AWS vs. Microsoft Azure vs. Google Cloud, Which one suits you the best?

AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure are essentially all cloud computing providers, owned by the three tech giants. Cloud computing helps businesses and individuals to meet their computing needs without having to buy bulky hardware and paying just for what they use. It shifts computation, processing, data storage and much more to servers owned by these three cloud companies.

While the services offered by the three giants are mostly the same, they differ in terminology, costs, availability and mode of delivery.

If we boil down to the basic question that which of the three is the most suitable for your project, we get the following.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS offers infrastructural and software services for businesses. If you’re a hardcore tech startup, AWS can solve most of your IT needs such as Access Control, Servers, Code Deploy etc easily. AWS pricing is business friendly but is highly confusing. Unless you’re experienced enough to understand the billing process, you shouldn’t activate anything in AWS. Top highlights are the prevalence of AWS related tutorials, documentation and customizable pricing options.

Microsoft Azure 

Azure is similar to AWS in approach but offers more integrated services. The Azure platform is native to Microsoft, hence support for .NET framework and any kind of MS product is built-in. Azure also offers contractual pricing for 2 or 3 year usage guarantee which is eligible for discounts. Azure is suitable for all kinds of workplaces who wish to deploy services like SharePoint, Office 365 and other MS products. Great pricing for enterprise clients.

Google Cloud Platform 

Google Cloud Platform is the only platform that offers an always free tier. You can practically run a low-end VM forever free and only pay for usage when free limits are crossed. GCP is one of the cheapest service providers and has developer-savvy tools built into it such as FireBase and Google APIs. If you’re looking for resources for your web project, GCP is one of the best choices.

How to decide which one to choose? 

The key issue with the all the three platforms is that they offer very similar services at a very similar pricing. It can become increasingly difficult for a company to choose their IaaS and PaaS solutions.

For instance Azure Infrastructure as a Service Dubai is quite famous where as Google’s Platform as a Service for mobile apps is more favorable for developers. Hence, the battle is never ending if we see the generic requirements.

Therefore, we have split up all the three providers based on the use case scenarios. You’ll easily find a use case in one of the following use cases that we have figured, and accordingly, you’d be able to choose one over the other.

If you’re a programmer looking for cloud infrastructure to build and deploy your application/website

Go for either Google Cloud or Azure. Both platforms give programmers a wide horizon to experiment and explore. Google Cloud has some interesting offerings in the name of App Engine and a large library of APIs that can be used to build several application components. The documentation is clear and vivid, and Google has a large community of developers working with it, to offer you help.

Azure, on the other hand, supports nearly all programming languages and doesn’t have a lot of restrictions on what all you can mess with. 

There are runtimes available for all major programming stacks and these platforms also come with a large community of developers backing them up for App configuration. The biggest challenge for any developer with any Cloud Provider is understanding how it works, because that directly affects the deployment strategies.

Google Cloud and Azure are developer friendly with detailed tutorials and documentation that help developers get off the ground with these technologies easily.

If you’re a company with an IT department looking for cloud resources

Go for Azure. Azure powers 90% of the Fortune 500 companies and it’s really well-suited for a company scenario than an individual scenario.

It offers tons of resources for companies to host their applications, websites, databases, recovery sites, collaboration environments, and office documents. Great if you have in-house IT, if not, you can always get a Microsoft Partner involved to save costs.

Azure is one of the preferred cloud providers by Cloud Meghraj Initiative by Government of India and has approval from Ministry of Electronics and Information to be used as the official cloud services provider for mission critical applications.

Further, Azure’s Infrastructural services have unique solutions that are geared for enterprise clients already. One of them being cloud disaster recovery. Disaster recovery is one of the most critical solutions that an enterprise needs to have. It helps them avoid fatal unavailability of service in case of a natural calamity or cyber breach. Azure’s disaster recovery measure shift workloads to a safer region in no time, making sure your applications are not affected.

This proves Azure’s mettle at the enterprise level and the support that it provides to enterprise clients.

If you’re a startup looking for a one-stop-shop for cloud resources for your website 

Go for AWS. Amazon is cheap if your requirements are not monstrous. Plus it offers a full catalog of services that take care of everything from servers to code deployment.

You can also use AWS for marketing and BPA but you need to be clear about the pricing. AWS requires some getting used to as the whole architecture is designed in a peculiar way.

The only hurdle in using AWS is that it has an indigenous way of doing things. Most of the tech solutions are made in their own way. You have to learn the configurations and the deployment models before you could start using it properly.

You need to work with a foresight when you’re developing your application to make sure that your application will make use of the resources in the desired way.

