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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: 7 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Cloud Provider

The public cloud market is experiencing explosive growth. Gartner predicts revenue will grow from $176 billion in 2018 to $240 billion in 2020.

In the cloud space, three tech giants have pulled ahead: Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Combined, they dominate nearly 65 percent of the global public cloud market.

With so many features and services to consider, comparing these three cloud giants is complicated. Find out how Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud IaaS and PaaS platforms stack up in this head-to-head comparison.

We’ll cover seven categories to consider before choosing a cloud provider for your business.

  1. Features and Services
  2. Compute Capabilities
  3. Existing Customer Base
  4. Hybrid Cloud and Legacy Apps
  5. Deploying Apps and PaaS
  6. Open Source Developer Capabilities
  7. Pricing

Comparing AWS Vs. Azure Vs. Google

AWS, the oldest public cloud provider, has led the IaaS market since its inception in 2006. AWS boasts a larger global cloud network and service portfolio than any other cloud vendor.

Despite AWS’s dominance, Microsoft has gained fast traction under the “cloud first” strategy of CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft Azure is an attractive cloud option for companies that already rely on a Microsoft-centric IT foundation.

Internet giant Google recently crept into the top three with its Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Google Cloud stands out thanks to its deep investments in analytics and machine learning.

Let’s compare AWS, Azure and Google Cloud’s offerings across seven categories.


1. Features and Services

AWS Services

AWS Services

  • 140 + cloud services
  • 19 global regions
Azure Services

Azure Services

  • On par with AWS
  • 54 global regions
Google Cloud Services

Google Cloud Services

  • 75+ cloud services
  • 18 global regions

Choosing the right cloud provider comes down to your business needs, wants and workloads.

AWS, Azure and Google Cloud provide similar basic capabilities. They all offer common public cloud services, including self-service and instant provisioning, autoscaling, security, compliance and identity management features.

AWS has been around nearly twice as long as its competitors and offers the most depth of services. Amazon’s 140 cloud services cover all the necessary bases, from compute, storage and networking to developer and management tools.

Azure’s services are largely on par with AWS. Google Cloud offers fewer cloud services than its competitors in the security and DevOps categories but pulls ahead in machine learning and analytics.

All three providers also take open approaches to partnerships and allow customers to run external apps and services in their cloud environments. For example, Google has established partnerships with vendors like SAP, Pivotal and Rackspace.


2. Compute Capabilities

AWS Services

AWS

  • EC2
Azure Services

Azure

  • Virtual Machines
Google Cloud Services

Google

  • Compute Engine

Building and running your organization starts with compute. Choosing the right compute services will allow you to efficiently develop, deploy, run and scale your applications and workloads.

AWS EC2

AWS’s main compute offering is called Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). EC2 offers a wide selection of instance configurations for different use cases, including big data, enterprise applications and migrations from on-premises environments. AWS also provides related services like Elastic Beanstalk for app deployment and AWS Lambda for running code.

Azure Virtual Machines

Azure’s compute services are centered around Azure Virtual Machines, which enable you to provision Linux and Windows VMs in seconds. Other Azure tools such as Functions, Cloud Services and App Services help you quickly create and deploy applications on the cloud.

Google Compute Engine

Google’s scalable Compute Engine delivers VMs in Google’s data centers. Compute Engine’s VMs boot quickly, come with persistent disk storage and are flexible for every workload.


3. Existing Customer Base

AWS Services

AWS

  • Expedia, Netflix, Airbnb, NewsCorp, Aon, Channel 4, Dow Jones, Nike
Azure Services

Azure

  • Adobe, HP, NBC News, Boeing, easyJet
Google Cloud Services

Google

  • Target, 20th Century Fox, Twitter, PayPal, Bloomberg

A high-profile customer base shouldn’t be your main reason to choose a cloud provider, but it can help you understand how the public cloud is benefitting others in your industry.

AWS has historically taken on large enterprise customer deals, such as Expedia, Airbnb and Netflix. Azure also boasts some well-known customers including Adobe, HP and NBC News.

