The public cloud market has reached its tipping point, especially after COVID-19 has made remote work necessary for business continuity. Organizations are continually looking for cloud providers that will offer value in the long run. For an informed decision, it is important to run a comparison for AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud as they are considered the goliaths of cloud computing technology.
Cloud spend hits record high in Q1 2020, up 34% due to remote working demand. — Canalys
The competition and subsequent cloud comparison among Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure), and Google (Cloud) have been soaring high as all the three are leaders, according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report for cloud IaaS.
But, neither of them is a mirror image of each other. Be it AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, an organization should always choose a provider that suits its business and functional requirements.
In this writeup, we’ll conduct a thorough cloud services comparison on how AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud services differ from one another along with the parameters that differentiate them.
AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud — An Introduction to the Cloud Services
Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are gaining immense popularity in the PaaS and IaaS domain. Since Gartner declared three of them to be the leaders in IaaS, businesses have been closely following them before making an informed decision vs data-driven decision.
So, what is the best cloud platform? Let’s start with an overview of the three cloud providers.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Launch: March 2006
Availability: 76 availability zones across 24 geographical regions
Amazon offers on-demand cloud services to organizations across the globe on a pay-as-you-go basis through Amazon Web Services (AWS). Like its other diversified businesses, Amazon’s cloud computing business is widely accepted and ranks in the first position,i.e., their AWS market share is the largest.
AWS had the unusual advantage of a seven-year head start before facing like-minded competition. As a result, the AWS services are by far the most evolved and most functionality-rich. — Jeff Bezos
Who Uses AWS: Platforms such as Slack and Netflix run on AWS to offer 24/7 seamless uptime. Even during these challenging times when COVID-19 is impacting businesses and the workforce adversely, AWS is supporting its customers to handle the surge in demand while working from home.
- Market leader for IaaS according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report.
- Suitable for handling mission-centric, critical workloads.
- Offers customizable services while covering a broad range of the market, i.e., startups, small and medium-sized businesses, and large scale enterprises.
- AWS has a global presence as it subdivides its data centers into regions, each of which further gets branched into two availability zones.
- The cost structuring can get tricky to interpret. Amazon Web Services offers discounts for several services, but these lowered costs do not stand true for all the AWS services, which leads to confusion.
- AWS wishes to maintain a competitive edge by launching new services before anyone else. In this race towards getting there first, they often compromise on service quality. So, while they rework on the services post-launch, it takes considerable time to update.
- There is a steep learning curve involved for software-enabled data centers established for large-scale enterprises.
Launch: February 2010
Services: 600 +
Availability: 60+ regions across 140 countries
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service for building and managing applications through Microsoft’s managed data centers. It already has a substantial user base for in-built applications, which gives Azure a competitive advantage because of the default preference.
Who Uses Azure: Companies like Pixar, Dell, and Xerox use Microsoft Azure to tend to cloud services needs. Salesforce has recently declared Microsoft Azure as its public cloud provider for its marketing cloud.
Microsoft Azure Advantages:
- Suitable for organizations that are primarily committed to Microsoft technology.
- Azure offers Hyperscale solution that addresses the scalability issues concerning compute, storage, and memory.
- You can save up to 40% on virtual machines when using Azure Hybrid Cloud.
Microsoft Azure Disadvantages:
- Microsoft Azure has shown reliability issues owing to the outages instances reported in the past. For example, the 2-hour long outage that Microsoft witnessed on May 2nd, 2019. Such interruptions pull off the power of control from the customers.
- Azure apparently offers poor customer support, which, in turn, ruins the customer experience.
- Microsoft has high expectations from its customers as its sales strategy has always been around focusing on its already established customer base. They tend to overlook the challenges that the non-Microsoft customers face while using Azure.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
Launch: April 2008
Availability: 22 regions and 61 zones (deployment area)
Google Cloud is a suite of cloud computing services that runs on the infrastructure that Google deploys for its user-centric products. Its cloud services include — computing, storage, analytics, and machine learning (ML).
Who Uses Google Cloud: Brands such as Twitter, Johnson & Johnson, Forbes, and Spotify, run their operations on Google Cloud.
Google Cloud Advantages:
- The key advantage of Google Cloud Platform narrows down to Google Kubernetes Engine, which is one of a kind container manager. With its new service, Anthos that runs on Google Kubernetes Engine, Google plans to bring other mainstream cloud services such as AWS and Azure to Kubernetes.
