Their three names are the most popular in the public cloud computing services arena: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Together, they control over 60 percent of the market. In this article, we will see which one of these platforms is the best for you – if any – and then, we will help you decide which one to opt for so you can get the best out of your move to the cloud.
But, before we begin, let us not forget that the best choice is always the cloud service provider that meets all, or most, of your business process requirements. This means that what is the best for one business doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best for another one. We will compare the three cloud platforms and let you decide which one would be the best fit for you.
Marketplace share of the three cloud systems
According to Canalys, as of October 2020, the market shares stand at AWS leading with 32 percent, Azure a far second with 19 percent, and Google Cloud Platform trailing third with just 7 percent of the overall global market.
Here too, we shouldn’t forget that just because a software solution holds the lion’s share of a market doesn’t mean it should automatically be construed to be the right choice for you.
Feature-to-feature comparisons of Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud
Below is a table to make it easier to compare the features of each cloud platform and also see what their competitors have to offer:
|Major services provided||Azure offers virtual hard disks.||AWS offers instances of virtual private servers (VPS) and virtual machines (VM).||Google Cloud Platform offers VM instances.|
|Best for…||Big data and predictive analysis, game and app development, scalable data warehousing, blockchain technology, DevOps, IoT assimilation.||Developer and management tools, machine learning and predictive analytics, databases and storage solutions, business productivity tools, compute.||Data management and storage, app development, SMB business analytics, AI, productivity, and process management tools.|
|Processors for Instances||Up to 3.829 TB RAM, 128 vCPUs||Up to 3.84 TB RAM, 128 vCPUs||Up to 3.75 TB RAM, 160 vCPUs|
|Marketplaces available||Azure||AWS||G Suite|
|PaaS||Cloud Services||Elastic Beanstalk||Google App Engine|
|Kubernetes||Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS)||Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Services (EKS)||Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)|
|Serverless Computing||Azure Serverless||AWS Lambda||Google Cloud Functions|
|Object Storage||Azure Blob Storage||AWS Cloud Object Storage||Google Cloud Storage|
|Virtual Server Disks||Azure Disk Storage||Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)||Google Compute Engine – Persistent Disks|
|Cold Storage||Azure Archive Storage||Amazon S3 Glacier||Google Cloud Archive Storage|
|Authentication or authorization methods||Azure Active Directory||AWS Identity & Access Management (IAM)||Cloud Identity and Access Management (Cloud IAM), Google Sign-In, OAuth 2.0, OpenID Connect|
|Down sides||Outages||Confusing billing system||Fewer features offered; especially when compared to AWS|
Azure vs AWS vs Google Cloud Platform
Let’s compare the three cloud platforms in detail.
- Full name: Microsoft Azure
- Price: Simple Price Calculator
Microsoft Azure was initially released in 2010. Today, the platform is available in 54 regions around the world and supports both Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Azure is used for building, deploying, testing, and managing business applications. The platform also provides other services like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
But, that’s not all. Azure has many features including:
- Big data storage and predictive analytics
- Game and app development
- Scalable data warehousing
- Blockchain technology
- IoT integration
Although the strength of Azure has always been as a provider of IaaS, it also comes out on top with in-built and ready-to-run server apps that support a range of languages that include .NET, Java, PHP, Node.js, and Python.
Azure is the best choice for organizations that have already adopted a Microsoft networking environment and use the company’s office productivity tools in their day-to-day activities. Fortunately, this is a large portion of overall office environments.
This widespread use of Microsoft products also makes Azure one of the easiest enterprise cloud platforms to migrate to because it has familiar features and can thus be mastered without the need of expert know-how – well, at least not for basic configurations and operations.
In fact, while Azure’s compute offering focuses on its VMs, their Cloud Services and Resource Manager help to deploy applications to the cloud. This is all further enhanced with the Azure Autoscaling services.
But, still, and although Azure has been incorporating more third-party services, it is still too closely tied to its own [Microsoft] services like Active Directory.
When it comes to implementation, Azure’s Machine Learning enables developers to code, test, and deploy algorithms. They can also access a marketplace for off-the-shelf APIs.
Finally, other additional features that come with Azure include the likes of storage services, Blob block storage, as well as Table, Queue, and File Storage. Disaster recovery is aided with Site Recovery, Import/Export, and Azure Backup.
Cons: as great as Azure is, a drawback that really stands out is the fact that the company isn’t really famous for its up times. While some might argue this is expected from larger companies – simply because they have a larger assets count – we think the larger the company is (and the bigger the number of its assets) the better its uptimes and failsafe strategies should be.
You can get the full Azure experience via its free trial.
- Full name: Amazon Web Services
- Price: Simple Price Calculator
This cloud platform was initially launched in 2002 but needed to be re-launched in 2006. Amazon’s AWS has 22 regions located around the world, 14 Availability Zones, and 114 edge locations which make it a far-reaching and reliable cloud services provider.
Amazon provides different services that can be categorized into IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. It is a platform-agnostic service provider when it comes to operating systems and languages. This means clients can select the programming model or development platform that they find most compatible with their current business processing environment.
