Google Cloud Migration

Azure vs Google Cloud: How They Compare

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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.

This is part of our series of articles about Google Cloud migration.

In this article, you will learn:

Azure vs Google Cloud: Market Position

In Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services, Amazon Web Services is positioned as the leader, with Azure and Google Cloud behind it.

Azure vs Google Cloud- Market PositionSource: Gartner

The following table summarizes Gartner’s analysis of the relative market position of Google Cloud vs Azure, and their market share. 

Cloud Provider

Gartner Analysis

Market Share

Microsoft Azure

  • Provides comprehensive end to end solutions
  • Leads in platform as a service (PaaS)
  • Strong solutions for developers
  • Natural choice for Microsoft technology stack, with extensive support for Linux
  • World’s second largest cloud provider
  • Microsoft cloud business (including Azure) generates over $50 billion per annum
  • Microsoft was not negatively affected by COVID-19 crisis
  • Azure grew 48% year over year in 2020

Google Cloud

  • Leads in database as a service and infrastructure as a service
  • Provides the most advanced hybrid and multi cloud platform, Google Anthos
  • Strong support for containers and Kubernetes
  • World’s third largest cloud provider
  • Google Cloud Platform generates over $13 billion in annual revenue
  • Google Cloud grew 45% year over year in 2020

Google Cloud vs Azure 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:

Azure vs Google Cloud: Storage Services

Here are the storage services provided by Azure vs GCP across the common cloud storage tiers. 

Storage Service

Azure

Google Cloud

How they Compare

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 provided by Microsoft Azure vs Google Cloud Platform for running VMs and containerized workloads in the cloud.

Compute Service

Azure

Google Cloud

How they Compare

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

GKE 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: Networking

The following table summarizes the networking capabilities provided by Azure and Google Cloud.

Networking Service

Azure

Google Cloud

Features and Benefits

CDN

Azure CDN

Google Cloud CDN

Both clouds offer:


  • Deep integration with native platforms
  • Advanced logging and monitoring
  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection

Dedicated Interconnect

ExpressRoute

Cloud Interconnect

  • Azure ExpressRoute supports 102 providers and offers privately leased lines
  • Google Cloud Interconnect supports only 24 providers, uses public networks
  • Google also provides direct peering, available in 100 locations and 33 countries

DNS

Azure DNS

Cloud DNS

  • Both providers support common DNS record types and anycast
  • Only Google supports DNSSEC (secure DNS)

Load Balancing

Azure Load Balancer

Google Load Balancing

Both clouds offer:


  • HTTP/S load balancing at network layers 7
  • TCP/UDP load balancing at network layer 4
  • SSL load balancing with encrypted communication
     
  • Azure offers 
  • Google provides

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.

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