Since its introduction, cloud computing has advanced significantly. Nowadays, the matter of discussion is not whether to embrace cloud computing or not, but which cloud platform to select. With numerous cloud providers occupying the cloud computing market, AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are the top contenders.
Each of these platforms has its own unique set of features, benefits, and drawbacks, and it can be difficult to determine which is the right choice for your business. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the key differences between AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud Platform (GCP), so you can make an informed decision about which cloud computing platform is right for you.
Overview of cloud computing
Cloud computing provides access to computing power, databases, storage, applications, and other IT resources on a pay-per-use basis, with these services being accessible via the internet through a cloud service platform. It enables companies to store data and run applications in a centralised location rather than on their own computers. This centralised model can provide significant cost savings if the right cloud computing platform is chosen. Additionally, by moving your computing resources off-premises, you may be able to improve your data security, as you no longer need to protect your own infrastructure. Cloud computing is broken down into three main service models:
- SaaS (software as a service)
- PaaS (platform as a service)
- IaaS (infrastructure as a service).
We’ll take a closer look at each of these service models in the following section.
What is AWS?
AWS is a cloud computing platform offered by Amazon. It is designed for businesses of all sizes, with a variety of pricing options to fit any budget. AWS was one of the first cloud computing platforms, first going online in 2006. Since then, it has become one of the biggest and most popular cloud computing providers.
AWS is considered a leading example of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), providing scalable compute, storage, and load-balancing services for businesses to run their applications. AWS is built on top of an extensive network of data centres, spread across the globe. It features a wide variety of services, including computing, networking, storage, database, analytics, application services, and more. AWS is an extremely robust platform that provides a range of features, but it is also the most complex of the three platforms we’ll be examining in this article. AWS is best for businesses that want to be able to customise their computing resources and need extensive scalability.
What is Azure?
Azure is a cloud computing platform provided by Microsoft. It was first introduced in 2010 as Microsoft’s answer to AWS. Azure is often considered the second-largest commercial cloud computing platform after AWS, and offers four forms of cloud computing: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and serverless functions.
Azure features a wide variety of computing, data storage, and application services. As a result, it is a great option for businesses that need a wide range of cloud computing services. Azure also provides a number of hybrid cloud capabilities, allowing businesses to use both on-premise and cloud computing resources. It is essential to note that Azure is not just for Windows-based services. It also provides support for open-source languages, technologies, and platforms, thus allowing anyone to create and maintain any type of application.
As Azure is offered by Microsoft, it provides an extensive range of services specifically designed for Microsoft-oriented businesses, allowing them to transition to a cloud or a hybrid-cloud setup with ease. Microsoft Azure is used by almost all Fortune 500 corporations and has an impressive history of satisfying enterprise customers.
Azure is best for businesses that want access to a wide variety of cloud computing services, have an established relationship with Microsoft, and need hybrid cloud capabilities.
What is Google Cloud Platform?
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a cloud computing platform offered by Google. It is designed for businesses of all sizes, with a variety of pricing options to fit any budget. GCP was first offered in 2011 as Google’s response to AWS and Azure. Since then, it has become one of the most popular cloud computing providers
GCP is considered a leading example of a platform as a service (PaaS), providing a wide variety of application services for businesses to run their applications. GCP is built on top of an extensive network of data centres, spread across the globe. It features a wide variety of services, including computing, networking, storage, database, analytics, application services, and more. GCP is an extremely robust platform that provides a wide range of features, but it is also the simplest of the three platforms we’ll be examining in this article. GCP is best for businesses that want to be able to quickly get up and running without having to make extensive customizations to their computing environment.
Comparing AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform
There are many factors to consider when choosing between cloud computing platforms, but there are a few key considerations that will help you narrow down your options. These include cost, security and compliance, scalability, and cloud computing services. Each of these platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses that make it a better fit for certain businesses over others. While AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are all robust platforms, certain aspects of each make them more suitable for certain businesses. Let’s take a closer look at how these platforms compare.
Regions and availability
When determining a cloud provider, the primary factor to reflect on is the service areas and availability it offers. These factors have a considerable effect on the efficiency of your cloud, taking into account variables such as latency and adherence to regulations, particularly when it involves data.
- AWS spans 96 availability zones within 30 regions worldwide
- Azure has 60+ announced regions, with at least three availability zones in each region
- GCP has 27 regions with 82 availability zones
Azure has the widest regional reach when compared to other cloud computing services, however, they all cover most of the world. Furthermore, each provider is continually growing and expanding, adding extra regions and zones to meet the steadily growing computing needs.
Because AWS is the largest and oldest of the three platforms, it is generally the cheapest option. This is especially true for smaller businesses. Although AWS provides great value, companies often find they are confused by the pricing system. Even though AWS keeps cutting costs, many businesses still find it challenging to comprehend the cost architecture and manage expenses successfully when running hefty operations on the service.
Microsoft stepped into the cloud sector by migrating its traditional services such as Windows Server, Office, SQL Server, Sharepoint, and more to the cloud. This has let them gain an advantage over their rivals as Azure is compatible with many applications that are widely used by businesses. Furthermore, Microsoft offers considerable discounts to their customers on service agreements.
Google Cloud Platform is generally more affordable than Azure. However, it is important to note that these costs only include the infrastructure. Additional costs will be required to hire developers to manage the infrastructure.
Security and compliance considerations
AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are all robust platforms with excellent track records when it comes to security. However, each platform has different security features that make each better suited to certain business types. This is where it is vital for businesses to know what they want from a cloud platform and how the shared responsibility model works with each provider. Managed security service providers can offer businesses an overview of security and compliance considerations specific to your business when deciding on the best cloud platform.
All three of these platforms can provide great scalability, but AWS and GCP are better suited for larger organisations. AWS is generally better suited for businesses that want to scale quickly, but are willing to invest in building out their infrastructure. GCP is generally better suited for businesses that need a highly scalable platform, but don’t want to build out all of the necessary infrastructure themselves. Azure is an ideal option for organisations that want to be able to scale as needed, but don’t want to commit to a particular level of scalability, particularly those businesses already part of the Microsoft world.
Cloud computing services
All three of these platforms provide a wide variety of cloud computing services, but they each excel in different areas. For example, AWS is a better choice for those who will rely heavily on machine learning and artificial intelligence applications. Azure is better suited for those who rely heavily on relational database management systems. Google Cloud Platform is equally suited to all types of business applications.
Which cloud computing platform does your business need?
When comparing these three platforms, consider how each would fit into your organisation’s current infrastructure and future plans. Cost, scalability, reliability, availability, and security are all key considerations when it comes to this decision. Talk to the cloud consultants at INTELLIWORX for expert advice and guidance to ensure no matter what platform you choose, it is the perfect fit for your business.