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AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Choosing the Best Cloud Provider for You

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform collectively dominate the cloud computing market. Whether you are developing an initial cloud migration strategy, or actively migrating to Google Cloud, AWS or Azure, it is important to understand what each provider offers in terms of storage, computing capabilities and pricing options.

In this post, we’ll review the three cloud giants and compare their storage and compute services, and show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help with managing complex cloud deployments.

In this article, you will learn:




What Is Amazon Web Services?

Amazon Web Services is the earliest of the three big cloud providers. It is offered in 22 geographical regions with 69 availability zones. Its core services are the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and the Simple Storage Service (S3) but it offers thousands of additional services that provide development and management tools, cloud storage, managed databases, machine learning, data pipeline tools and more.

What Is Azure?

Microsoft Azure is a public cloud service available in 54 geographical regions with approx. The Azure network has 162 availability zones. It is a strong contender for Amazon with a solid feature set in both storage and compute, with powerful Platform as a Service (PaaS) options and strong support for hybrid cloud scenarios.

What Is Google Cloud Platform?

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is offered in 20 geographical regions. It uses Google’s global fiber network which provides fast connectivity between its data centers. While it is the newest of the three big cloud providers, Google’s cloud storage options, compute capabilities, and growing number of services are allowing it to catch up to AWS and Azure. In addition, it offers “customer-friendly pricing”, which aims to be easier to understand than Amazon or Azure’s pricing and offers significant comparative cost savings.

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Storage Services

Below we show the primary cloud storage services provided by AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, and highlight their strengths across each storage tier.

Storage Service

AWS Azure Google Cloud Platform Strength

Object Storage

Amazon S3

Azure Blob Storage

Google Cloud Storage

  • AWS: broad industry compatibility and “12 nines” durability

  • Azure: REST, Powershell and CLI access

  • GCP: unified API and instant access from any storage class

Persistent Disk Storage

Amazon EBS

Azure Managed Disks (HDD/SSD)

Persistent Disk (HDD/SSD)

  • AWS: customizable volume types that can be swapped with no downtime

  • Azure: high performance, up to 2GB/second, 1.6m IOPS

  • GCP: lowest price/performance ratio

File Storage

Amazon EFS

Azure Files

Google Cloud Filestore

  • AWS: performance up to 10 GB/sec and 500,000 IOPS

  • Azure: strong hybrid cloud support

  • GCP: fully managed and tightly integrated with Kubernetes for easy data sharing

Cold Storage

Amazon Glacier

Azure Long-Term Storage

Nearline & Coldline

  • AWS: high durability with focus on regulatory compliance

  • Azure: automatic encryption and flexible latency options

  • GCP: sub-second access latency and direct data query capabilities

Data Transfer

Amazon Snowball

Azure Import/Export Service

Storage Transfer Service

  • AWS: on-premise to cloud transfer via appliance with easy to use transfer client

  • Azure: on-premise to cloud transfer via appliance with built-in encryption and data integrity features

  • GCP: allows scheduled data transfer from any online source

Summary: Each cloud provider has unique capabilities across their different storage services. AWS storage services provide a robust offering across all storage tiers, with strong automation and extensive high availability options. Azure storage services shine in their strong support for hybrid deployments and seamless disaster recovery options. Google Cloud is a strong contender that makes up for lacking features in competitive pricing.

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Compute Services

Below we show the primary compute services provided by the big three cloud providers and cover their strengths in each category.

Compute Service

AWS

Azure

Google Cloud Platform

Strengths

Virtual Machine Instances

Amazon EC2

Azure Virtual Machines

Google Compute Engine

  • AWS: world’s most robust service with the biggest network of regions and AZs

  • Azure: supports a wide variety of servers with a focus on hybrid cloud capabilities

  • GCP: lower instance prices across all tiers and custom machine types

Auto Scaling

Amazon Auto-Scaling

Azure Autoscale

Managed Instance Groups

  • AWS: autoscaling is seamless and strongly integrated across all cloud services

  • Azure: Autoscaling can be triggered via machine metrics without combining other monitoring services

  • GCP: bi-directional autoscaling offered in combo with autohealing and auto updating

Container as a Service

Amazon EKS

Azure Kubernetes Service

Google Kubernetes Engine

  • AWS: secure by default and supports hybrid container deployments

  • Azure: fully-managed service with a focus on enterprise-scale deployments

  • GCP: oldest and most robust CaaS engine

Function as a Service

Amazon Lambda

Azure Functions

Google Cloud Functions

  • AWS: large ecosystem of integrations, saves cost by only charging when code runs

  • Azure: seamless developer experience from coding to deployment and monitoring

  • GCP: functions are highly portable and integrate with majority of services

Summary: AWS compute services were first offered in 2006 and still provide the broadest global infrastructure and most extensive feature set for running workloads of all types—VM, container and serverless. Azure compute services provide a comparable infrastructure, greater ease of use and an easier ramp up for Microsoft shops. Google Cloud compute services offer the smoothest learning curve and the lowest instance and usage prices.

Cloud Management with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, cloud automation, Kubernetes integration, and more.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides Cloud Manager, a UI and APIs for management, automation and orchestration, that supports a hybrid or multi-cloud architecture.

Want to learn more about Google Cloud Migration?

Have a look at this article:


Want to get started? Try out Cloud Volumes ONTAP today with a 30-day free trial.

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