Best Cloud Services: AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure?
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Olga Demidenko
Author, Geomotiv
Published: Sep 3, 2020

The cloud services field is full of players. Here are the titans like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure. These companies occupy top market positions in the software-as-a-service (SAAS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) segments. 

According to the leading research and advisory company Gartner, these segments have received significant growth from 2018.

The graph shows the worldwide revenue forecast of IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS Cloud services based on the data obtained by Gartner

From the graph above, there’ve been upward trends in revenue among the three cloud segments. If the trends continue, we can expect SAAS to remain the most significant market player in the next two years. Cloud investments have become mainstream. These investments has contributed to the growth of the leaders in the niche.

The pie chart by  Synergy Research Group shows the market share of the leading Cloud Infrastructure Service providers, including IAAS and PAAS.

Amazon, in particular, maintains a clear lead among other cloud companies. According to a recent Synergy Research Group study, AWS occupies 33% of the market share. According to Business Wire, in the last quarter of 2019, AWS brought in $10 billion in revenue. 

A close competitor to AWS is Microsoft Azure that reached 18% of the market share. If we look at the trends over time, it rose steadily by 3% in the last four quarters of 2019. As for the previous quarter of 2019 income, the cloud service saw a 39% year-over-year growth rate. That accounts for $11 billion revenue, according to Microsoft's Earnings Press Release FY19 Q4.

Google Cloud is behind the two market leaders. It has 8% of market share, as of the end of 2019. It generated $2.61 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter according to CNBC data. The service provider saw an almost 50% of revenue increase when compared to the 2018 fiscal year. As the data suggests, Google is outpacing the overall market growth. There is a general acceleration of interest in Google Cloud Services, winning more massive deals in 2019. 

Now that you have a basic understanding of the state of things on the market consider each cloud service provider’s strengths and weaknesses. Each leading cloud computing vendor offers a set of services and toolkits. We believe it might be challenging to choose the right one for your use case. To simplify your choice, here is a comparison of the top three options. Let’s study the platforms’ pro et contra and find out the best usage for each of them.

We think that the best way is to consider these services from the following angles:

  • Key Features
  • Storage
  • Key Services

Key Features

We start with a critical features overview. Every business has unique requirements on how to provide the best services for their clients. A quick overview of the main features cloud platforms have may be enough to cut off one in favor of the other.

Amazon Web Services

Being the eldest provider in the cloud family, AWS is better-positioned thanks to its experience and market understanding. Since 2006, AWS established its presence in 22 regions all over the world with 14 availability zones. On top of that, their location is organized in the way so that they can support each other in a go-down situation. The network pattern ensures stability and fast deployment. 

AWS has grafted on more than 18,000 services for almost any development task such as computing, AI/ML development, storage, app integration, etc. Amazon Web Services is available for any operating system.

Google Cloud

Google Cloud was launched in 2010. Today we can find Google Cloud Platform represented in 22 regions and 61 available zones. This is larger than what AWS provides. It grants a shorter data reach. However, Google is trying to push it even further. It adds new data centers at a fast clip. 

The main GCP’s feature is user-friendliness. It is easy to set up and configure compared to AWS. Its services are mainly used for app development, SMB business analysis, management tools, data processing, and storage, etc.

Microsoft Azure

Along with its servers, Microsoft has presented its Cloud Platform, too. It’s a well-known market player. It provides decent services and built-in server apps supporting Java, PHP, Python, and .NET. Add here availability in 54 regions and configuration simplicity, and you’ll find quite a good option for your cloud development.

It’s strange, but Azure supports Linux operating systems, a useful feature for the Unix fan base. So, what is Microsoft Azure used for? In general, Microsoft Azure provides DevOps, Blockchain, IoT integration and development, Big Data, etc.

Storage

Scalable and convenient storage solutions are the privilege of cloud services. It is a crucial factor for a lot of top-tier companies. Even in this field, each cloud provider boasts its unique features and services.

Amazon Web Services

Among all the three “clouds,” AWS provides the most extensive storage options range. The main advantage here is Storage Gateway. It is a hybrid cloud storage service. It delivers such handy features as an on-premises file share and low latency data access. Another point is expansive storage systems. They are Simple Storage Service (S3) for simple object storage, as the name suggests, Elastic Block Storage (EBS) for persistent block storage, and Elastic File System (EFS) to store files. AWS also has a robust data migration solution called Snowball. It allows for extended data transfer when the Internet doesn’t cope with the load. 

