Choosing a cloud platform for your application: AWS vs. Azure vs. GCP


Cloud had transformed the way we live our lives. For businesses, cloud technology means scaling and adapting at a speed that can accelerate innovation, drive agility in business, reduce costs and streamline operations. Cloud is also leading companies to increased and substantial growth.

Gartner defines, “The cloud infrastructure and platform services (CIPS) market as standardized, highly automated offerings, in which infrastructure resources (e.g., compute, networking and storage) are complemented by integrated platform services. These include managed application, database, and functions as-a-service offerings. The resources are scalable and elastic in near real time and are metered by use. Self-service interfaces, including a web-based user interface (UI) and an API, are exposed directly to the customer. The resources may be single-tenant or multitenant and can be hosted by a service provider or on-premises in the customer’s data center.”

Even though all cloud providers claim to provide every service there are some subtle differences. We will be taking a deeper look into top three cloud providers in the market AWS by Amazon, Azure by Microsoft, and GCP by Google

According to the latest forecast from Gartner, “Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 20.4% in 2022 to total $494.7 billion, up from $410.9 billion in 2021. In 2023, end-user spending is expected to reach nearly $600 billion.”

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the ready availability of computing system resources, particularly data storage (cloud storage) and processing capacity, without direct, active management from a user. Cloud computing is on-demand access, through the Internet, to computer resources–applications, servers (physical servers and virtual servers), data storage, development tools, networking capabilities, and so forth–hosted in remote data centres operated by a cloud service provider (or CSP).

While the AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud platforms all provide different top-level features when it comes to compute, management, storage, and other services, there are also a few differences among the three platforms. Here we will compare three of the best cloud providers on the market.

AWS vs. Azure vs. GCP: The key differences

When it comes to specialist services, we have noticed considerable differences between services offered by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

1.     Compute Services

Amazons EC2 provides core compute services for configuring virtual machines (VMs) using either a customized or preconfigured AMI, whereas Azure provides VHDs (Virtual Hard Disks), like Amazons AMI, for configuring virtual machines. Google provides Google Compute Engine for the introduction of cloud computing services.

Services AWS Azure GCP
  • VM (Compute Instance)
  • EC2 (Elastic Compute)
  • Azure Virtual Machine
  • Google Compute Engine
  • PaaS
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • App Service
  • Google App Engine
  • Container
  • AWS Elastic Container/Kubernetes Service
  • Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
  • Google Kubernetes Engine
  • Serverless Functions
  • AWS Lambda
  • Azure Function
  • Google Cloud Functions

2.     Database Services

It is worth noting here that Azure supports Big Data, NoSQL as well as relational databases. Based on services provided in database domains, differences among the top three public clouds are given in the following table.

Services AWS Azure GCP
  • RDBMS (Multiple Database Types – SQL, MySQL, etc..)
  • AWS RDS
  • Azure SQL/ Database for MySQL/PostgreSQL
  • Cloud SQL
  • NoSQL
  • DynamoDB, Simple DB
  • Azure Cosmos DB, Table Storage
  • BigTable, Cloud Datastore
  • RDBMS
  • Amazon Aurora
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Cloud Spanner

3.     Storage Services

Storage is an extremely important service when you are talking about Cloud Computing. AWS provides storage services for a long period, whereas the storage services offered by Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are also solid and respected options.

Services AWS Azure GCP
  • Object Storage
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service
  • Blob Storage
  • Google Cloud Storage
  • Virtual Server Disks
  • Amazon Elastic Block Store
  • Managed Disks
  • Google Compute Engine Persistent Disks
  • Cold Storage
  • Amazon Glacier
  • Azure Archive Blob Storage
  • Google Cloud Storage Nearline
  • File Storage
  • Amazon Elastic File System
  • Azure File Storage
  • ZFS/Avere
  • Data Warehouse/Data Lake
  • Amazon Redshift
  • Azure Synapse Analytics
  • Google BigQuery

4.     Networking and Content Services

Each of the cloud providers offers a different network. Amazon’s network is a virtual private cloud, Azure is Virtual Network, and Google is Subnet.

