Tiny clouds taking on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud

A baker’s dozen of boutique clouds challenging the big three on speed, cost, flexibility, and even on-prem and hybrid cloud options

Clouds have to be big, right? If the best feature of the cloud is that you can just click and start up a machine in seconds, it follows that there must be vast warehouses loaded with computers out there somewhere. Huge warehouses filled with tall racks of machines arranged in endless rows, like a modern digital version of the ending of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

The word “big” is relative, though. The biggest clouds—AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform—may attract much of the market share, but they’re far from the only companies in the game. Some smaller companies are developing niches and finding a way to compete even though their racks of machines are miniscule, at least compared to the big three.