GCP vs AWS. Which cloud provider to choose for your backend?

Anton Dyachenko
Anton Dyachenko
30 Dec 2019
gcp-vs-aws

Cloud technologies have entered the daily lives of users. For large and medium-sized businesses they have become an essential part of the infrastructure. Over the past decade, the possibilities of using cloud infrastructures have become more cost-efficient, secure, and reliable.

Choosing a cloud provider is one of the major challenges in app development. This choice is usually done at the very beginning and it affects the further development, support, and maintenance. You need to choose wisely, as migrating the whole infrastructure is no easy task.

In this post, we will tackle the GCP vs AWS investigation with a thorough, data-driven approach. We will compare the main features of the services that we can expect from both cloud giants.

What is AWS and Google Cloud?

AWS provides a wide range of products, options for computing and storing data. Created in 2006, AWS was the first in this area and conquered a considerable market. With continuous improvements over the years, AWS introduced more than 175 services with worldwide coverage. The servers are available in 18 geographical regions. AWS services are suitable for a wide range of businesses.

Despite the fact that Google launched the GCP in 2011, it shows stable growth. It gives all the benefits of Google’s infrastructure, providing smart, secure, and flexible services. Google allows the users to create their own custom sizes (processor, memory) so that customers can compare the sizes of their cloud loads with the sizes at a preliminary stage. GCPs also bill customers based on the total processor time and memory used, rather than on separate virtual machines. This reduces the loss of money for unused capacity. Google is also a leader in per-second billing, which forces other cloud computing providers (CSPs) to follow suit.

AWS vs GCP – current market share

Cloud platforms and applications today are used in the economy and become the driver of IT infrastructure development. To estimate the AWS vs GSP market share, let’s take a look at each cloud provider’s reports, reflecting the state of the global cloud services market.

Amazon reported Amazon Web Services (AWS) sales of $7.7 billion, compared to $5.44 billion last year. Across the business, Amazon’s growth rates are slowing down. Even so, its earnings are increasing, giving investors a profit of $ 7.09 per share compared with the projected $ 4.72.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai reported GCP is a top-three priority for the company. As of 2019, Google Cloud Platform’s annual run rate is over $8 billion. (compared with $4 billion in 2018).

GCP vs AWS – famous clients

AWS has existed on the market for several years and is a pioneer in the market. Google launched its solution recently. It’s logical that the Google Cloud Platform backs up a lot of successful AWS solutions.

Below are the top customers of AWS service:

  • Netflix
  • Reddit
  • NASA
  • Slack
  • Adobe
  • Pinterest
  • Dow Jones

Among the GCP top clients are:

  • 20th Century Fox
  • Twitter
  • PayPal
  • Bloomberg
  • SonyMusic
  • HSBC: “We have peace of mind knowing that Google Cloud takes security and compliance very seriously.” Group CIO, HSBC
  • The New York Times

Features comparison

Choosing the cloud provider, we check the key characteristics defining our infrastructure performance. To get a clear view of the essential features of each service, let’s compare both of them.

Compute & Storage options

The computing capacity is judged by the number of cores, or virtual cores (vCPUs). The cores allow running many processes without slowing or blocking the entire system.

Another parameter that we need to consider is the RAM size. The larger RAM allows supporting more simultaneous processes and data exchange flows.

How do the Google Compute Engine and AWS EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) process their virtual machines? Google Cloud virtual machine technology is Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). AWS EC2 virtual machine technology is Xen.

They both offer a wide range of predefined instance configurations with a certain amount of virtual CPU, the number of vCPU, RAM and network. They have different naming form. Google mentions “Compute Engine Virtual Machine instances”, AWS introduces “EC2 instances.”

With EC2 you can either configure your own virtual machines (VMs) or use pre-configured VMs. It operates with Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to provide excellent security and boost network functionality for your computing needs.

GCE provides many similar features as EC2: scalable and predefined VMs, Windows and Linux support, and custom VMs. Yet, it also brought in some important changes from EC2 such as global load balancing, batch processing, and faster persistent disks.

The storage option is the connecting link of cloud computing because it allows you to store all types of information. Size is not the only thing that matters. We also need to take into account the speed of reading and writing operations and the ability to process high loads.

Let’s compare storage options in AWS and GCP.

  AWS GCP
Object storage Amazon Simple Storage Services (Amazon S3): The very first AWS public service Google Cloud Storage
VM disk storage Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) Persistent Disk (both HDD and SSD)
File storage Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) Cloud Filestore
Disaster recovery Provides a set of cloud-based disaster recovery services Does not provide out-of-the-box DR or backup services
Backup Amazon S3 is often used for secondary backup storage Does not provide out-of-the-box DR or backup services
Archive storage S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access (introduced April 2018)  Amazon Glacier, with data querying capabilities Archival Cloud Storage:  Nearline (low frequency)  Coldline (lowest frequency)
Bulk data transfer AWS Import/Export Disk: Shipping disk drives AWS Snowball (device-based)  AWS SnowMobile: Exabyte-scale data transfer via ruggedized shipping container Storage Transfer Service
Hybrid support AWS Storage Gateway: Provides a managed virtual tape infrastructure across hybrid environments Relies on partners such as Egnyte

Network & Latency

Network function comparison is an important aspect. Creating an isolated cloud requires not only computing resources but also a separate VPN access and network address.

AWS allows using Virtual Private Cloud to create a VPN with subnet settings, routing tables, private IPs, and network gateways. Also, there is a Route 53 service for implementing the DNS web service.

The GCP offers top-notch services. Google has a global low latency resource access network. Even from the client’s perspective, the VPC network covers all their regions. Other CSPs restrict VPC networks in a particular region. This allows GCP customers to create applications that serve customers around the world, without creating complex inter-regional infrastructure and data replication mechanisms.

Billing and Pricing

Cloud services have a variety of pricing for the use of cloud services.

AWS uses several payment models:

  • On-Demand. You only pay for the resources and services that you use Reservation: You order the required resources in advance from 1 to 3 years and pay based on use. Often such offers are subject to good discounts (up to 75%).
  • Partial reservation. The more resources you use, the lower the cost of services provided

GCP has been offering more affordable options. Google provides automatic discounts, which reduce the price if the virtual machine runs more than a certain number of hours per month.

Despite the fact that GCP may not have enough depth of capabilities of some other cloud service providers, it has several unique products in its portfolio, and it is an attractive option as a market leader in prices.

Discover the Cloud Pricing post in the Google Cloud blog for a cost comparison based on an example workload.

To estimate how much your specific workload will cost, try the Google Cloud pricing calculator or AWS simple monthly calculator.

Support

Both Google Cloud and AWS have free extensive documentation and community forums. The urgent help of the support team is paid. Both Google Cloud and AWS have support plans. Both providers include an unlimited number of account and billing support cases, with no long-term contracts.

Security

Security is always critical, and in this matter, both cloud platforms match each other stride for stride. Both AWS and GCP use proper protection mechanisms that can secure the users’ data:

  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • HIPAA / ISO / PCI / GDPR compliance
  • Identity and access management including MFA

Conclusion

Cloud services play an important role in the business process. To arrange the cloud infrastructure might be costly, and time-consuming. Before choosing the cloud computing provider, it is necessary to make a research on the most important issues that might cause a risk of losing revenue.

Both AWS and GCP show great performance and provide adequate security, thus, they can be optimal platforms for hosting your servers. We’ve made this comparison to see their main features and to show that both AWS and GCP are rightfully considered leaders in the cloud services sector.

To find out how QuickBlox can help in your cloud adoption journey, please contact us here.

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