Google Cloud Migration

Google Cloud Pricing vs AWS: A Fair Comparison?

[Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Data Migration, AWS, Google Cloud, Elementary, 8 minute read, Google Cloud Migration]

Google Cloud is the smallest of the big three cloud players but is quickly gaining popularity. When planning a Google Cloud migration, or considering a multi-cloud strategy, it is important to understand each cloud’s service and pricing model, and how to compare pricing correctly. Because Google Cloud structures its services differently from Amazon in many cases, a direct comparison can be misleading.

In this post, we’ll explain the differences between Google Cloud and AWS pricing, where it makes sense to directly compare them and where it doesn’t, and show pricing for common services side by side. We’ll also show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help reduce storage costs on both Google Cloud and AWS.

Google Cloud vs AWS Pricing: Differences and Similarities

In order to fairly compare Google Cloud to Amazon Web Services, it is valuable to understand their pricing models, and how each vendor defines things like on-demand instances, reserved instances and storage tiers.

Use the following table to discover how AWS and Google Cloud defines important price parameters, and whether you can make a direct comparison of each parameter across the two clouds.

Price Parameter

Google Cloud


Are They Comparable?

Instance Categories

General Purpose, Computer Optimized, Memory Optimized

General Purpose, Computer Optimized, Memory Optimized

Yes, both AWS and Google Cloud offer the same instance categories.

On-Demand Instances

Priced per # of CPUs and GBs of memory

Priced per # of CPUs and GBs of memory

No, because for most instance types AWS and Google Cloud offers a different combination of CPUs and RAM.

Reserved Instances

Google Cloud offers a discount in exchange for a one year or three-year commitment, with monthly payments.

AWS provides a discount in exchange to 1-year or 3-year commitment, with these options:

- Pay upfront

- Pay upfront partially and the rest monthly

- Pay monthly

No, you can only compare pricing if you pay monthly. Google Cloud does not offer pre-payment options.

Object Storage—Frequent Access

Flat rate per GB per month

Basic rate for first 50 TB, volume discounts for 51-500 TB and over 500 TB

No, because Google Cloud Storage does not offer volume pricing for larger data volumes.

Object Storage—Infrequent Access

Offers two infrequent storage tiers:

- NearLine storage

- ColdLine storage

Offers three infrequent storage tiers:

- Infrequent access

- One Zone Infrequent Access

- Archive Storage

Yes, except for the One Zone tier available only on AWS

Block Storage

Offers the following options:

- Standard local volume

- SSD local volume

- Standard regional volume

- SSD regional volume

- Snapshot storage

- Multi-regional snapshot storage

Offers the following options:

- Standard local volume

- SSD local volume

- SSD provisioned IOPS volume

- Snapshot storage


No, except for the similar block storage options, standard and SSD local volumes and snapshots storage.

Rating Frequency

Per-Second pricing for all services.

Per-Hour pricing for most services, Per-Second offered for Linux On-Demand and Reserved instances

No, you can only directly compare Google Cloud to AWS for services where AWS provides per-second pricing

Google Cloud vs AWS Price Comparison: Machine Instances, Object and Block Storage

Let’s have a look at the pricing for machine instances and object storage on Google Cloud and AWS. Please check for the latest prices on the Google Cloud and AWS official pricing pages.

Also, for reference, check out our article about Azure vs Google Cloud.

On-Demand Google Cloud VMs vs. Amazon EC2 Instances

Below we provide a few examples of pricing for common instance sizes. AWS has a price advantage for general purpose and memory optimized instances, while Google Cloud is cheaper for compute optimized, but take into account that Google instances provide almost half the quantity of RAM.

Instance Parameters

Google Cloud
Per-Hour Price

Per-Hour Price

On-Demand / Linux / General Purpose / 2 CPUs

(Memory: AWS 8 GB / Google Cloud 7.5 GB)



On-Demand / Linux / Compute Optimized / 2 CPUs

(Memory: AWS 3.75 GB / Google Cloud 1.8 GB)



On-Demand / Linux / Memory Optimized / 2 CPUs (Memory: AWS 15.25 GB / Google Cloud 13 GB)



Reserved Google Cloud VMs vs. Reserved Amazon EC2 Instances

Of AWS’s four reserved instance options, only one is also offered by Google Cloud: per-month payments.

