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Cloud battle - Google vs. Azure vs. AWS

When choosing a cloud platform, newcomers like me are always thinking a lot. The first thing which comes into mind is the cost, but many different business needs should be taken care of before making the final call. Just gone through many reads and jumping around blog to blog and documentations from major cloud computing providers. I thought to share my research on three major cloud platforms.

Right now there are many small and big cloud players in the market, but there are three major players in the market: Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure. The aggressiveness and competition has enabled cheap cloud computing prices and excellent competing feature set. This helps small business to grow easily and big business to capitalize on the growth that they have been doing for so many years.

In past, I have little experience on Amazon AWS, but mostly worked with cloud solution provider/vendors. For Mule ESB (MuleSoft) CloudHub is the best but little expensive, again they are on AWS platform. I did work little on Amazon RDS, S3 and SQS, but it’s been evaluated by my IT director or someone else not sure.


Anyway coming to evaluating the best out of three major cloud platform here are my opinions what we should look in except the cost:

Who’s who?

Google Cloud Platform (GCP): GCP started their journey on October 6, 2011. With only 6 years in operation.
Amazon Web Services (AWS): With 12 years in operation
Microsoft Azure: Azure is also 7 years old and has shown great promise in the market.
Compute:
Compute is the processing power that the cloud services offer. In general, the more compute power, the better. It is directly proportional to the price, and hence price also plays a significant role in understanding the compute power offered by the three players.

Almost all of them are similar however, the real struggle happens when you try to see it through the lens of price and user experience. Read the cloud cost analysis on RightScale to get an idea of which cloud platform offers the best bang for the buck when it comes to choosing a cloud platform according to compute power: https://www.rightscale.com/blog/cloud-cost-analysis/aws-vs-azure-vs-google-cloud-pricing-compute-instances

Storage:
Storage is yet another important parameter in understanding how a cloud service works. Cloud storage works completely different from the normal HDD or SSD on our computers. They need to solve multiple problems and also make sure that no data is lost during the transfer. The complexity led to some brilliant solution from the best cloud service providers.

Out of the three cloud providers discussed here, Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is considered the best. It has been extensive documentation, proper community support and the longevity, i.e., tried and tested. So, if you are looking for a proper storage solution with plenty of resources, Amazon S3 can be your best bet.

The other two players also offer decent storage solution. Microsoft Azure Storage and Google Cloud Storage offer reliable services.

Locations:
All three of them offer great coverage all around the world. Amazon leads the pack with 42 availability zones. Azure also has a good coverage with availability in 32 regions. GCP have a presence across 33 countries. It should be noted that new regions are added on a regular basis.

Databases:
A database is a complex thing to handle however, before you invest in any of the cloud platforms, it is advisable to read their software terms and conditions, and how they manage data on their cloud.

Database images from different vendors let you get started easily. Google seem to be lacking in providing an option to the end user, whereas, Azure and AWS offer a good amount of option to work with. Amazon’s RDS (Relational Database Service) provides support for major databases including Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc. The service manages everything from updating to patching even to offer solutions to common database problems.

Azure SQL database and Cloud SQL offers SQL database handling features for Azure and GCP respectively. They also offer high-performance DB choices such as DocumentDB for Azure, and Aurora for AWS. Clearly, there are multiple types of tools and services offered by the major service providers.

Documentations:
Documentation plays an important role when it comes to choosing the cloud platform for yourself or your company. Ease of use is a valid factor and should not be ignored at all.

AWS offers the best documentation, followed closely by Azure and GCP. AWS documentation is just great, thanks to its age and contribution from multiple people over a decade. I hope others will come up to that speed soon.

Cloud resources:
Last, but not the least is the cloud resources, when you are looking for cloud implementation and supports, you have to look back to the resources available in the market. AWS Certified developers and Architects are readily available around you to pick followed by Azure and GCP.

My 10 cents:
Comparing cloud services can be a tough task but this comparison only scratches the surface and is meant for people who are getting started with cloud computing. If you are stuck and cannot decide on which cloud platform to choose, you can always hire a cloud expert readily available in the market. They know the in’s and out’s of cloud platforms and can suggest you a cloud service according to your need.

If you would like to go to with the safest option, Amazon AWS is the best way to go. If your application utilizes Microsoft products or languages, Azure can help you sustain and take advantage of Microsoft’s ecosystem. GCP stands in a sweet spot and is viable most of the time. As an individual or a company, you need to ensure proper compatibility and testing before moving to a particular cloud service. This leads us to the end of the article.

Thank you for reading!
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