Google found its niche with smaller, cloud-native startups, but they have also taken on more big-name companies in recent years, including 20th Century Fox, Target and PayPal.

Many of these large companies use a multi-cloud approach to maximize the best services from different cloud providers. For example, enterprises may prefer Google Cloud for its analytics and ML capabilities but partner with AWS or Azure for large-scale compute needs.


4. Hybrid Cloud and Legacy Apps

AWS Services

AWS

  • Hybrid support through partnerships with on-premises providers
  • Services Include:
    • VMware Cloud on AWS
    • AWS Storage Gateway
Azure Services

Azure

  • Comprehensive hybrid cloud support and capabilities
  • Services Include:
    • Azure Stack
    • Hybrid SQL Server
    • Azure StorSimple
Google Cloud Services

Google

  • Recently introduced hybrid cloud support in 2018
  • Services Include:
    • Cloud Services Platform
    • Google Kubernetes Engine

Many companies put off cloud migration because they rely on legacy applications. Not all companies have the resources to create new apps for the cloud environment. If you rely on legacy apps or prefer to keep sensitive data in onsite data centers, choose a cloud provider with strong hybrid cloud capabilities.

AWS

Amazon has historically dismissed the benefits of on-premises applications, but recently started making a greater effort to improve hybrid cloud support. AWS maintains partnerships with on-premises platform providers like VMware, Intel and SAP, allowing you to run your existing enterprise applications on AWS.

Azure

Azure offers the best support and capabilities for hybrid clouds. It provides all the tools you need to develop modern apps, unify DevOps, streamline identity management and integrate security in hybrid environments.

Google

Google is the most recent cloud vendor to introduce hybrid cloud capabilities. Google’s new Cloud Services Platform offers an integrated set of cloud services that can be deployed on Google Cloud and in on-premises environments.


5. Deploying Apps and PaaS

AWS Services

AWS

  • Offers app deployment solutions but lacks in app hosting
  • Services Include:
    • Container Service
    • Elastic Beanstalk
    • Lambda
    • Batch
Azure Services

Azure

  • Extensive app deployment and hosting services
  • Services Include:
    • App Services
    • Cloud Services
    • Service Fabric
    • Container Service
    • Batch
Google Cloud Services

Google

  • Includes developer tools but has fewer PaaS capabilities
  • Services Include:
    • App Engine
    • Cloud Tools for PowerShell

One of the most significant advantages of cloud computing is the simplicity of deploying applications.

AWS

AWS offers app deployment solutions including Container Service, Elastic Beanstalk, Lambda and Batch. However, they have fewer app hosting features than Azure.

Azure

Microsoft has used its extensive knowledge of developer tools to gain the competitive edge for hosting cloud applications. Azure has a broad selection of app deployment and hosting options for developers.

Google

Google Cloud enables developers to build and deploy apps on its Google App Engine platform, but it offers fewer PaaS capabilities than AWS and Azure.


6. Open Source Developer Capabilities

AWS Services

AWS

  • Open-source capabilities
  • Contributes to Linux, Kubernetes & more
Azure Services

Azure

  • Open-source capabilities
  • Recently acquired GitHub
Google Cloud Services

Google

  • Leads in open-source capabilities
  • Created over 2,000 open source projects

Open source software (OSS) is one of Google Cloud’s key differentiators. Google has created over 2,000 open source projects in the last decade and become one of the largest contributors to OSS.

AWS is known for welcoming Linux users and offers several integrations for open source apps.

Microsoft is also embracing open source technologies. It recently open-sourced the .NET Framework, and the new .NET Core runs on Windows, MacOS and Linux. About half of Azure VMs are running Linux, according to Microsoft.


7. Pricing

AWS Services

AWS

  • Per-second billing for EC2 and several other services
Price Calculator >
Azure Services

Azure

  • Per-second billing on container instances only
Price Calculator >
Google Cloud Services

Google

  • Per-second billing (one-minute minimum)
Price Calculator >

AWS, Azure and Google all offer slightly different pay-as-you-go pricing models and discounts for various services.