When directly comparing this option, Google Cloud offers very similar discounted pricing across most instance types. Again, the price should be offset by the fact that AWS instances offer more memory.

Another point to consider is that Google Cloud allows you to convert instance types during the commitment period, whereas AWS only offers this in a special “Convertible Instance” tier which offers a substantially reduced discount.

See the table below to compare common instant sizes across the two clouds, for a 1-year reserved instance term.

Instance Parameters

Google Cloud
Per-Hour Price

AWS  Per-Hour Price

Reserved 1 Year / Linux / General Purpose / 4 CPUs (Memory: AWS 16 GB / Google Cloud 15 GB)



Reserved 1 Year / Linux / Compute Optimized / 4 CPUs (Memory: AWS 8 GB / Google Cloud 3.6 GB)



Reserved 1 Year / Linux / Memory Optimized / 4 CPUs (Memory: AWS 32 GB / Google Cloud 26 GB)



AWS Upfront Payment Options

AWS offers bigger discounts for upfront payments, which can make it more attractive than Google Cloud if you are prepared to pay some of all of the instance cost upfront.

See the table below to understand the additional discounts you can get on AWS for prepayment. The discounts are for General Purpose instances.


1 Year Reserved

3 Year Reserved

Monthly Payment



Partial Upfront Payment



Full Upfront Payment



Object Storage Pricing

Google Cloud and AWS storage prices are not directly comparable. While AWS appears to be almost 10X more expensive per GB for frequent access, this hides two important differences between the services:

  • Google Cloud charges for network egress and per operation performed on objects in storage, so you need to model your data access.
  • Google Cloud offers instant access to all infrequent storage tiers, while Amazon’s archive storage option has configurable access times that range from minutes to hours.

See our article on AWS storage tiers to gain a better understanding of Amazon’s cold storage options.

Here is a flat comparison of storage prices per GB across the Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage:

Storage Parameters

Google Cloud Per-GB Price

AWS Per-GB Price

Frequent Access / First 50 TB



Frequent Access / 51-500 TB



Infrequent Access



Archive Storage



This table summarizes the additional costs charged by Google Cloud for network egress and data usage:

Storage Types

Network Egress Outside GCP (except Asia)

Cost Per 10,000 Class A Data Operations

Cost Per 10,000 Class B Data Operations

Standard Storage

$0.08-0.12 (depending on data volume)



NearLine Storage

$0.08-0.12 (depending on data volume)



ColdLine Storage

$0.08-0.12 (depending on data volume)



See Google’s definition for Class A operations (heavy operations like INSERT) and Class B operations (light operation like GET).

Block Storage Pricing

Google Cloud and AWS both offer block storage—Google Cloud calls it persistent disks, and in AWS it is the Elastic Block Store (EBS) service. 

Two key differences between the offerings:

  • Google provides high availability for persistent disks within an entire region (across availability zones) or across multiple regions, whereas AWS only provides redundancy inside the same availability zone.
  • AWS charges extra for “provisioned IOPS”, a type of credit bank that allows EBS instances to burst above the regular throughput rates. Google does not have an IOPS limit and does not charge for extra IOPS.

Type of Block Storage Volume

Google Cloud per-GB price

AWS per-GB price

Local standard volume



SSD volume

$0.170 (unlimited IOPS)

$0.1 (additional cost for provisioned IOPS)

Regional standard volume



Regional SSD volume



Snapshot storage



Multi-regional snapshot storage

$0.026 in each multi-region


Additional Resources for Comparing Prices

Check out the calculators offered by AWS and Google to get deeper insights into your expected cloud costs for specific configurations.


Google Cloud


Pricing Calculator

Official Pricing Calculator

Official Pricing Calculator

Total Cost of Ownership Calculator

No official TCO calculator available

Official TCO Calculator

Storage Costs Calculator

NetApp GC Storage TCO Calculator

NetApp AWS Storage TCO Calculator— compare S3, EBS, EFS

Google Cloud and AWS Cost Optimization 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 particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides storage efficiencies, including thin provisioning, data compression, and deduplication, reducing the storage footprint and costs by up to 70%, on both Google Cloud and AWS.

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