Services AWS Azure GCP
  • DNS
  • Route 53
  • Azure DNS
  • Google Cloud DNS
  • CDN
  • Amazon CloudFront
  • Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Cloud CDN
  • Virtual Network
  • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
  • Virtual Network (Vnet)
  • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
  • Load Balancing
  • Elastic Load Balancer
  • Azure Load Balancer
  • Google Cloud Load Balancing
  • Firewall
  • AWS Firewall / Web Application Firewall
  • Azure Firewall
  • Google Cloud firewalls

5.     Specialized Services

All three providers offer services according to the latest trends and demands and are most likely to expand them further.

Services AWS Azure GCP
  • AI & ML
  • Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Comprehend, Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly
  • Azure Machine Learning, Azure Databricks, Azure Cognitive Search, Azure Bot Service, Cognitive Services
  • Vertex AI, AutoML, Dataflow CX, Cloud Vision, Virtual Agents
  • DevOps
  • CodePipeline, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, CodeStar
  • Azure Boards, Pipelines, Repos, Test Plans, Artifacts
  • GCP DevOps, CloudBuild, Artifact Registry
  • IoT
  • FreeRTOS, IoT Core, Greengrass, IoT Analytics, SiteWise
  • Azure IoT Hub/Central, IoT Edge, Azure Sphere, Azure RTOS
  • Google Cloud IoT Core

6.     Development Tools

Development tools are used for building, diagnosing, debugging, deploying, and managing multiplatform, scalable applications and services. Based on services provided by development tools domain, differences can be given among top 3 public clouds, given in table below.

Services AWS Azure GCP
  • Client libraries
  • AWS SDKs
  • Azure SDKs
  • Cloud SDK
  • Command-line interface (CLI)
  • AWS CLI
  • Azure CLI
  • Cloud SDK
  • Git Repositories
  • AWS Code Commit
  • Azure Repos
  • Cloud Source Repositories

7.     Data Analytics Services

AWS, Azure and GCP offer services in analytics and big data to drive decision-making for businesses.

Services AWS Azure GCP
  • Data processing
  • Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR), AWS Batch, AWS Glue
  • Azure Data Lake Analytics, HDInsight
  • Dataproc
  • Data warehouse
  • Amazon Athena, Amazon Redshift
  • Azure Synapse Analytics
  • BigQuery
  • Data wrangling
  • AWS Glue Data Brew
  • Azure Data Factory
  • Dataprep
  • Messaging
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), Amazon Simple Queueing Service (SQS)
  • Azure Service Bus Messaging
  • Pub/Sub
  • Stream data processing
  • Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose
  • Azure Stream Analytics
  • Dataflow
  • Query service
  • Amazon Redshift Spectrum
  • Azure Synapse Analytics
  • BigQuery
  • Stream data ingest
  • Amazon Kinesis
  • Azure Event Hubs
  • Pub/Sub

8.     Hybrid and Multicloud Options

All three cloud platforms now offer its customers different tools for more flexible cloud setup.

Services AWS Azure GCP
  • Hybrid and Multicloud
  • AWS Outposts, AWS Snowball, AWS Local Zones, AWS Wavelength, AWS Snowcone, VMware Cloud on AWS, Amazon ECS Anywhere, Amazon EKS Anywhere
  • Azure Arc, Azure Backup, Azure Active Directory, Azure Stack, Azure Security Center, Azure Blob Storage, Azure Sentinel
  • Anthos, Cloud Build, Operations, Looker, Traffic Director, Cloud Run for Anthos

9.     Pricing

The pricing comparison is based on the machine type offered by AWS, Azure and GCP. Please refer to their website for current pricing.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-in/pricing/#product-pricing

https://calculator.aws/#/?nc2=h_ql_pr_calc

https://cloud.google.com/pricing

Conclusion

These top three cloud companies have commanding leads in both the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) markets. They are all competing very closely against each other and have all made their mark with customers through their business offerings.

“When it comes to choosing a cloud platform for your application, it’s important to carefully consider the unique needs and goals of your business. Whether it be AWS, Azure, or GCP, it’s crucial to select the platform that best aligns with your long-term strategy and can support the growth and scalability of your application.”

Manoj Tiwari

VP, Technology Management

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