Other AWS services include:
- Developer, engagement, and management tools
- Machine learning and predictive analytics
- Databases and storage solutions
- Business productivity tools
- App integration
When it comes to a virtual private cloud, AWS users can compartmentalize their networks while still remaining within their cloud architecture. They use private IP addresses, network gateways, and route tables to distinguish the borders of each subnet. AWS includes all these features and presents it as a great choice for organizations that require scalability, ease of configuration, and reliable security.
To ensure the safety and integrity of their clients’ data, AWS’ data centers and services are protected by several layers of physical and operational security features. The company also conducts regular audits to continuously ensure its infrastructure’s overall security.
The widespread support for third-party software and services and its performance abilities make AWS stand head and shoulders above the competition. Of course, the company has the advantage of age and experience over said competition, and this also allows them to offer more of the services their clients may need, regardless of the size or type of their organizations.
Sadly, this too comes with a caveat, because the size and sheer scale of the AWS platform make it difficult to get much professional attention when it comes to support; this is one of the most common-heard complaints from their clients. The only way around it, it seems, is to have to sign up for premium support, which could prove to be a costly affair.
Cons: if there is one thing that can be a drawback when it comes to AWS, it would be their billing system. Most of the complaints made against the system involve either overcharges or unclear details about services rendered and then, charged for. Of course, there are several cost optimization methods to help with this issue, but the basic problem remains.
You can use the AWS Free Tier to get a feel of what this platform has to offer.
- Full name: Google Cloud Platform
- Price: Simple Price Calculator
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) was initially released in 2008. The platform was written in Java, C++, Python, and Ruby. It supports several generations of Linux in addition to Windows Server versions (up to 2016).
GCP provides different services that include IaaS, PaaS, and serverless platform.
Other major features include:
- Data management and storage
- App development
- SMB business analytics and AI
- Productivity and workload management tools
Also available are different forms of networking architectures and configurations like Virtual Private Clouds, Cloud CDN, Cloud DNS, and Cloud Load Balancing. They also offer services for big data analytics and a platform to build the Internet of things (IoT) solutions.
Google Cloud is also a solution provider that is friendly to the open-source user community. But, the biggest advantage of this platform is its investment in machine learning. It offers several useful machine learning tools as a result: Cloud Video Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Speech-to-Text API, and Cloud Vision API are just a few good examples.
And then there is the fact that the platform has one of the largest bodies of queryable data in the world at its disposal: Google Chrome searches. This data provides a gateway to a range of services that help to further boost Google Cloud’s profile.
It is true that Google entered the cloud market later than the other competitors. And, it doesn’t have the enterprise focus to help draw corporate clients like the other cloud platform providers. But, these shortcomings (if they can be considered as such) are offset by its technical expertise which is profoundly superior to the others. Its industry-leading tools in deep learning and artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics are significant advantages over the other platforms.
With regards to security, Google Cloud is a good choice because it encrypts its data as well as its communication channels. This means that whether your data is in storage or transit it is kept protected from malicious users, at all times.
Cons: for a company that is a leader in AI technology and has the global penetration it boasts, Google Cloud doesn’t offer as many features as it could. This fact is glaringly evident when compared to those that are offered by AWS, for example.
You can find your Google Cloud Platform free trial here.
What makes for the best choice?
Ok; now that we have seen what each of the three cloud platform service providers can help you with, it is time to help you make a choice. To find the best choice for you, you need to take into consideration the following facts about each provider:
- Find a reliable provider – apart from the brand, look into some research about its security and reliability; good insights can be obtained from reviews done by both current and previous customers.
- Evaluate stability – also, look into their track records on the availability of regular releases (or updates), uninterrupted performance times, global platform reach, and load balancing performances.
- Consider costs and benefits of migration – calculate your ROI (return on investment) by comparing the current cost of running an in-house server versus that of making all your resources available in an enterprise cloud.
- Look for standardized service – make sure the platform offers cost-effective apps and has all the resources you may need; better yet, see if you can achieve better performance using their services by adopting new software and processes.
- Evaluate elasticity – the best company is always the one that will cater to your ever-changing needs; make sure they have easily scalable packages that can expand and contract as your business needs change.
Need help choosing the best cloud platform?
If you want to know which of the three choices in this post – Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud Platform – is the right one for you, read on:
Azure is a good choice if:
- You’re migrating to the cloud for the first time or new to the cloud-hosting world
- Most of your business apps, platforms, and network architecture are Windows-based
- You’re looking for a hybrid solution
- You’re a developer
AWS is a good choice if:
- You’re aiming for a wider market share or aiming for a more global reach
- You want a stable, reliable service from a cloud platform with a long track record
- You need flexibility and a wider range of services
- You’re a medium-to-large organization
Google Cloud Platform is a good choice if:
- You’re looking for a comprehensive container-based model
- Your company is already adept at technology, network, and storage architecture design and configuration, and wants to become leaner and more cost-effective
- You own a hyper-scale networking environment
- You regularly develop and deploy cloud-based software solutions
And there you have it. We have reviewed the three biggest players in the cloud platform market. We have also made it easier for you to choose the one that will be best for your business environment. If there are any topics you think we may have skipped, please let us know about them by leaving us a comment below.