AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Public Cloud Services Comparison

AWS vs. Google Cloud vs Azure: Cloud Services Comparison



Public cloud services continue their meteoric rise as companies large and small look for ways to innovate faster, streamline business processes, and reduce costs. Leading technology research firm, Gartner, predicts continued growth through 2020 with a 16.4% compound annual growth rate.


The two most popular public cloud services are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which offers virtualized computing resources over the internet, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which delivers a platform to develop, run, and manage applications.


Today, three public cloud providers in the IaaS/PaaS space stand out in terms of growth, service offerings and infrastructure: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Together, these three providers represent nearly 2/3 of the rapidly growing market for cloud computing.


Amazon’s AWS leads the current pack and is the senior member of the group, having been around far longer than the others and establishing an early lead. Microsoft Azure entered the market focused more on the PaaS side of the table, but has since built out more of its IaaS offering and provides a solid option for organizations already invested in Microsoft technology and developer skills. Because of its strong presence in the enterprise, Azure is beginning to make inroads into AWS’ dominance. Google Cloud Platform has been a fast up-and-coming player to the game, pushing hard with aggressive pricing and a fast and flexible infrastructure.


Growth and Size


It can be difficult to accurately gauge the size and growth of each offering from these three companies, since each product offering is only a portion of the company’s overall business, and each reports numbers slightly differently. For example, Microsoft includes Office 365 revenue in its 2015 total take of more than $6 billion. And Google is not revealing exact numbers yet for its relatively new Google Cloud Platform offering.


AWS is clearly the most mature and most open system of the three, offering the highest number of instances and the broadest selection of technologies and databases. In fact, according to research, the amount of computing power AWS is supplying customers is more than ten times that of the other top 14 cloud providers combined.


Both Amazon and Microsoft have at least 1 million servers spread over dozens of data centers throughout the world. A typical AWS data center is on the smaller side, containing 50,000 – 80,000 servers. Microsoft builds larger data centers. Google provides a little information on its data center locations but is secretive in detailing exactly how many data centers they have built, how large they are, and how much of their technology is partitioned out for the IaaS service.


Platform Launched 2015 Revenue Instances Billing Marquee Customers
AWS 2006 $7 billion 7 families with 38 instance types Per hour, rounded up Netflix, Airbnb, Pinterest
Azure 2010 $5 billion 4 families with 33 instance types Per minute, rounded up Ford, NBC Digital
Google Cloud 2010 $400 million 4 families with 18 instance types Per minute,
10 minute minimum
Snapchat, Wix



Service Offering


AWS vs. Azure – These two giants are essentially tied when it comes to overall features and services. Both have similar compute and storage offerings. Both share the common elements of a public cloud: self-service and instant provisioning, autoscaling, and security, compliance and identity management features. Both AWS and Azure are continuing to invest in new technologies such as containers and analytics, like Hadoop clusters. Finally, both vendors support relational databases and NoSQL databases.


AWS vs. Google Cloud Platform – One of the biggest controversies in cloud circles today is the “AWS vs. Google Cloud Platform” comparison. AWS clearly wins in the size category, providing a broad and wide product mix that results in a huge set of capabilities for users. Google’s toolset is much smaller, but highly focused on delivering those tools very efficiently and quickly. Google’s overall speed of I/O and ability to startup instances very quickly is an advantage, as well as the company’s advancement in Big Data.


Google vs. Azure – In the services offering war, Azure is the winner because of Google’s focused offering. Both companies are equal in basics such as storage and database. But when it comes to overall speed such as I/O and instance startup performance, Google continues to shine.




The hugely competitive market of cloud vendors has been very beneficial for customers, with frequent cuts to prices for various services. But one area that seems to favor Google Cloud and Azure, vs AWS, is pricing model. Of the three vendors, only AWS bills by the hour, while Azure and Google Cloud services are billed to the minute.


When comparing Google vs. Azure for pricing, other factors come into play. Both companies provide pricing rounded up to the minute. But according to Google , Cloud Platform is now 40% less expensive for many workloads due to Google’s automatic discounting for sustained use and lack of prepaid lock-in.




All three companies have been investing heavily in infrastructure to provide the most reliable and secure service possible. For example, Microsoft and Google have both been building data centers at a rapid pace, with more data centers from these two companies coming online this year – including a possible underwater data center from Microsoft. Amazon plans to build an entire data center in China that will service that market alone, intending to stave off privacy and security concerns. Nevertheless, outages have occurred with all three vendors, and have sometimes been serious. AWS has suffered the most exposure with outages, partly because the offering has been available for nearly 10 years and many high-profile clients depend on the infrastructure to do business. When AWS went down in September 2015, it took Netflix and Reddit with it. At the same time, Azure outages caused downtime for the popular internet-based phone service Skype.




In this market, public cloud comparisons lead to one main conclusion: the customer is going to continue to win big as these three tech giants battle over this enormous market opportunity. Regular price cuts and a rush to expand services and offerings, while providing faster service with more security, will ensure cloud customers are happier with each passing day.


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