AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Features & Pricing Comparison

| Created on July 2, 2021

Updated on July 19, 2021

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As remote work culture grows in the wake of Covid-19, the use of cloud computing worldwide also increases. Cloud computing makes it possible to access applications and data from any location and any device. All you need is an internet connection.

Cloud deployments are becoming more common as you get on-demand resources without purchasing hardware and software. Instead, you pay strictly for the services you use. In this type of cloud computing, the provider is responsible for infrastructure management, maintenance, security, and upgrades.

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud

The most popular public clouds are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). All three offer a vast range of safe and flexible storage, computing, and networking services. However, choosing a public cloud service provider for your organization can be challenging; this article is here to assist you.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is a secure, easy-to-use cloud services platform that provides compute power, database storage, content delivery network, and various other functionalities (IaaS) to its customers on demand. 

The purpose is to help businesses grow and scale their offerings in a pay-as-you-go model. Organizations can choose the operating system, web application platform, database, coding languages, and more as per their requirement. 

AWS is trusted by individuals, governments, big and small companies working in different areas like game development, warehousing, data processing, development, and many more. It is used by companies like Netflix, Facebook, BBC, Baidu, Twitch, LinkedIn, and ESPN. 

Microsoft Azure (MS Azure)

Microsoft Azure (MS Azure)

MS Azure is a cloud platform that enables the development, deployment, and management of various services and applications through Microsoft’s datacenter network.

Its primary services include hybrid integration, data storage, content delivery network, compute, analytics, IoT, and more. In addition, Azure offers data storage redundancy across multiple data center regions to prevent data loss. 

MS Azure is used by businesses in different sectors, including computer software, information technology, construction, financial services, healthcare, retail, real estate, etc. Its customers include eBay, GE Healthcare, BMW, Boeing, Samsung, and Travelocity. 

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

GCP is a relatively new cloud platform with an intuitive interface and flexible compute options. It provides the same infrastructure to enterprises that Google uses internally for its consumer products, like Google Search and Gmail.

The services include computing, storage, the internet of things (IoT), networking, big data, machine learning, and more. Organizations also get cloud management, security, and developer tools. 

It is suited for organizations venturing into cloud services. It is used by major companies like LinkedIn, SAP, Facebook, Intel, Yahoo, Marriott International. 

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud Comparison

AWS, MS Azure, and GCP are public clouds and hence offer similar features like self-service, autoscaling, compliance, identity management, security, and so on. Yet, they have several functionalities that are different from each other.

AWS vs Azure vs GCP: Establishment

AWS was publicly launched in 2006. It is the oldest and the most experienced vendor in the cloud market. It offers reliable services to individuals, companies, and governments.

MS Azure was launched in 2010 as a cloud computing platform catering to businesses. It has shown exponential progress relative to its competitors over the years.

GCP started in 2011 with a focus on strengthening Google’s products but later started offering enterprise services, allowing businesses to share their infrastructure.

AWS vs Azure vs GCP: Availability Zones

AWS Global Cloud Infrastructure covers 81 availability zones in 25 geographic regions worldwide, with plans to add 21 more zones and 7 more regions, including India.

MS Azure has over 46 regions worldwide and is available in about 140 countries all around the world. By the end of 2021, every country in which Microsoft operates a data center will have at least one region with Azure availability zones architecture.

GCP resources and service availability can be zonal, regional, or across several regions. It presently covers 24 regions and 73 availability zones.

AWS Vs Azure Vs Google Cloud: Basic Capabilities

The basic capabilities like compute, storage, databases, and networking are similar for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

  • Compute:

    AWS offers its flagship EC2 instances that can be customized according to requirements. There are related services like ECS for Kubernetes (EKS), EC2 Container service, and autoscaling. Azure offers Virtual Machines (VMs) and tools like resource manager, autoscaling service, cloud service, and the like. Google’s compute engine delivers VMs in data centers that can be customized to the customers’ needs.

  • Storage:

    AWS offers Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Elastic File System (EFS), Simple Storage (S3), and the like that can integrate with the on-premises environment. MS Azure includes Azure Blob block and core Azure storage services, and more. It also has recovery and backup options.

  • Databases:

    These cloud computing solutions providers support relational/ SQL databases, namely, Azure SQL Database, Amazon Relational Database Service, Redshift, and Google Cloud SQL. You also get support for NoSQL databases, Azure DocumentDB, Amazon DynamoDB, and Google Bigtable.

  • Networking:

    All three of them help with auto server load balancing to manage the traffic and connectivity to their on-premises infrastructure.

GCP vs AWS vs Azure Hybrid Cloud

Many organizations do not want to completely shift to the public cloud when they begin cloud migration. GCP, AWS, and Azure provide a wide range of solutions for hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Azure has a well-established stack and is the most popular hybrid deployment option. Customers get the hardware and software needed to deploy cloud services from a local data center. In addition, it offers multiple integration options with Azure’s open-source, on-premises systems and Edge solutions commonly used in organizations.

AWS and GCP have been working to provide hybrid options to their customers. AWS uses Outposts in which delivers pre-configured racks to customer premises.

The services run as if they exist in the data center. GCP combines Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and the Anthos Config Management console to provide unified services across Kubernetes deployments.

