CloudNews & Analysis

New Study Shows Why Developers Don’t Trust Hyperscalers


While trust is an important factor for developers when choosing a cloud hosting provider, it is not just the big three hyperscalers alone – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure – that they trust. Their preference of choosing a cloud hosting provider and trusting it depends on how much these providers are meeting their needs, according to a new study by ClearPath that gathered insights from more than 800 developers at small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in a wide variety of industries and geographies around the world.

The study found that although SMB developers voice trust in their provider of choice in general, a deeper examination of their values uncovers a trust issue when it comes to major cloud providers.

A bold and interesting observation of the study is that at least a fifth or more of the developers surveyed believed that the Big three hyperscalers are going to fail in measures of their values. Stephanie Fairchild, senior analyst at ClearPath Strategies says that the hyperscalers are going to leverage their brand to stifle competition.

“The problem with hyperscalers is that they believe they’re going to focus on their shareholders’ needs more than the developers’,” she says.

“There have been occasions when hyperscalers use the data the developers create and then monetize it for their own use without their permission. They also lock them in with proprietary tools and they’re going to compete against them and put them out of business. There is also a risk that they take their proprietary information, recreate it and sell it as their own,” explains Fairchild.

The study in fact sees that factors that generally play a role in the selection process are: Is the provider going to deliver industry-standard security? Are they going to scale robustly with their infrastructure? Are they going to offer transparent pricing? And these are just not limited to big providers, but several alternative cloud providers delivering equally effective performance and security can also be their trusted partners.

The survey reveals that trust plays an important role in developers’ choice of a cloud hosting provider but needs take precedence. When prioritizing needs or values, developers report they prioritize needs over values 73% of the time. Factors other than trust that plays a role in developers’ preference of their chosen third-party cloud provider include security and quality of service.

“Criteria such as security and performance clearly take priority over these trust issues for developers, but it’s interesting to note that a sizable portion of developers are thinking about how their values align with those of their service providers,” says Fairchild.

“It’s no secret that the extensive functionality and brand awareness of hyperscalers make them popular choices for developers, but their standing with SMBs weakens with respect to values,” says Blair Lyon, vice president, cloud experience, Linode that commissioned the report.

Lyon sees that an alternative cloud provider can be a more trustworthy partner for innovative upstarts—one that offers predictable pricing and doesn’t threaten or compete with their business.

According to him, “When an alternative cloud provider meets a developer’s functional needs, developers can have the best of both worlds: a provider they can trust to meet their needs and one that shares their values as well.”

The key takeaway from this study is that there is a reason to withhold trust in big hyperscalers in relation to their trust in their values. And that’s indeed good news for smaller providers. When small providers tend to match on measures of performance and security, they can be trustworthy to the developers.

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