Cloud Integration - Apr 11 2021

The Guide to GCP vs AWS

Businesses are actively moving to cloud platforms for a variety of reasons. Cloud platforms offer cost-effective, dynamic, and scalable storage and compute solutions that can provide a host of benefits over on-premise infrastructure. Amazon and Google are two household names that provide cloud platform solutions with Amazon Web Services or AWS, and Google Cloud Platform or GCP. Here’s a quick guide.

What is better: AWS or Google Cloud?

Stating outright that one is better than the other is impossible when it comes to AWS and GCP. Both are premium and popular cloud platforms with large followings of loyal users. However, the best way to differentiate between them is to take a look at key areas where they shine, and what they offer in terms of features and cost-effectiveness.

The most important factor that decides which one is better for you is your use case. Depending on your use case, one or the other can be more meaningful based on your usage requirements, feature requirements, and other factors including target speed and ease of deployment and affordability.

In terms of market share, however, there is no beating AWS. Currently, it holds almost half of the market share when it comes to cloud platforms globally. Consequently, in terms of pure infrastructure, AWS brings many advantages to the table that are difficult to find sometimes with other providers.

GCP, however, is growing quickly into a formidable alternative. It scored over AWS in several areas and is universally acknowledged as one of the most convenient and cost-effective ways to embrace the cloud. To answer the question of which is better, one needs to focus on key areas of functionality and juxtapose that with your use case(s) and their  unique requirements.

How is GCP different from AWS?

While AWS dominates in terms of market share, there are several other differences that are important to keep in mind while trying to make a choice.

First and foremost, AWS offers a large and diverse range of features and services that can come in handy for any workflow. For example, GCP offers MySQL and PostgreSQL options if you want a fully-managed SQL solution. With AWS, along with these options you can also opt to use MariaDB, Oracle, Aurora, and Microsoft SQL Server. Similarly, in terms of a serverless compute product, GCP offers Google Cloud Functions that supports serverless functions, but only those written in Python or Node.js. 

AWS offers a much more versatile solution for serverless workflow called AWS LAmbda. AWS also wins in terms of sheer scale and has many more servers and data centers around the world, including China.

In comparison to about 95 services offered by GCP, AWS offers more than 200 services. While the sheer number of services might not be important for everyone, a lot of the additional services offered by AWS are particularly relevant to organizations that have specific needs. 

AWS offers a set of preconfigured compute instances whereas GCP offers businesses to create custom configurations for specific compute needs. However, if you are after large instances, the largest instance offered by AWS, at 128 CPUs and 2TB of RAM, is much larger than the maximum of 96 CPUs and 1.4TB of RAM offered by GCP.

Since AWS has been around for a much longer period of time, it can offer support for a wide range of commercial licenses. If you plan to use a service that needs commercial support, like Oracle, it might be a better idea to choose AWS as your platform of choice. AWS also sports a huge repository of documentation and research material in different languages and is much lauded for the quality of its paid support infrastructure.

Is Google Cloud cheaper than AWS?

Overall, GCP is known for being less expensive than AWS. However, this cost difference matters most only in specific use cases. In some cases, the elevated cost of AWS might even make sense, keeping in mind the global coverage and additional features that it can provide.

Let us take a look at the free tiers, which are a great way for businesses to get their foot in the door and try things out. AWS and GCP both offer excellent free tiers that are meant to encourage businesses to get in and try different services before making a purchasing decision. 

The AWS free tier is a little complicated, with free tier promotions running on a specific selection of services, divided between always free, 30-day, and 12-month periods subject to limits in consumption. With GCP, things are much simpler, with a total of 24 products and services receiving always-free tiers. This, too, depends on consumption limits.

However, GCP also provides new users a $300 credit which can be used on any service in the portfolio. While price cuts abound on both ends, the services provided by GCP are generally cheaper than AWS prices. With lower base prices, GCP can also offer significant savings for businesses through its GCP Sustained Use and Committed Use discount programs. Compared with AWS On-Demand Prices, these discount programs can offer more in terms of savings.

Of special note is the Sustained Use discount program, which has no upfront costs associated for eligibility. Users also do not have to reserve instances for a specific minimum time period, as it is with AWS. The more a VM is used, the more the discount GCP offers. This means that using VMs with GCP can actually be significantly cheaper.

GCP can also be cheaper for organizations with large data storage needs. With the exception of archival storage, storage prices seem to be about 20% cheaper than comparable storage solutions provided by AWS. The price of database services are also attractive.

Which cloud is best?

Depending on your use case, one or the other of these options can be the best choice for you. Both options have specific strengths that make them superlative choices for specific kinds of workflow.

If you are looking for a large range of services, and particularly those that AWS makes available ahead of GCP, then AWS would be an obvious choice. It can also be a smart selection if you are looking to run extremely large and powerful instances. On the other hand, if you want configurability and a fully-customized instance, GCP would emerge as a better alternative.

Similarly, GCP provides a more polished and intuitive UI, better prices, and an overall simpler experience, especially for people who do not have prior experience with such platforms. AWS can be a better option if you want global reach and a powerful infrastructure, although a bit more complicated with a steeper learning curve.

If you are looking for commercial license tie-ins and plan to use solutions like Oracle, AWS can be a better choice with full support for a variety of commercial platforms. AWS is also the largest in terms of market share and global presence, and its CDNs can be a profound way to make content accessible across the globe with fast speeds. On the other hand, GCP is growing at a rapid rate and the competitive pricing, excellent AI tools, and versatile CLI options can make it a perspicacious choice as costs are increasing because of policies.

Do I need a GCP or AWS provider near me?

Whether you choose AWS or GCP, implementing a cloud workflow can be a complex process that takes time and effort. Getting help from an expert AWS or GCP service provider near you can make things a lot easier. Service providers like can come in and help you in making these decisions and developing an overall Data Strategy.

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