On top of that, AWS has several SQL databases, such as Redshift. There is also a MongoDB-compatible DynamoDB that we use in one of our projects. As our client is a streaming OTT service with over 15 million active users, it is critical to provide expansive storage capabilities. For that purpose, our Revenue team also uses the ElastiCache service. It allows to manage cache and deliver additional memory sources. These storage tools are ideal for the client’s system that generates a lot of data.

Google Cloud

Google Cloud’s storage system is not its most robust service offering. It offers quite a standard list of services, such as Google Cloud Storage as a unified object storage system. Other storage tools are Persistent disk, Transfer appliance, and many other online transfer services. And Google Cloud is the best choice for container-based solutions with their Kubernetes Engine. 

In terms of databases, Google provides both SQL and NoSQL options. They are:

  • Cloud SQL and Cloud Spanner. Both are SQL-based
  • Cloud Bigtable and Cloud Datastore that are NoSQL variants.

Microsoft Azure

In general, Azure provides services for many data-related issues. They are Blob Storage for unstructured REST-based objects, Data Lake Store for Big Data apps, and Queue Storage for high-volume data loads. It also has File Storage and Disk Storage for improved operations. 

The list of database solutions Azure grants is also quite large:

  • An SQL Database along with separate databases for PostgreSQL and MySQL
  • Redis Cache for cache management
  • Cosmo DB and Table Storage for NoSQL operations
  • A hybrid storage solution called Server Stretch Database.

Key Services

Serverless computing, AI, ML, and IoT are those vectors that can significantly impact society in the short run. Let’s see which features the top three Cloud providers deliver in this respect.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon's AI market dominance can be proven by one single product - Alexa. Since 2014, it has been only improving, which displays the vast experience the company has here. 20+ services for AI and IoT development available speak louder than words. Take, for instance, SageMaker for managing ML models, or the Lex interface used to develop their Alexa. Don’t forget about Amazon’s Lambda and Serverless Application Repository used for serverless computing.

Google Cloud

The world’s most complicated searching algorithms couldn’t appear without substantial AI/ML expertise. For example, take their TensorFlow, an open-source library for building machine learning apps. Or DeepDream, their computer vision program. 

IoT and serverless services are in Google’s focus, too. However, their offerings are still in beta. Nonetheless, they are quite decent solutions that can be used in any project.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft doesn’t have many AI offerings, but their ML and Bot services can contribute a lot to your project. Their Cognitive Services also contain many APIs for Text Analytics, Computer Vision, and Face Recognition, to name a few. 

Azure’s serverless platform that is called Functions, is an event-driven platform that is especially useful to handle complex workloads. It’s also not a secret that many Azure’s tools are related to on-premises Microsoft software, including serverless solutions. 

To sum up, we put together a brief table dedicated to AWS vs. Azure vs. GCP comparison. You can overview fast facts about the three cloud service providers.

Whom to Choose

The point is that all three platforms have a lot in common. So, it is better to proceed with your dev team expertise. Or just hire a dedicated team to manage all your cloud service issues. Nonetheless, there are some distinctions worth paying attention to while selecting the right cloud service provider.

Amazon Web Services are useful when you:

  • need a global reach.
  • appreciate a reliable and robust cloud provider with a solid grounding.
  • want to enjoy numerous services and flexibility.

Google Cloud is useful when:

  • need a container-supported model
  • build and deploy cloud software
  • are familiar with digital migration and want to become more cost-effective.

Microsoft Azure is useful when:

  • are planning to perform your first cloud migration.
  • apply mostly Windows-based products.
  • need a hybrid solution.

On the one hand, AWS enjoys the largest market share for a reason. However, the most popular solution may not apply to your case. For example, Azure can suit you best if your processes are geared towards Microsoft products. If you can give up global reach in favor of innovations, then Google Cloud may be the best choice. 

It is your decision, but you can call for advice. Geomotiv is available 24/7. We are ready to provide you with the best cloud solution for your business.

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