Cloud deployments are now the norm. From streamlined operations to ensuring remote work capabilities, nearly every company has adopted either an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider. Organizations will mostly likely want to begin with one cloud-service provider, either Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). More often than not, companies choose to deploy multi-cloud environments for various reasons. These include reducing risk by diversifying essential services across multiple providers, optimization by deploying the right workload in the right cloud, and minimizing vendor lock-in. A comparison of AWS, Azure, and GCP can give visibility into the differences between the three different public cloud providers.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

A pioneer of cloud computing, Amazon has been the first entrant into the cloud services marketover a decade ago and leads in terms of both the number of products and customers, with AWS considered to be the benchmark of cloud service quality.

AWS offers a range of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings that can be classified into computing, database, content delivery and storage, and networking.

AWS enables a smooth and flexible data collection flow using serverless services such as Amazon Kinesis Streams, Amazon SQS Queues and AWS Lambda Functions. It provides organizations with the option to choose the web application platform, operating system, database and programming languages, among others as per their requirement.

Cloud infrastructure resource usage can be monitored using AWS management tools such as AWS CloudTrail and Amazon CloudWatch for tracking user activity and AWS Config for managing the resource inventory and changes.

AWS contributes to significant enhancement in the productivity and business growth of organizations. A few drawbacks of AWS include the complex infrastructure and default service limits which are set in accordance with average user needs.

Amazon data centers are the largest among the three cloud providers and are located in 84 regions across the world.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure platform has been designed for building, deploying and managing various services and applications through the huge network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. Azureโ€™s offerings include compute, networking, data management databases and performance.

Azure Site Recovery enables organizations of all sizes to orchestrate site-to-site replication and data recovery to VMs hosted on Azure itself. Azure offers Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS) or data storage redundancy across multiple data center regions.

Azure ExpressRoute facilitates connectivity of the data center to Azure through a private link without using the Internet, thereby providing higher security, greater reliability and lower latency.

Azure also has extensive networking capabilities including support for multiple site-to-site connections to virtual networks, along with the ability to connect virtual networks across different regions to each other.

Azure has the lowest on-demand and discounted instance pricing. Specialist developers can write, test and deploy algorithms using the Azure Machine Learning Studio.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

With an intuitive interface, lower costs, preemptible instances and flexible compute options, GCP is an attractive alternative to both AWS and Azure. Google uses full-scale encryption of all data and communication channels including the traffic between data centers.

Some of the areas where Google Cloud strongly competes with AWS include instance and payment configurability, privacy and traffic security, cost-efficiency, and Machine Learning.

While all the three cloud providers offer discounts up to 75 percent for a commitment of one to three years, Google additionally offers a sustained use discount of up to 30 percent on each instance type running for more than 25 percent each month.

Google offers several off-the-shelf APIs pertaining to computer vision, natural language processing and translation. Machine learning engineers can build models based on Googleโ€™s Cloud Machine Learning Engineโ€™s open-source TensorFlow deep learning library.

Features Comparison

Compute: AWS offers the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) that handles all compute services by managing virtual machines that have preconfigured settings and can also be configured by the users as required. On the other hand, Azure offers Virtual Machines and Virtual Machine scale sets while GCP provides the Google Compute Engine (GCE) which performs the same functions.

Storage: Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is the best option for storage with extensive documentation, tried and tested technology with proper community support. Microsoft Azure Storage and Google Cloud Storage also offer reliable storage services.

Multi-Cloud Support: AWS, Azure and Google Cloud have upped their respective games when it comes to multi-cloud infrastructure. AWS was one of the first cloud players to enter multi-cloud game with Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) which allows its AWS users to manage their containers and K8s applications on Azure and Google Cloud. Azure went the extra mile by bringing out Arc which allows its users to run the Microsoft cloudโ€™s services on both AWS and Google Cloud. This is an edge Azure possess over AWS as the latter has limited itself to containers and K8s. Despite its late entry, Google has also forayed into this arena with Anthos which allows Kubernetes clusters and other such loads to be run on AWS and Azure.

Databases: Multiple tools and service options pertaining to databases are offered by all the major service providers. Amazonโ€™s Relational Database Service (RDS) supports major databases such as Oracle and PostgreSQL and manages everything from updating to patching. Azure SQL database offers SQL database handling features for Azure, while it is Cloud SQL for GCP.

Location: AWS, Azure and GCP offer great coverage across the world and ensure peak application performance by having the least possible route to the intended customer base. At the time of this writing, Amazon has 77 availability zones, Azure has a presence in 60+ regions and Google in 33 countries, with newer regions being added regularly.

Documentation: All three vendors offer high-quality documentation though AWS is slightly ahead of Azure and GCP.

Stanley Ng (Stan) ้ป„ๅฎๆ˜Ž

Stan is a trainer, consultant, and coach for the past 15 years and has personally trained, consulted, and coached over 5,000 professionals from 45 fortune 500 companies. Stan is currently an active VMware Certified Instructor and Google Cloud Authorised Trainer delivering authorised IT trainings.ย Started his career as an IT engineer in 2005. By 2007, he led a team of 27 professionals from 5 countries managing large projects of over 10,000 users. From 2008 onwards, he started delivering training for fortune 500 companies.ย 

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