Fueled by the shift to remote and hybrid work environments and the need to digitally transform business during the global pandemic, the adoption of cloud computing has reached an all-time high. Needless to say, cloud services are in high demand today. But, what exactly is a cloud service provider?
As the name suggests, a cloud service provider is essentially a third-party company that offers a cloud-based platform for application, infrastructure or storage services. A cloud service provider generally establishes public cloud platforms, manages private cloud platforms and/or offers on-demand cloud computing services such as:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
- Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS)
What Is a Public Cloud?
In a public cloud, all of the hardware, software, networking and storage infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud service provider. The public cloud infrastructure is heavily based on virtualization technologies to provide efficient, scalable computing power and storage. The public cloud provider makes these resources available to customers over the internet.
Since you pay only for the amount of cloud services you use, based on your business requirements, adopting cloud computing can help in reducing business costs as compared to owning and operating on-premises datacenters.
Cloud adoption also provides businesses with flexibility and scalability by not restricting them to the physical limitations of on-premises servers. In addition, you can also take advantage of the reliability of multiple cloud data centers as well as responsive and customizable load balancing that evolves with your changing demands.
In this blog, we’ll compare the three leading public cloud providers, namely Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
According to a Canalys report, the global spending on cloud infrastructure grew a sizeable 33% to $142 billion in 2020, with AWS having 31% of the market share, followed by Microsoft Azure at 20% and Google Cloud at 7%.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Overview
A subsidiary of Amazon, AWS was launched in 2006 and offers on-demand cloud computing services on a metered, pay-as-you-go basis. It is one of the most comprehensive and broadly adopted public cloud platforms across the globe. As one of Amazon’s strongest revenue segments, AWS generated a whopping 45$ billion in net sales in 2020.
Common cloud functionalities offered by AWS that can help businesses scale and grow include:
- Networking and content delivery
- Database storage
- Compute power
- Developer tools
- Security, identity and compliance
- Artificial intelligence
- Customer engagement
- Internet of Things
- Desktop and app streaming
What Are the Advantages of AWS?
Let’s look at some of the major advantages of AWS:
Ease of Sign-Up
One of the key benefits of adopting AWS is that the onboarding process is a breeze. All you need to provide are a few key credentials and you’re good to go. There is no need to sign an agreement. If you’re unsure, you can opt for the one-year free tier that includes a bunch of the most popular AWS services free of charge up to a certain limit.
Scalability and Elasticity
AWS offers the Auto Scaling service that allows you to easily scale up, down or out your computing resources depending on your changing business requirements.
Along with scalability, you can also leverage the Elastic Load Balancer service to distribute your incoming application traffic across several different targets including containers, messaging services, instances, IP addresses and more.
Access to a Diverse Range of Tools
AWS offers an array of dynamic services such as virtual private cloud (VPC), elastic compute cloud (EC2), simple storage service (S3), relational database service, AWS Lambda and more.
Easy Training and Certifications
Apart from detailed documentation for each of its services, Amazon also offers training and certification programs for the users to gain a better understanding of the usage and application of AWS.
AWS ensures end-to-end security for its cloud infrastructure by implementing software, physical and operational measures wherever required.
With no up-front commitments or long-term contracts, you pay only for the resources (storage, compute power, etc.,) you use. This reduces your IT operational costs and helps boosts profits.
What Are the Disadvantages of AWS?
As with every technology, AWS has its own set of disadvantages as well. Some of these are:
Limitations of Amazon EC2
There are default limits set for AWS resources, such as snapshots, volumes and images, that vary from one region to another. As such, the user is allowed to launch only a certain number of instances per area. In addition, there is a limitation on the availability of information for the resources that are managed by Amazon VPC and Amazon EC2 consoles.
Charges for Technical Support
You will be charged a fee for technical support based on the package you opt for, namely developer, business or enterprise. There is a pricing list that defines the standard pricing for the packages.
As a security measure, AWS has implemented limitations on some of its features, such as EC-2 classic and EC2-VPC, with no room for any customization.
Cost Management Limitations
One of the key disadvantages of AWS is that it can be difficult for users to optimize costs across on-demand and reserved instances.
Microsoft Azure Overview
Commonly referred to as simply Azure, Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service that was introduced by tech-giant Microsoft back in 2010 for the purpose of testing, building, deploying and managing services and applications. According to Forbes, 63% of enterprises are currently running apps on Azure.
Some of the key functionalities that Azure offers include:
- Computing power
- Database storage
- Content delivery network (CDN)
- Business Analytics
- SQL database
- Virtual services
- Application and infrastructure migration
- Media services
- Mobile services
What Are the Advantages of Azure Cloud?
Some of the major advantages of Azure Cloud are listed below:
High Scalability and Availability
Owing to Microsoft’s vast global footprint, Azure offers high scalability and availability to its users. In addition, Azure is well-equipped to scale up or down, depending on the changing needs of your business. You can modify the computing power required with just a few clicks.
Analytics and Intelligence Capabilities
One of the key benefits of Azure is that it offers SQL and NoSQL data services and provides built-in support for gaining deep and meaningful insights into the strategies that businesses can adopt to improve their operations and decision-making. Also, it might be interesting to note that Azure is the only cloud platform that offers unique capabilities like cognitive APIs, bots, machine learning and Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS).
