Blog

Azure vs Google Cloud: How They Compare

Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are two of the leaders in the cloud computing market. If you are considering an Azure or a Google Cloud migration, or switching providers, it is important to understand what each environment is offering in terms of storage, computing capabilities and pricing options.

In this post, we’ll review these two cloud services and compare their storage and compute services. We will also  show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help with managing complex cloud deployments.

In this article, you will learn:

What Is Azure?

Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud service. It is available in 54 geographical regions, with approximately 162 availability zones. It offers a robust Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) portfolio as well as powerful Platform as a Service (PaaS) features, especially for Windows applications.

Azure provides specialized services for big data and analytics, game and mobile app development, data warehousing, DevOps benefits like agile development pipelines, and more.

What Is Google Cloud Platform?

Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Google’s public cloud service, is a newcomer to the cloud services industry. As of 2019, it is offered in 20 geographical regions. However, GCP makes up for its limited reach with the advantages of Google’s unparalleled scale. It leverages Google’s private fiber optic network which provides blazing fast connectivity between its data centers.

Google Cloud also provides strong support for containers due to Google’s close connection with Kubernetes. Lastly, it was built with “customer-friendly pricing”, which aims to be simpler and more understandable, and also lower, than comparable cloud services.

Azure vs Google Cloud: Storage Services

Here are the services Azure and Google Cloud Platform provide across the common cloud storage tiers.

Storage Service

Azure

Google Cloud

Features and Benefits

Object Storage

Azure Blob Storage

Google Cloud Storage

●    Azure provides REST API, Powershell and CLI access

●    Google optimizes price/performance using Object Lifecycle Management

Persistent Disk Storage

Azure Managed Disks (HDD/SSD)

Persistent Disk (HDD/SSD)

●    Azure offers Ultra Disk SSD with up to 2GB/second, 1.6m IOPS

●    Google offers the cheapest price/performance for HDD/SSD

File Storage

Azure Files

Google Cloud Filestore

●    Azure provides access to files via standard SMB protocol

●    Google offers NAS access and integrates with GKE

Cold Storage

Azure Long-Term Storage

Nearline & Coldline

●    Azure offers hot, cool, and archive access tiers

●    Google offers cold storage with sub-second response times

Data Transfer

Azure Import/Export Service

Storage Transfer Service

●    Azure offers a data transfer command line tool and an option for shipping physical drives

●    Google offers API and console access and lets you schedule data transfer tasks

Summary: Azure provides a well-rounded set of storage services and features, but can have a steep learning curve, especially for users without a background in Microsoft technology. Google offers fewer features but shines in storage pricing and ease of its use.

Azure vs Google Cloud: Compute Services

Here are the primary services Azure and Google Cloud Platform offer for running VMs and containerized workloads in the cloud.

Compute Service

Azure

Google Cloud

Features and Benefits

Virtual Machine Instances

Azure Virtual Machines

Google Computer Engine

●    Azure offers more regions and availability zones

●    Google provides lower prices across all instance types as well as Custom Machine Types

Auto Scaling

Azure Autoscale

Managed Instance Groups

●    Azure lets you autoscale using a wide variety of metrics

●    Google provides auto-healing and built-in load balancing

Container as a Service

Azure Kubernetes Service

Google Kubernetes Engine

●    AKS supports Visual Studio and Azure DevOps

●    Google is considered the most robust Kubernetes service

Function as a Service

Azure Functions

Google Cloud Functions

●    Azure offers an end-to-end experience from coding to deployment and monitoring

●    Google’s service emphasizes simplicity


Summary: Google Cloud cannot yet compete with Azure's massive data center infrastructure, but makes up for it with stronger support for container and Kubernetes use cases, and a smoother learning curve across all types of deployments.

Google Cloud competes with Microsoft Azure on price and provides more flexible pricing across almost all cloud services. However, Azure provides a discount model that can be attractive for existing Microsoft customers. You can use an Azure TCO to calculate the overall costs of Azure.Azure vs Google Cloud: Pricing

Microsoft Azure pricing highlights

  • 1-3 years commitment for reserved VM instances grants a significant discount
  • If you run Microsoft software on-premises, you can get an Azure Hybrid Benefit discount of up to 40%
  • Substantial discounts for development and testing Azure instances for Visual Studio users
  • If you have a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) you can get additional discounts for cloud computing services
  • Azure offers a free tier with minimal services, many more popular services for 12 months, and $200 credit to try any other paid service

Google Cloud pricing highlights

  • If you use the same instance for most of a given month you are eligible for a sustained use discount of up to 30%
  • For jobs that can be stopped and restarted later (not requiring high availability), you can use Preemptible VM Instances with discounts of up to 80%
  • If you make a long-term commitment to use a VM (like Azure reserved VMs), you are eligible for discounts of up to 57%
  • GCP offers a free tier with some basic services that are always free and a $300 credit to try other services

Azure and Google pricing calculators
Because cloud pricing is extremely complex and dependent on the services used, types of instances or storage, bandwidth, consumed, and many other factors, it is best to use the calculators provided by each vendor, inputting your individual usage parameters:

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.

In addition, NetApp Cloud Manager provides the UI and APIs for management, automation and orchestration, supporting hybrid & multi-cloud architectures.

New call-to-action

-