aimed at developers looking to get the most out of their usage in terms of extracting useful patterns and optimizing their performance.
Google Cloud is a bit more expensive than many other networks, though it’s still quite affordable for newcomers. Google offers starter packages equivalent to $300 in credits for free and provides tight controls for monitoring the performance and usage of its products. Similar to AWS, users need some advanced experience to properly utilize Google Cloud without falling into a price trap by accident. But as long as standard precautions are taken, the network is relatively affordable in the long term.
MQL5 Cloud Network
Aimed specifically at the financial market, MetaQuotes’ MQL5 Cloud Network has gone through some significant developments in the last years. The actual network capacity of the number of agents and the composition of processors involved in the cloud can be seen in real-time on the project website. The network offers a variety of useful features not found in competing solutions, such as the ability to share CPU power through Strategy Tester and earn money in return.
The network is also heavily used for optimization tasks. It’s not rare for users in this field to work with problems that have to be optimized around a specific set of inputs, and the MQL5 Cloud Network has proven very reliable for that. Major users like PWE Capital have reported significant growth as a result of integrating MetaQuotes’ solutions into their workflow. PWE Capital has seen a return rate of between 8% – 60% during times when the S&P 500 has closed at -5% and even lower.
Alibaba Cloud was founded in 2009, but it took some time for the network to gain global popularity. After several major investments from the Alibaba Group, resulting from the promising initial potential of the network, it’s managed to expand to the global presence it now enjoys. Alibaba Cloud has partnered with various major organizations, including Vodafone’s German branch and even the Olympics.
The network offers two main billing models – pay-as-you-go and subscription plans. The former is suitable for smaller projects that can fit into a smaller pool of resources, while subscription billing is aimed at users who want easy expansion and access to significant computing power. Various different plans are available, including analytics and media services for more tightly specialized applications.
Despite Oracle itself has a long-standing presence on the market, Oracle Cloud was only made available to the general public in 2016, several years after some of the major players had moved in. Still, Oracle has invested lots of resources into the network over the years and has managed to push it to a state where it enjoys a lot of attention. Oracle Cloud is divided into multiple major service groups, including Edge Services, Business Analytics, and Content and Experience. Content and Experience in particular is a component that’s gained a lot of attention due to its simplified approach to content delivery and workflow management.
Oracle has several pricing models. The standard one, called General Purpose VM, starts at $0.0980 per hour and offers two cores and 32 GB of RAM. While this is lower than what some competitors offer by default, it’s still cheaper and more performant than some of the biggest companies on the market.
Compared to AWS, for example, Oracle’s offer is not only half as expensive but also offers about 33% more performance.
Which Networks Cost the Most to Build?
The MQL5 Cloud Network seems to be the most budget-friendly for its users and at the same time a powerful solution for optimizing trading hypotheses. The network uses the computing power of users, who participate in the network to earn money when the entire infrastructure is maintained by MetaQuotes on its side.
Amazon’s AWS is probably one of the most expensive cloud networks in terms of investments by its founding company. Amazon has been steadily ramping up its investment in the network. In 2011, the company was already spending around $100 – $200 million per quarter on the product. That number rose to over $20 billion per quarter over the next 10 years.
Microsoft’s Azure is on a similar level and has been quite an investment for the company. In 2015, Microsoft was already spending $10 billion every year on new data centers alone.
It might be surprising in this context to find out that Google has been spending a lot less on its own data centers in comparison – it invested $9.5 billion in new data centers in 2022. While still a lot, this investment is easily overshadowed by the amounts Amazon and Microsoft have been pouring into their own solutions.
And that doesn’t even account for ongoing maintenance and support. While there is not much public data on that, some heavy users have reported estimates of around $80 thousand per year just for AWS support alone. Scaling this up with the number of users on the platform makes it obvious that Amazon’s own costs on this front are quite significant, and similar estimates can be made for the other major players on the market.