- Google Cloud Platform offers live migrations of virtual machines.
- Flexible cost structure and added flexibility due to its open-source nature.
Google Cloud Disadvantages:
- GCP is often used as a secondary provider as opposed to a strategic provider.
- According to Gartner reviews, GCP shows the immaturity of processes and procedures with enterprise accounts.
- Google needs to up its game when it comes to the range of services it offers. AWS vs Azure offers stiff competition in that regard.
AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Services Comparison
Public cloud adoption for AWS is the highest, followed by Azure, and Google Cloud, according to RightScale State of Cloud Report. This implies the immense popularity that the three cloud providers enjoy.
In the following section, we’ll run an AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud services comparison for helping you choose your cloud partner.
1. Market Share
The cloud market share for 2020 has shown considerable growth since the COVID-19 that has led to lockdowns. Here is how the market share is fairing for the three cloud services in 2020 compared to the previous year.
|Market Share Comparison for 2019 vs 2020|
|Amazon Web Services||Microsoft Azure||Google Cloud Platform|
Q4 2019: 32.4%
Q1 2020: 32%
Q4 2019: 18%
Q1 2020: 17%
Q4 2019: 6%
Q1 2020: 6%
Revenue Q4 2019:
Revenue Q1 2020:
Revenue Q4 2019:
Revenue Q1 2020:
Revenue Q4 2019:
Revenue Q1 2020:
This service offers computational capabilities and is a significant part of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Here’s an AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud comparison for its respective computing services.
a. AWS Compute
Amazon Web Services offers different types of compute engine services for all types of businesses. These services range from:
|AWS Compute Services||Use Cases|
|Amazon EC2||Offers compute capacity in the cloud|
|Amazon EC2 Auto-Scaling||Maintains application availability by allowing to add or remove EC2 instances|
|Amazon Elastic Container Registry||Container that makes it easier for developers to store and manage Docker Container images|
|Amazon Elastic Container Service||Facilitates running and scaling of containerized applications on AWS|
|Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service||Allows to deploy and manage containerized applications using Kubernetes|
|Amazon Lightsail||A convenient way to launch a virtual private server with AWS|
|AWS Batch||Allows running thousands of batch computing jobs on AWS|
|AWS Fargate||Compute engine that helps run containers without the need to manage servers or clusters|
|AWS Lambda||Allows to run code without the need to provision or manage servers|
|AWS Outposts||Can bring native AWS services, infrastructure to any data-center or on-premise facility|
b. Azure Compute
The compute services offered by Microsoft Azure and its applicability are summarized in the following flowchart.
Google Cloud Compute
Google compute engine services include:
|Compute Services||Common Use Cases|
|1. Compute Engine|
|2. Migrate for Compute Engine|
Multiple data centers
Clouds to Google Cloud
|3. Cloud GPUs|
|4. Preemptible VMs|
Hadoop and big data
|5. Shielded Virtual Machines|
Protect enterprise workloads
Protect against remote attacks
Protect against rootkits and bootkits
|6. Sole Tenant Nodes|
Dedicated compute for workloads
Meet security and compliance needs
Visibility on physical core usage information
With the help of cloud storage services, clients get the flexibility to store, access, monitor and manage their data in an organized and efficient way. Here’s how storage is a differentiator between AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud.
a. Amazon AWS Storage
These are the services that are covered in the AWS storage services.
|Storage Service Type||Subcategory|
|1. Object Storage|
Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3):
|2. File Storage|
Amazon Elastic File System:
Amazon FSx for Windows File Server:
Amazon FSx for Lustre:
|3. Block Storage|
Amazon Elastic Block Store:
|5. Data Transfer & Edge Computing|
AWS Storage Gateway:
AWS Transfer Family:
b. Microsoft Azure Storage
These are the types of Azure storage services made available by Microsoft.
|Storage Service Type||Use Case|
|1. Disk Storage||Offers scalable and secure ultra-disk storage for deployed virtual machines.|
|2. Blob Storage||Allows creating data lakes for your analytics needs and also offers space for creating cloud native apps.|
|3. Archive Storage||Is a low price storage service that enables secure file shares across the cloud network.|
|4. Queue Storage||Offers message queuing for large and critical workloads across applications.|
|5. Data Box||It is a device that enables data transfer to Microsoft Azure and Edge Compute.|
|6. Azure NetApp File||Offers secure and fool-proof file shares for enterprise workloads without code change.|
|7. Azure HPC Cache||Enables transferring and management of surplus compute capacity to Azure.|
c. Google Cloud Platform
Google offers a range of storage products, which include:
|Storage Service Type||Use Case|
|1. Object or Blob Storage|
|2. Block Storage|
|3. Archival Storage|
|4. File Storage|
|5. Mobile Application|
Cloud Storage for Firebase:
|6. Data Transfer|
Data Transfer Services:
G Suite Essentials:
When it comes to AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud pricing, they seem to continuously compete with each other by offering discounts and best-in-the-market service packages.