You can opt for the pay-as-you-go payment plan offered by Azure to have the level of control you need to make sure that you don’t exceed your IT budgets. Leveraging Azure’s SaaS applications helps reduce your infrastructure costs and the expenses of maintaining and managing your IT environment.
Compliance, Security and Disaster Recovery
Azure is one of the most secure cloud platforms out there. With its array of compliance certifications, Azure has emerged as the preferred cloud platform for high-risk industries such as government agencies and healthcare. Azure provides high-end protection for its customers and offers additional services, such as multifactor authentication and enterprise-grade disaster recovery capabilities, that help secure and recover your critical business data with minimum downtime.
What Are the Disadvantages of Azure Cloud?
The disadvantages of Azure Cloud include:
Regular Management Required
In order to make efficient use of Azure, you need to hire Azure experts that can handle server monitoring and patching of your cloud infrastructure. That said, while you do save a lot of money from not having to purchase hardware or locally maintain your IT infrastructure, you will still need to spend on hiring professionals that can help you manage the platform.
Platform Expertise Required
As opposed to local servers, deploying Azure requires platform expertise for it to run efficiently. Over-provisioning of cloud services is one of the most common mistakes that admins make due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the inner workings of the cloud servers.
Google Cloud Platform Overview
Launched by Google in 2008, Google Cloud is a suite of cloud computing services that operates on the same infrastructure that is used by Google internally for its most popular end-user products including YouTube, Gmail, Google Search and file storage.
Major functionalities of Google Cloud include:
- Big data services
- Compute engines
- Live migration
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Cloud management
- Machine intelligence
- Cloud storage
- Identity and security
What Are the Advantages of Google Cloud?
Google Cloud offers a host of benefits such as:
One of the major advantages of Google Cloud is that it operates on Google’s unique security model that features an end-to-end security process, developed as a result of over 15 years of experience focused on customer security on apps like Google Apps and Gmail.
Unlike Azure and AWS, Google Cloud offers live migration of virtual machines (VMs). As such, there is no change in cloud performance even when the VMs are being migrated. Since your VMs will always be up and running, the Google Cloud engineers are better equipped to resolve updating and patching issues more efficiently.
As compared to typical data centers, Google Cloud data centers run on relatively low energy and utilize 100% renewable energy wherever available.
In the event of an incident that disrupts a data center from functioning, the system switches to a secondary data center, ensuring that the users do not face any business interruption.
What Are the Disadvantages of Google Cloud?
A few of the aspects in which Google Cloud misses the mark include:
Insufficient and Expensive Support
One of the major drawbacks of Google Cloud is that the support offered for customer issues is not the best in class. All users of the platform are offered free-of-charge Bronze-level support by default. However, you can buy the Silver, Gold or Platinum package to avail additional support services. However, the charges for these higher-level packages are quite high.
Less Choice of Functionalities
Compared to its competitors AWS and Azure, Google Cloud offers a smaller range of cloud services.
AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud
In this section, we’ll do a service-based comparison of AWS, Azure and Google Cloud to help you better understand which one suits you best.
|IaaS||Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud||Virtual Machines||Google Compute Engine (GCE)|
|PaaS||AWS Elastic Beanstalk||Cloud services||Google App engine|
|Maintaining and managing virtual servers||EC2||VM and VM scale sets||Compute Engine|
|Running backend and system integration/Serverless functions||AWS Lambda||Azure Functions||Google Cloud Functions|
|Containers||Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Container Service||Azure Kubernetes Service||Google Kubernetes Engine|
|Object Storage||S3||Blobs and files||Cloud storage block|
|Indexed NoSQL||Amazon DynamoDB||Table Storage||Google Cloud Bigtable|
|RDBMS||Amazon Relational Database Service||SQL Database||Google Cloud SQL|
|Cold Storage||Amazon Glacier||Azure Archive Blob Storage||Google Cloud Storage Nearline|
|Hybrid storage||AWS Storage Gateway||StorSimple||Egnyte Sync|
|Virtual Server Disks||Amazon Elastic Block Store||Managed Disks||Google Compute Engine Persistent Disks|
|File Storage||Amazon Elastic File System||Azure File Storage||ZFS/Avere|
|DNS||Amazon Route 53||Azure DNS||Google Cloud DNS|
|Virtual Network||Amazon Virtual Private Cloud||Virtual Networks (VNets)||Virtual Private Cloud|
|Peering||Direct Connect||ExpressRoute||Google Cloud Interconnect|
|Elastic Load balancer||Elastic Load Balancer||Load Balancer||Google Cloud Load Balancing|
|Type of Machine||AWS||Azure||Google Cloud|
|Smallest Instance||2 virtual CPUs and 8 GB of RAM at US$69/month||2 vCPUs and 8 GB of RAM at US$70/month||2 vCPUs and 8 GB of RAM at US$52/month|
|Largest Instance||3.84 TB of RAM and 128 vCPUs at US$3.97/hour||3.89 TB of RAM and 128 vCPUs at US$6.79/hour||3.75 TB of RAM and 160 vCPUs at US$5.32/hour|
Regardless of which cloud platform you choose, you need to manage and optimize your usage to keep costs under control.
Want to know how Kaseya VSA can help you with that? Request a demo today!