If you’re new to the field, you will want to choose the platform that will help you get started with cloud computing. As a longtime AWS user, I believe that this is an excellent platform for a future cloud user. But there are also valid reasons for being familiar with all of the leading cloud providers. This post is about AWS vs Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud with a focus on the following categories: Compute, analytics, storage, network, and pricing.
AWS vs Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform
First, let’s say a few words about each of the platforms:
- Amazon Web Services. Launched in 2006, AWS has a bit of a head start on the other platforms. With constant innovations and improvements over the years, the platform now has more than 70 services with a wide range of coverage. AWS servers are available in 14 geographical regions. Market share of the company is steadily growing, reporting 31% market share in the second quarter of 2016.
- Microsoft Azure. Running since 2010, Microsoft Azure is a complex system that provides support for many different services, programming languages, and frameworks. It has 67 services and data centers in 30 different geographical regions. It currently holds 11% of the market as of Q2 2016.
- Google Cloud Platform. Introduced in 2011, Google Cloud Platform is the youngest platform. Designed to meet the needs of Google Search and Youtube, it became available to everyone as a part of the Google for Work package. It has more than 50 services and 6 global data centers, with another 8 announced for 2017. With only 5% of market share and quite aggressive expansion, Google’s moment is yet to come.
Now that we know who are we dealing with, let’s start with our comparison:
Computing is a fundamental process for your entire business. The advantage of cloud computing is that you have a powerful and expandable computing force at your disposal that is ready when you need it.
The central AWS computing service is Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). EC2 has become a synonym for scalable computing on demand. Depending on the industry, additions such as AWS Elastic Beanstalk or EC2 Container Services can significantly reduce your costs. At the moment, AWS supports 7 different instance families and 38 instance types. It also offers regional support and zone support at the same time.
The heart of Microsoft Azure computing is Virtual Machines and Virtual Machine Scale Sets, which can be used for processing. Windows client apps can be deployed with the RemoteApp service. Using Azure, you can use 4 different instance families, 33 instance types, and you can place it in different regions. Zone support is not provided.
Google Cloud Platform uses Compute Engine for running computing processes. One disadvantage is that its pricing is less flexible compared to AWS and Azure. It supports most of the main services that you would need such as container deployment, scalability, web and mobile apps processing, etc. Google Cloud supports 4 instance families, 18 different instance types, and provides regional and zone support.
AWS is the clear front runner when it comes to compute power. Not just because it offers you the most learning resources, but also because it provides the best learning platform.
Cloud computing platforms provide quite a lot of useful data about your business. All you need to do to is make the proper analysis.
In the field of data analytics, AWS has made an entry to a big data and machine learning. However, if you don’t need extensive data analysis, you can use its Quick Sight service. This service will help you discover patterns and make correct conclusions from the data you’re receiving.
Similarly, Azure has taken steps toward big data and machine learning, but they don’t have a specific offering in these areas.
Google Cloud Platform, however, has the most advanced offering for big data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
If you’re looking for a high level of data analytics, Google Cloud Platform is probably the best choice. However, if you just want to keep track of your daily business, AWS will serve you just fine.
Storage is an important pillar of cloud computing because it enables us to allocate all sorts of information (needed for our business) in an online location.
The AWS Simple Storage Service, known as S3, is pretty much industry standard. As a result, you will find a wealth of documentation, case studies, webinars, sample codes, libraries, and tutorials to consult, as well as forum discussions where AWS engineers participated. It’s also good to know that S3 is object oriented storage and you can also use Glacier as the archiving service.
Azure and Google Cloud Platform both have quite reliable and robust storage, but you won’t find anywhere near as much documentation and information about them as you will with AWS. They also have working and archive storage and different additional services, but they can’t out-perform AWS.
Here, AWS’s deep resources for new users makes it the clear champion in this category.
It may come in handy to have your network in the cloud. You can have your VPN in an isolated place for your team only. And, it’s a great feature that adds value to your cloud system.
The AWS offering here is quite good. You can use the Virtual Private Cloud to create your VPN and set your network topology, create subnets, route tables, even private IP address ranges, and network gateways. On top of that, you can use Route 53 to have your DNS web service.
Microsoft Azure also has a solid private networking offer. Its Virtual Network (VNET) allows you to set your VPN, have public IP if you want, and use a hybrid cloud, firewall, or DNS.
Google Cloud Platform’s offering is not as extensive. It has the Cloud Virtual Network, and supports subnet, Public IP, firewall protection, and DNS.
The networking category winner is AWS because it has the most reliable DNS provider.
At the end of the day, everyone wants to know: “So, how much is that going to cost me?” Because prices for each provider will be formed according to your needs and requirements we can’t quote exact costs here. However, we can tell you about the pricing models that each provider is using.
AWS uses three payment models:
- On demand: You pay only for the resources and services you use
- Reserve: Choose the quantity of resources that you want to book upfront for 1 to 3 years and pay based on utilization
- Spot: Take advantage of unused capacity and bid with others for additional space
Please note that AWS charges are rounded by the hour used.
Azure pricing is a bit flexible and charges per minute, by rounding per commitments. Their pricing models aren’t as flexibile compared to other platforms. Sustained use pricing is created to enable discounts in the case of on-demand use if a particular instance is used for a larger percentage of the month.
GCP pricing is similar to Azure. They also charge per minute, rounding in 10 minutes per period. In addition to on-demand charging, GCP offers sustained use discounting, which means that you will get a discount for regular usage.
Pricing models are a bit tricky. Each platform offers a pricing calculator that can help you estimate costs. If you consider using AWS, I would suggest that you get in touch with a local APN company, and they can help you estimate your monthly costs.