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Google Cloud vs AWS: Comparing Price and Capabilities

While Amazon is the largest and most established cloud provider, Google is fast catching up. If you are considering an AWS or a Google Cloud migration, or debating switching between the two, it's important to understand what each environment offers in terms of storage, computing capabilities, and pricing options.

In this post, we’ll examine how Google Cloud compares to AWS in terms of storage, compute and pricing, and show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help you manage your cloud storage.

In this article, you will learn:

What Is Amazon Web Services?

eCommerce giant Amazon was a pioneer of public cloud services. Its cloud is the first, most robust and has the broadest feature set of the big three providers. Amazon Web Services is offered in 22 regions with each region split into AWS Availability Zones. These zones are a few miles apart and have fast connectivity between them.

Amazon offers thousands of services, with the flagship compute service EC2 and the AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) at its core. AWS features include tools for development, automation and management of cloud resources, managed versions of all popular databases both SQL and NoSQL, multiple storage services for different needs, integration and data pipeline tools, machine learning and analytics, business productivity tools and more.

What Is Google Cloud Platform?

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is the newest of the three big public cloud services. It is offered in 20 geographical regions. Among its unique advantages are strong support for Kubernetes storage, a private, global fiber optic network connecting Google’s data centers and “customer-friendly pricing”. GCP’s pricing is Google’s attempt to challenge the complexity of AWS and Azure pricing models and provide prices that are lower than its competitors and easier to understand.

How Much Does Google Cloud Cost Per Month?

The cost of a Google Cloud implementation is determined by several factors, including services used and amount of resources needed. To estimate and control your costs, you can leverage free tools provided by Google. These tools allow you to create estimates based on predicted usage, experiment with modifications to your existing deployments, and internally limit costs.

Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator
Using GCP’s official calculator, you can obtain a detailed estimate based on a variety of parameters. These parameters include number and type of instances needed, runtimes, and storage and networking requirements. You can also use this calculator to compare the cost of your GCP deployment to similar deployments with other cloud providers.

Google Cloud Platform Pricing CalculatorSource: Google Cloud 

If you do not want to use the GCP calculator, or just want a second opinion, you can also use the NetApp Google Cloud calculator. This calculator is particularly helpful for reviewing and comparing the costs of various storage options.

Resource Hierarchy
GCP enables you to control your resources with a granular hierarchy. In this hierarchy, you can specify permissions, access controls, and billing limits. You achieve this control through the implementation of policies which define resource configurations for specified nodes.

Billing Access Control
To ensure that the policies you create are not altered, you can specify roles with permissions for cost-related activities. These roles are created and managed through Google’s Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM) service.

Google Cloud vs. AWS: Storage Services

Here are the storage services provided by Google Cloud and AWS across different storage tiers.

Storage Service Google Cloud AWS Features and Benefits
Object Storage Google Cloud Storage Amazon S3
  • Amazon S3 provides 99.999999999% durability
  • Google Cloud Storage manages optimal price/performance for each group of objects
Persistent Disk Storage Persistent Disk (HDD/SSD) Amazon EBS
  • AWS offers 99.999% reliability and automated snapshot backups
  • Google Persistent Disk has lower price/performance for both HDD/SSD
File Storage Google Cloud Filestore Amazon EFS
  • EFS offers high performance up to 10 GB/sec and 500,000 IOPS
  • Cloud Filestore offers NAS access and integrates with Google Kubernetes Engine
Archive Storage Nearline & Coldline Amazon Glacier
  • AWS offers the same durability as S3 along with data querying options
  • Google cold storage enables data access with sub-second latency
Data Transfer Storage Transfer Service Amazon Snowball
  • SnowBall is a physical device shipped by Amazon which can store several Terabytes of data
  • Google Storage Transfer Service offers API and console access and lets you schedule data transfer tasks

Summary: AWS offers the world’s most robust, scalable and fully featured cloud storage infrastructure. However, it is known to have a steep learning curve. Google cloud storage options are easier to learn and use and compete with Amazon on price.

Below we list services provided by Google Cloud and AWS that let you run and manage workloads in the public cloud.Google Cloud vs AWS: Compute Services

Compute Service Google Cloud AWS Features and Benefits
Virtual Machine Instances Google Compute Engine Amazon EC2
  • EC2 is the best established and most robust service, thousands of machine images are available for specific needs
  • Google Compute Engine offers Custom Machine Types, lower instance prices, and per-minute pricing
Auto Scaling Managed Instance Groups Amazon Auto-Scaling
  • Amazon lets you manage scaling for EC2 instances together with other resources like databases
  • Google Managed Instance Groups provide auto-healing and built-in load balancing
Container as a Service Google Kubernetes Engine Amazon EKS
  • EKS is secure by default with encrypted communication channels
  • GKE is the longest supported Kubernetes service, offered since 2015
Function as a Service Google Cloud Functions Amazon Lambda
  • Lambda charges users for every 100ms their code runs, no charge when functions aren’t running
  • Google Cloud Functions supports Node.js, Python and Go

Summary: AWS is the veteran compute provider with the most robust infrastructure and the broadest feature set. Google competes on price and offers stronger support for containerized workloads.

Google Cloud vs. AWS: Pricing

The Amazon cloud pricing is complex. Google’s pricing was designed for simplicity and aims to be lower than Amazon’s across most cloud services. Below we offer some basic principles to guide you.

Amazon Web Services pricing highlights

  • Amazon has four pricing principles: pay as you go, pay less by using more, save when you reserve, and the free usage tier, with generous usage allowances for 1 year
  • EC2 pricing is based on per-hour pricing which differs across 60+ instance types
  • Reserved Instances, with a commitment of 1-3 years, take 35-45% off the price, and spot instances, which can be shut down at any time, grant a 60% discount
  • Storage services are billed by GB/months - amount of storage and time of storage - and bandwidth or number of requests
  • Most other services are billed according to the number and type of requests and the bandwidth consumed

Google Cloud Platform pricing highlights

  • Using the same instance for most of the same month grants a “sustained use discount” of up to 30%
  • Preemptible VM Instances, which are suitable for jobs that can be stopped and restarted with no prior notice, grant discounts of up to 80%
  • A long-term commitment to use a VM grants discounts of up to 57%
  • The GCP free tier offers basic services that are always free, and a $300 credit for other services

AWS and Google pricing calculators
Use the calculators provided by each cloud vendor to understand pricing depending on your scenario and the services you intend to consume:

Manage Cloud Deployments with NetApp 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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