Table of Comparisons

 

AWS

Azure Cloud

Google Cloud Platform

Market Share

62%

20%

12%

IaaS

Elastic Compute (EC2)

Free Tier Available

Virtual Machines

 

Virtual Machines Sets

Compute Engine

 

Forever Free Tier Available

VPS Plans

Lightsail starts from $3.5/mo

Virtual Machine Image

–       

Docker Containers

Elastic Container Service

Container Service

Container Engine

Instance Types

38

33

18

DRaaS

Disaster Recovery

Site Recovery

Backups

Object Storage

 

Cold Archive Storage

Backups

 

Managed RDBMS

RDS

SQL Database

Postgres SQL

Cloud SQL

DNS Service

Route 53

Traffic Manager

Azure DNS

Google Cloud DNS

DevOps

Cloud Formation

Resource Manager

Cloud Deployment Manager

Identity Management

AWS Cognito

Active Directory B2C

Pricing

Per Hour

On Demand

Spot

Reserved

Per Minute

Committed Usage

Per Minute

Sustained Usage

On Demand

If you’re an enterprize looking to shift your workloads on the cloud

 It’s recommendable that you use more than one cloud service providers for this as a single provider may not be able to fulfill all the needs and provide a guaranteed uptime always.

Google Cloud has been especially notorious with their outages. There have been two major outages in 2019 alone, one of which lasted for 4 long hours.

Azure and AWS on the other hand have been able to offer a pretty solid uptime along the way. There have been no major reports of outages of the two and they both have great plans for committed usage that offer great discounts for enterprise clients.

Nonetheless, you can deploy applications on Azure and use AWS for integrated services or use Google Cloud Platform for databases, it’s up to you. Constraints like native support for technology and availability of resources at the optimal price often make organizations settle for more than CSPs.

If you’re a garage based startup looking for the cheap and best deal for your cloud computing needs

Go for Azure or Google Cloud Platform.

Both the providers have good offerings at the entry level with some interesting features for beginner startups.

Google has a forever free tier where developers can test their web applications easily at no cost, and continue to build on a production server. It’s a lucrative way of saving costs in a low spending environment.

Azure offers innovative tools such as Cognitive Services and Microsoft Bot Framework that are free to use at the base level. These tools are great for startups that are working on Artificial Intelligence and/or similar technologies. They have the most advanced tools at their disposal without the capital constraints.

Azure offers good discounts for server usage if you commit usage for a year. Coupled with the first year free plan, you can easily optimize two years of cloud computing costs without breaking the bank. 

If you’re looking for Platform-as-a-Service offerings for minima in-house IT workload

The platform-as-a-service is a category of web services where the cloud provider manages most aspects of the deployment, whereas the customer only manages their databases and applications.

PaaS is highly popular with businesses who don’t have a mature IT teams or have an outsourced Managed Service Provider who looks over the operations for them.

Azure is the best option for this as they have managed to create a strong PaaS package with Azure App Service that caters to server needs of the application automatically. Your job as the customer would be to develop the application and deploy it, everything from Load Balancing to auto-scaling is done by the App Service.

This means that your IT intervention in your business workflow reduces significantly as your developers get the power to manage your apps much more efficiently. Server management tasks such as upgrades and upscale or downscale, OS management, are all done by the Cloud Service Provider.

If business security and safety is your primary concern 

AWS and Azure are both suitable for clients who are looking to upgrade their security and safety for the ISO 27001 standards or PCI compliance.

AWS and Microsoft, both have received government approval for public cloud safety requirements. They themselves have hundreds of security protocols that make your applications strong from the base. This will allow you to be confident about your data security and keep your business guarded against cyber threats.

For safety, Azure provides cloud disaster recovery services by the name of Azure Site Recovery. This service instantly shifts your entire workload into other regions where pre-provisioned VMs kick into action in no time. This is also called Disaster Recovery as a Service. It’s meant for businesses who face critical loss when their business applications suffer an outage.

Further, Azure also has a great Backup service that stores your business data in a secure place, making sure you don’t lose everything even if your office is burned down to ashes. This is one of the most sought after services by companies who have fallen prey to cyber attacks. Sometimes, a timely backup can break or make a business.

AWS also offers some great security features in the form of controlled traffic flow and a number of policies for accessing AWS resources. The AWS IAM management is on-point when you want to use AWS resources for your applications as everything can be given full to restricted access, and on-premise security policies can be implemented. This makes AWS one of the most desired CSPs when it comes to ensuring data and application security. Another reason for choosing AWS would be its scalability. Maintaining scalability while ensuring security becomes a tough ask for companies, but AWS can provide for that from grounds up.

The Verdict

As it’s more than evidently clear that we don’t have a clear overall winner but we have winners in categories.

Developer Projects  – Google and Azure 

Enterprise Requirements – Azure 

Startup Friendliness – AWS 

The ifs and buts of the above conclusion have been mentioned in the article, so you’d be able to understand how one cloud provider is different from the other. This guide will help you get a sound overview of the entire situation but the actual decision will only be made when you dig deep into at least one platform and experience it for a while.