For example, Google offers one-year and three-year committed use discounts. Azure lets you save up to 72 percent when you sign up for a one-year or three-year term on Windows or Linux virtual machines. AWS also offers steep discounts when you make upfront payments for Reserved Instances.

All three vendors offer free introductory tiers to allow customers to try before they buy. They also offer credits to coax innovative startups onto their platforms.


AWS Vs. Azure Vs. Google Cloud: Pros and Cons

There are countless factors to consider when vetting cloud providers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be helpful to take a step back and look at each provider’s overall strategy and strengths. Do they align with yours?

AWS, Azure and Google Cloud each stand out from the pack in different areas. Let’s compare their biggest strengths and weaknesses.

AWS Pros and Cons

AWS Strengths

  • Most mature, enterprise-ready provider
  • Broad collection of services and partner ecosystem
  • Recommended for all use cases that run well in a virtualized environment

AWS Weaknesses

  • Requires advanced technical expertise to implement
  • Lacks strong hybrid cloud support
  • Extensive catalog of offerings can be overwhelming to navigate

AWS offers the most robust features and services, partner ecosystem and global footprint. It ranks highly across security, reliability, monitoring and policy features and platform configuration options. AWS is constantly adding new services and enhancing existing ones with new capabilities.

However, if a hybrid cloud strategy is important to your business, AWS may fall short compared to Azure.

Another caution with AWS is its scale. Smaller companies may find it difficult to navigate the extensive portfolio of services, and some see AWS as being a complex provider to manage.

Ready to start learning AWS? Browse AWS training courses.


Microsoft Azure Pros and Cons

Azure Strengths

  • Seamless integrations with other Microsoft products and services
  • Improved support for Linux and open-source application stacks
  • Ideal for hybrid cloud
  • Recommended for all use cases that run well in a virtualized environment

Azure Weaknesses

  • Poor support for large-scale implementations
  • Advanced technical expertise is required to implement Azure in a reliable, secure way
  • Historical issues with infrastructure reliability

If you already run a Microsoft-centric environment, Azure can be a natural fit. Azure integrates seamlessly with key on-premises systems like Windows Server, Active Directory and System Center. Microsoft also excels in its PaaS and hybrid cloud capabilities.

One disadvantage of Azure is the level of technical expertise required to configure and maintain it in an efficient, reliable and secure way. Azure configurations are known for being difficult and frustrating to implement.

Azure has also faced a series of outages over the years, causing reliability issues for virtual networks. Microsoft is constantly investing in reducing disruptive maintenance and improving its reliability.

Get Azure-ready today. Browse Microsoft Azure training courses.


Google Cloud Pros and Cons

Google Cloud Strengths

  • Great reputation in the open-source community
  • Deep investments in analytics and machine learning
  • Recommended for big data and analytics applications, ML projects and cloud-native applications

Google Cloud Weaknesses

  • Rigid in contract negotiations
  • Small partner ecosystem
  • Limited range of services for larger companies

Google Cloud has established itself as a viable alternative to AWS and Azure with its reliable IaaS and PaaS capabilities and its deep investments in machine learning.

Google has a good track record with cloud-native startups and the open source community, but it has struggled to break into the enterprise market.

Google Cloud’s network of MSP and professional services partners is also limited. This small partner ecosystem amplifies the challenges and risks involved with adopting Google Cloud Platform.

Navigate AWS, Azure and Google Cloud With New Horizons

No matter which cloud provider you choose, having the right cloud skills under your belt is essential. Configuring, implementing and maintaining an efficient cloud environment requires advanced technical expertise.

New Horizons offers the latest cloud training courses for AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Whether you’re implementing cloud services for the first time or taking on new responsibilities as a seasoned cloud professional, New Horizons offers cloud training for every expertise level.

Browse our comprehensive cloud training courses today!
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