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Interview with Softarex on Cloud Platform Options

Clutch spoke with Alexander Lipanov, President and Chief Executive Officer of Softarex Technologies, Inc., about the various cloud platforms available to organizations – an important consideration for businesses seeking a Cloud Computing Platform.

Learn more about Softarex on their Clutch profile or at softarex.com.

Background

Please describe your organization.

Our company provides software outsourcing and software development services for Healthcare, Internet of Things, Manufacturing, Media, and E-Commerce applications. One other important area of expertise for us is Energy and Utilities. We’ve been in the market for over 15 years and have also started developing our own cloud-based products and architectures. Our first software product is called codeNforcer, a corporate software quality improvement environment targeted on increasing source code quality by identifying high severity engineering flaws undetectable by testing. During our years in business, we’ve amassed a vast expertise in working with complex software applications which use Pattern Recognition, Data Mining, e-Learning, Machine Learning and other technologies, and deploy different algorithms for Data Processing. Most of our projects have been complex solutions, requiring not only knowledge in particular programming languages and platforms, but also a substantial knowledge in Applied Mathematics, Computer Science and related areas such as Healthcare, Energy and Utilities and e-Learning. While working on any given project, we develop a deep understanding of different approaches and needs. This has had a big influence on the way in which we develop software products for our clients.

What is your position?

I am the President and Chief Executive Officer.

Which cloud computing products are you most familiar with?

In general, we use Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud. Usually our clients ask us which particular solution would provide the best fit and value for their project. We evaluate their needs and requirements and select the necessary tools, either using AWS, Google Cloud or Azure services, based on the best obtainable price for the client’s particular project. We’ve also successfully delivered projects which used all three platforms in order to provide more flexibility to our customers. We’re also well familiar with Oracle Cloud and Rackspace, and as such can offer the full range of the best cloud platforms available on the market today.

Challenge

What is a common business challenge a company faces that initiates the need for these platforms?

The key challenges usually involve achieving improvements in competitiveness, compliance and operational efficiency. We had a number of projects when we have analyzed old platforms and adopted their functionalities for use in modern environments. For example, one of our customers is a well-known American medical billing organization with operations all over the USA, providing medical billing and credentialing services. It became evident that the DOS-based billing system that was in use since the 1980s lacked the necessary functionality and no longer was current with technology. We’ve since developed a new, cloud-based solution using Microsoft Azure and implemented all the necessary functionalities from the legacy system, using new technologies. We’re not simply migrating old tech applications into the cloud, but rather adopt new technologies with the same functionality and abilities for end-users.

When we need to provide a simple solution, but which allows for storing and managing large amounts of data, we will select AWS because it offers the easiest development in such cases. If we need powerful functionalities for video transformation, encoding and decoding, and video distribution, we will select Microsoft Azure. It provides a lot of features for this kind of task. If we have a difficult data processing and storage task, we will use AWS because of its extended flexibility for this direction. Microsoft Azure provides powerful instruments for machine learning, but it’s far from cheap. If our solution is not very complex, we will likely select AWS because of their clear and simple tools for machine learning which can be used in many cases.

Solution

How does your company implement these platforms?

At first, we use them during a testing stage. In most cases, we will use the same platform at the production stage as well. For example, if we intend to use the Amazon platform for production, we will take the necessary resources into a testing environment. When the solution is ready, we will take it to our production facilities and deploy that part of the process. This way, we can provide a continuous integration process for our client, as well as ample testing and acceptance services. The client can thus have a constantly-working solution that can be provided to end-users, allowing for their services to be available without interruption.

How do these platforms compare in regards to cost?

In most cases, we’ve found the Amazon platform to be the most attractive in terms of price, given its number of available tools. They generally provide a better value than Microsoft Azure. Google can be considered a good alternative to AWS for large storage needs, once measured in Petabytes.

Features

Are there any software features/tools that you were really impressed by?

Overall, AWS takes the first place, with Azure being second and Google third. In terms of cost, AWS again takes the first place, Google comes in second, while Microsoft is third. In terms of availability of tools, Microsoft and Amazon are tied for the first place, while Google comes in at second place. For machine learning needs, Microsoft is in the first place, Amazon is in the second place, and Google is third. Microsoft has a very large set of features necessary for machine learning. They provide good documentation, and more importantly, they provide tools with which visual scenarios can be built for machine learning. It is very easy to use these tools once you have a good understanding of machine learning. I’ve placed Amazon in the first place most often also because they have the best quality/cost ratio.

Looking back, are there any areas of these platforms that you feel could be added or improved upon?

In both my opinion and that of my engineers, Microsoft and Amazon require improvements in terms of their user interface. Both developers and end-users who want to purchase services from these platforms are faced with a very big-picture approach. It’s difficult to understand what the starting point is and what service needs to be bought first. Without a deep knowledge of cloud technology and solutions, it is very difficult to understand, just by researching their websites, what the first step should be. A software developer who has never used these solutions needs to spend some time searching for it, and in my opinion, usability and the ability to access this information should be improved. There is a need for developing tools or user interfaces which give an overview and navigate through different tools and services available on both platforms. All the necessary technical information for both users and software developers needs to be available as well.

Have you had any interaction with the support teams or any of the support resources of any of these platforms?

We’ve not used the support services from Amazon or Microsoft, either online or via phone calls. The Information provided on their websites has been enough for us to understand their services.

Overview

We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate all three platforms on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score.
How would you rate them for their functionality and available features?

Microsoft Azure: Five.
Amazon Web Services: Four.
Google Cloud: Four.

How would you rate each platform for ease of use and ease of implementation?

Microsoft Azure: Five.
Amazon Web Services: Four and a half.
Google Cloud: Four.

How likely are you to recommend each of these platforms to a friend or colleague, out of five?

Microsoft Azure: Four.
Amazon Web Services: Five.
Google Cloud: Three and a half.

We analyze particular projects in order to give recommendations. If a friend, colleague or company will pose this question to us, I will inquire about their needs and requirements in order to provide the right suggestion.

How would you rate each platform for your overall satisfaction with it?

Microsoft Azure: Four.
Amazon Web Services: Five.
Google Cloud: Four.

Expert quote
"The key challenges usually involve achieving improvements in competitiveness, compliance and operational efficiency. We had a number of projects when we have analyzed old platforms and adopted their functionalities for use in modern environments...We’re not simply migrating old tech applications into the cloud, but rather adopt new technologies with the same functionality and abilities for end-users."