Let’s discuss their pricing models in detail.
a. Amazon AWS
Amazon follows the pay-as-you-go approach,i.e., you only pay for what you use and for as long you use it. Their other pricing principles include — Save when you reserve and pay less when using more.
|Amazon AWS Pricing, Plans & Resources|
|1. Free Tier|
|2. Pricing Models|
Save When you Reserve:
Pay Less by Using More:
|3. AWS Price Calculator: For estimating the price of AWS services||Three Steps to Estimate Price:|
Configure services as per your business needs
View estimated costs
|4. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator: For analyzing cost savings while using AWS||What is included in TCO reports?|
In-depth cost breakdowns
Cost comparisons for on-premise vs AWS
FAQs for eliminating confusions
b. Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure also works on a similar pay-as-you-go model to offer its customers the same experience as that of AWS. The cloud provider has compared its pricing plans with AWS to showcase how their plans are comparatively cheaper.
Microsoft Azure claims that their services are 5x cheaper when it comes to Azure vs AWS pricing, for Windows and SQL services.
Here are some of the Azure costing resources for getting started:
|Microsoft Azure Pricing, Plans & Resources|
|1. Azure Services|
Linux Virtual Machines: Starting from $0.004/hr
Functions: Starting from $0.20 per million executions
Block Blob Storage ( ZRS Hot): $0.023/hr
Block Blob Storage (ZRS Cool): $0.013/h
|2. Spot Pricing||An offer available for purchasing unused compute capacity at incredible discounts — up to 90% as opposed to pay-as-you-go basis|
|3. Azure Price Calculator||A on-site tool to calculate upfront costs and monthly costs.|
Steps to estimate cost:
Choose customized requirements
Get estimated costs
|4. TCO Calculator||Same as AWS. Helps calculate the difference in expenditure between on-premises and Azure.|
|5. Reservations For analyzing cost savings while using AWS||Azure offers discounts when you pre-book resources in advance. If you communicate your 1-3 year needs in advance, Azure assures discounts up to 72%.|
c. Google Cloud Platform
Google also works on a pay-as-you-go basis by asking you to pay for only what you need. GCP also assures $0 up-front costs and no termination fees. The storage price of Google Cloud Platform is 21% less (average) when it comes to GCP vs AWS for online storage.
Other price plans and resources include:
|Google Cloud Platform Pricing, Plans & Resources|
|1. Google Cloud Free Tier|
An annual free trial along with $300 credit for Google Cloud services of your choice (eligibility criteria follows)
Always free limited services for common services
|2. Pricing Innovations|
Sustained-use discounts: Get a 30% discount if a large part of the monthly billing cycle runs on commute engine and Cloud SQL.
Preemptible VM Instances: Get up to 79% discount for workloads such as data mining and data processing.
Per-Second Billing: Offer that includes billing on a per second basis.
Custom MachineType: Choose any configuration for CPU and memory and save up to 48%.
|3. Price for Performance Leadership|
List Price Leader: Compute engine price is 8% less (average) as compared to EC2.
|4. Pricing Calculator||You would be required to fill a form to estimate the cost of your customized cloud product. It will also help compare how the costs are better than other cloud providers.|
AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud — Which one to Choose?
Choosing between AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud solely depends on your business needs and corresponding workloads. It is not necessary that your competitor’s cloud service adoption might be the best fit for you too.
Here when to choose what cloud service:
- When to choose AWS: If you are looking for a wide range of cloud services and tools with the maximum reach, AWS is your best fit.
- When to choose Azure: If you have your operations running on Windows and Microsoft applications, Azure is the best choice to make.
- When to choose Google Cloud: Though it may not look like a viable option compared to the other two providers, it is a committed platform for small, web-oriented startups. If you are keen on the use of machine learning, Google Cloud can be a good pick.