By Caroline Blivet
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Azure vs AWS vs Google Cloud: Which Cloud Platform is Best for Your Business?

October 25, 2019

report published by Gartner indicated that the cloud system infrastructure also known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is forecasted to grow by 26 percent in 2020 to reach US $49.1 billion. In addition, Gartner predicted that the market size and growth of the cloud services will expand at nearly three times the growth of overall IT services through 2022.

 

According to Gartner, this trend is due to the fact that more than a third of organizations see cloud investments as a top-three investing priority and are shifting from a cloud-first to a cloud-only strategy to drive both transformation and optimization.

 

Currently, there is a significant competition by the three leading cloud providers: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

 

Azure, AWS, and Google have approximately the same high-level features. They all provide compute, storage and additional services but each platform offers benefits for different types of organizations.

 

In this article, you are going to learn more about these cloud vendors including their features, differences, comparison to help you choose the right service for your business.

 

Let's get started.

 

What is Microsoft Azure

Initially called Windows Azure, Microsoft Azure is a public cloud computing platform, which comes with a wide arrange of cloud services such as compute, storage, networking, databases, developer tools and other functionality which helps organizations scale and grow their business.

 

You can choose any of these services to create, manage and deploy your applications through the cloud.

 

Although Microsoft Azure was launched in 2010, it has been named for the sixth consecutive year in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which reflects the value created for its customers concerning high availability, scalability and security.

 

The Azure platform’s directory features over 600 services available in 54 regions, including file storage, databases, virtual machines, web and mobile apps, as well as backups.

 

As aforementioned, the platform used to be called Windows Azure, but it is now referred to as Microsoft Azure because it offers more than Windows only. Even though Azure offers a robust, integrated platform for organizations that already rely on Windows-based standardization, it is also compatible with Linux and VMware.

 

Researching through these services, you will be able to see the infinite possibilities to build and deploy your IT projects, and for any service that Azure does not have, you can setup a Linux or Windows machine to develop, create, and manage any application that you want.

 

What is Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS was the pioneer in developing a cloud computing platform for enterprise and is still the market leader.

This platform provides reliable, flexible, economical, and easy to use cloud computing services.

 

AWS comprises of various cloud computing products and services. The platform offers storage, servers, remote computing, networking, security, mobile development, and email. AWS comes in two primary products: S3 and EC2.

 

The former is the storage system for the platform, while the latter is the virtual machine service.

 

What is Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Google offers public cloud computing services known as Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

GCP is a portfolio of cloud services that grew around the initial Google App Engine in 2008. App Engine disappeared in 2011 to be replaced by the Google Cloud Platform in 2013.

 

The platform comes with a wide array of tools such as its data storage layer and its Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which is also known as the Google Compute Engine and supports the use of virtual machines. More recently, Google added additional products such as a load balancer, DNS, monitoring tools and data analytics services.

 

Google Cloud platform is compatible with several generations of Linux as well as Windows server versions until 2016 and is available in 22 regions.

 

When you operate an app, website, or service on GPC, Google records all the resources that it uses. It tracks data storage, processing power, network connectivity used, and database queries.

 

Instead of leasing a DNS address or a server per month, the way a standard website provider charges, you only pay for the tools on a per-second basis.

 

AWS is approximately ten times bigger than other platforms. It also hosts famous sites such as Instagram and Netflix Inc (NFLX).

 

AWS spans 22 regions around the world. Each of the regions offers several availability zones where the servers are placed. 

 

The serviced regions also have categories to let users create geographical limits if they want. They are also designed to enhance security by diversifying the areas where the data are stored.

 

 

Comparison between Azure vs AWS vs Google Cloud Platform

 

Compute

Microsoft Azure's primary compute service is simply known as Virtual Machines.

Azure is currently the only platform of the three market leaders to offer a hybrid cloud model. It gives companies the best options when it comes to scalability and security. You can choose to use your onsite servers to run your applications on the Azure stack or just set your compute resources to tap cloud-based resources when needed. 

 

As for AWS, it features the Amazon EC2, which is designed to provide a sufficient and secure compute capacity on the cloud. The interface lets you receive and adjust capacity with less friction.

It gives you total control of all your resources and allows you to operate within the computing environment with minimal friction.

 

On the other hand, Google Cloud Compute Engine provides Virtual Machines in global fiber networks and data centers.

 

Storage

Storage is one of the most crucial characteristics of cloud platforms.