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Market Share and Growth Rate

According to the latest report by Gartner, global public cloud spending is expected to rise by 18% in 2021. It is expected that more than two thirds of organizations using the cloud will increase their spending. Many others are shifting to the cloud due to better cost, capability, and speed of innovation compared to on-premises infrastructure.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) reported $13.5 billion for the first quarter of 2021, witnessing a growth of 32%. Microsoft Azure reported 50% revenue growth over the previous quarter to reach US$17.7 billion, much higher growth than predicted. For Google Cloud, the revenue was $4.047 billion, an increase of 46% year-over-year.

While the current market share of AWS is at 32%, Microsoft Azure witnessed the highest growth compared to AWS and GCP. As a result, Azure occupies 19% of the market share, followed by GCP at 7%.

 AWSAzureGCP
SLA (Service Level Agreement) availabilityAmazon EC2 has 99.5% uptime annually. Amazon S3 provides monthly uptime of 99.9% for every billing cycle 99.9% uptime 99.95% uptime on month basis 
Establishment2006 2010 2011 
IaaSElastic Compute Cloud from Amazon VMs Compute Engine from Google  
PaaSAWS Elastic Beanstalk App and Cloud Services Google App Engine 
NotificationsAmazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) Azure Notification Hub – 
Container Deployment– Container service Container Engine 
Disaster RecoveryDisaster recovery Site recovery – 
Database MigrationDatabase migration services Database migration services – 
Regions25+ 46+ 24+ 
Hybrid CloudOutposts Most popular with several options Anthos 
Revenue Growth Rate32% (quarter) 50% (quarter) 46% YoY 
Supported OSCore OS Windows SLES Cloud Linux Ubuntu, etc. SLES Windows CentOS  Oracle Linux, etc. Windows SLES CoreOS FreeBSD, etc. 
PricingOne-year free trial. Discount of up to 75% for a 1-3 years commitment Free tier covers some services, Up to 75% discount for one-three years commitment Free tier without time limit, GCP Credit of $300 for 12 months apart from a discount of up to 30% for each instance running more than 25 percent per month 

Suggested Read: Why Is Microsoft Azure the Best Cloud for ISVs

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Pricing

As the competition grows, all three have introduced several discounting options and more functionalities like added instances, removed the billing increments, and more.

Out of the system resources offered by the cloud providers such as compute, storage, backup, and networking, compute resources cover about three-fourth of the cloud spending for an organization. So, the price difference between compute instances/ VMs – AWS EC2, Azure VMs, and Google Cloud VMs, decides the total cost of cloud computing to the company.

Comparing AWS, Azure, and GCP instances with similar instances, we get the following observations for different pricing options.

On-Demand Pricing 

The following observations can be made by considering the general-purpose, compute-optimized, memory-optimized, and accelerated computing instances/virtual machines.

  • For systems operating on a general-purpose cloud instance, GCP and AWS have similar pricing.
  • For compute-optimized cloud instances, AWS and Azure have similar pricing. However, GCP is the highest priced due to scalable processors and high performance.
  • For systems operating on memory optimized cloud instances, GCP and AWS have similar pricing. GCP provides superior memory with 40 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) while minimum AWS vCPUs start at 4vCPUs.
  • Price of GCP is highest for accelerated computing instances as it provides 12vCPUs, which is higher than AWS and Azure.

Discounted Pricing Comparison 

Users get discounts on on-demand instances for 1-3 years. If we consider 1-year commitment with no upfront cost, then:

  • General-purpose instances for AWS Reserved Instances and Azure Reserved Savings are almost similar for 1-year committed/reserved plans.
  • GCP Commitment Price is cheaper than AWS and Azure for compute-optimized cloud instances.
  • GCP Commitment Price is cheaper than AWS and Azure for memory optimized instances. This is opposite to on-demand pricing, where the price was highest.
  • GCP Commitment Price is more expensive than AWS Reserved Instances and Azure Reserved Savings for accelerated computing instances.

Serverless Pricing

All three : AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions, have free tier offerings. AWS and Azure almost have a similar monthly price. While GCP has the highest price per month, GCP has the lowest unit price for GBs consumed per second.

Per Second Billing Option

For Linux instances, AWS uses per second billing for each partial instance consumed in an hour by a user. Azure mainly uses per-minute billing, while per-second billing is mainly for container-based instances. GCP offers per-second billing to all VM-based instances. 

Pricing Verdict:

GCP offers cost savings in the long run but is expensive in the short term due to the high-performance resources it provides. Azure and AWS have similar pricing. However, with cost optimization, Azure is the better option. 

Machine TypeAWSAzureGCP
Smallest Instance  (Comprise 8 GB RAM and two virtual CPUs) Around ₹5121.29 per month. Around ₹5195.51 per month. Around ₹3859.52 per month. 
Largest Instance  Around ₹294.66 per hour. (3.84 TB RAM & 128 vCPUs) Around ₹503.96 per hour. (3.89 TB RAM & 128 vCPUs)  Around ₹394.86 per hour.  (3.75 TB RAM & 160 vCPUs) 

You get up to 71 percent savings compared to AWS EC2 for Windows Virtual Machines, 85 percent savings compared to Amazon RDS for SQL database managed instance, and up to 45 percent savings compared to AWS EC2 for SQL Server virtual machines. Hence, Azure has the lowest on-demand and discounted pricing after cost optimization.

Suggested Read: How Azure Can Help with Cloud Cost Optimization?

Conclusion

Although AWS leads in popularity, Microsoft Azure is rising in demand due to the benefits it offers. For companies that have already heavily invested in Microsoft in terms of technology, Azure is the best option. GCP is followed by several new players like IBM and Alibaba, but they are yet to occupy a significant share of the cloud market.

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