 

The Microsoft Azure storage comes with massive storage space for file system service for cloud, data objects, and messaging store for sufficient messaging.

The scalable platform also features a NoSQL store. It also comes with data services like Tables, Queues, Files, and Azure Blob.

 

Amazon Web Services provides various cloud storage services, including Amazon EFS, Amazon EBS, Amazon Glacier, and FSx for Lustre. All these services support apps and archival compliance regulations.

 

As for Google Cloud Storage, it is an infrastructure as a service to access and store data. It is a single platform for storage for organizations and businesses.

 

Databases

Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud offer support relational databases. For Azure platform has the SQL Database, Relational Database Service for Amazon, and Google Cloud SQL and Redshift for Google Cloud.

 

As for the NoSQL databases, there is Google Bigtable, Amazon DynamoDB, and Azure DocumentDB.

 

Networking

All three cloud services feature some exceptional networking powers alongside connectivity to on-premise systems and automated server load balancing. Here is more information about the networking capabilities of the three platforms.

 

Security

Azure- the platform provides constant security features such as management of data encryption keys, threat management, HTTP load balancing, WAN, or VPN link.

 

Amazon Web Services- The Amazon Web Services features inbuilt firewalls in the Amazon VPC. The platform also boasts of several layers of protection layers against multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and DDoS attacks.

 

Google Cloud- the GCP offers end to end process compromising multilayered data center security, network firewall, intrusion detection, secure global network, full complete data encryption.

 

 

Key differences between Azure, AWS and GPC

 

One common feature among the three cloud providers is focused on security, exceptional support, free tier, and on-demand pricing. All of them are providers by successful enterprises that have made a significant move in the tech world.

 

While all the three platforms are highly commendable, Microsoft Azure differentiates itself with the following.

 

PaaS Capabilities

Even though the three cloud providers offer IaaS capabilities for virtual networking, storage, and machines, Azure provides stronger and faster PaaS capabilities thanks to Azure Apps Services that help developers focus on business requirements rather than the technical ones. Indeed, Azure PaaS enables developers to create, maintain and deploy new cloud services rapidly thanks to 'dev ops' connections that allow managing, monitoring and fine-tuning the apps. Azure PaaS is by far the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way of getting your application to the cloud.

 

Advanced Security & Compliance

Azure is powered by the Security Development Lifecycle, also known as SDL. Security is a core factor here, and services & data are safe and secure on the platform. Azure has more than 50 compliant offerings, where both private and governmental organizations operate from.

 

Additionally, Azure was the first cloud vendor to be approved by the European Union's data protection authority and the first platform to incorporate the ISO 27018, International Standard for Cloud Privacy. So, you can rest assured that your data and operations are safe and secure.

 

Incredible Hybrid Capabilities

Azure boasts of advanced hybrid capabilities, which makes it special. While Google and AWS focus on public cloud, Azure concentrates on hybrid deployments thanks to its famous Azure Stack where customers can interoperate with their own data centers to deploy Azure cloud services.

 

There is a wide array of hybrid connections such as content delivery networks (CDNs), virtual private networks (VPNs), as well as ExpressRoute to enhance performance and usability.

 

Pricing

Microsoft clearly states that AWS is 5 times more expensive than Azure for Windows Server and SQL Server.

 

Making a clear comparison between the three main players can be difficult since they offer many different features with different pricing options and make frequent discounts. Also, pricing will differ from region to region.

 

That being said, all three cloud providers offer per-second billing. But, if you're an existing Visual Studio or Microsoft Enterprise Agreement customer, you might benefit from EA and MSDN discounts that will lower your costs.

 

Furthermore, all of them provide a free trial and a pricing calculator to help you navigate through their options and decide which player is best depending on the needs of your organization.

 

Azure pricing calculator can be found here, AWS here, and Google here.

 

Conclusion

Choosing a cloud provider is a daunting task and you might want to take into considerations different factors to make the right decision that will fit your business.

 

Azure and AWS offer more comprehensive and mature services than Google Cloud Platform. Even though AWS cloud services are more complete, they can be difficult to navigate and manage in comparison to Azure which makes things very easy.

You also need to take into consideration the fact that you might  already be using Windows servers and Microsoft Office applications which will facilitate the Azure integration.

 

Therefore, Microsoft Azure would be ideal if you're migrating to the cloud for the first time, if most of your business apps and platforms run on Microsoft products and if you're looking for a hybrid solution.

 

If you want more information on Azure and how it can help your business, download our whitepaper.

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