When it comes to cloud computing, there are two giant elephants in the room: Google Cloud and AWS. The explosion of cloud computing over the last few years speaks to its cost-efficiency, reliability, and, most importantly, security.
Over the past decade, the shift in cloud computing has removed many of the struggles of on-premise server rooms and networking. Businesses are investing more into cloud computing than ever before. As business processes continue to move online, and with people and companies continuously expanding their digital footprints, there is little excuse to not focus your business strategies around digital growth and technology. At SF AppWorks, we’re always working to help people better understand and utilize technology through the development of digital platforms and the integration of new technologies, both mobile and web.
So how do you pick between Google Cloud and AWS? This guide will help you figure out which platform is best suited to various business needs. Many of the core features offered by Google Cloud & AWS are very similar, but we've selected a few of the most relevant and essential distinctions. From cost considerations to storage configurations, we hope to provide insight into the strengths and weaknesses of each cloud computing platform.
Security is a big factor when it comes to cloud systems. More than 8 billion consumer records were accessed by hackers last year, with credit card numbers and encrypted passwords exposed in many cases. Security breaches can cost companies millions of dollars.
Let’s take a look at how each cloud platform addresses security. With Google Cloud, data is encrypted on persistent disks that are under 256-bit AES (which scrambles data to make it unreadable) and each encryption key is also encrypted and changed regularly with a set of master keys.
AWS has similar protocols, but you get to decide whether AWS looks after those keys, or you have complete control over them. Google Cloud leverages its relationships with some of the biggest internet service providers in the world to protect your data while in transit (moving between platforms). AWS, on the other hand, lets you create private networks to control access to your instances and applications.
While both platforms do a lot to keep your platform secure, we found that the customization and control that AWS offers gives it a slight edge in keeping your data secure, assuming you configure it correctly. Not sure if you did? Schedule a free configuration review with SF AppWorks today.
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Storage and disk space are important when it comes to picking a cloud provider, as costs can skyrocket and performance can suffer as your data grows exponentially. Two types of storage can help define and compare Google Cloud and AWS.
What is Block Storage?
Block storage works by breaking up the data into blocks and then storing the block as separate pieces, each with a unique identifier. AWS uses Elastic Block Store, whereas Google Cloud using persistent disks.
What is Object Storage?
Object storage, or more accurately distributed object storage, is an essential hosted service for the storage of and access to large numbers of binary objects. Google Cloud uses its GC storage service, and AWS offers this via their Amazon S3 service.
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Billing and Pricing
When it comes to cost of services, Google Cloud has a slight lead in pricing. For example, 2 CPUs/8GB RAM costs $69 a month with AWS, compared to only $52 a month with GCP. Both Google Cloud and AWS offer complimentary trials in the form of introductory tiers. This allows customers to test drive their services before they buy and commit to longer periods. They'll also typically offer free credits to attract start-ups onto their platform.
While at face value, Google Cloud offers better rates, they don’t offer as many products and features as AWS. As a result, you might spend more when you factor in customization and integration on Google Cloud. Check out this great table that DZone.com put together - it shows the different services provided by both cloud-service providers. As you can see, Google may cost you less over time, but the added services from AWS can provide greater overall value.
Google Cloud and AWS utilize different networks and different partners to interconnect their data centers around the world. Another consideration when comparing the networks between the two is network latency. Latency is important when it comes to those businesses that need to serve visitors in specific geographical locations. Having your servers in France when you have an e-commerce shop in Paris will lead to faster load times than if you host in North America.
Load times can have a big influence on website efficiency, bounce rates, and cart abandonment. Both platforms have locations around the globe, but specific locations may differ. Because results on measuring the latency can vary depending on where you're located, it's worth testing via various platforms to find out which is better for you specifically. GCP Ping is good for measuring latency for Google Cloud, and CloudPing.info is good for measuring the latency of AWS.
The last category worth touching on is serving customer's hybrid and multi-cloud needs. Both vendors have responded with solutions to help serve those customers that aren't ready to immerse themselves within the cloud yet fully. AWS was first to start the move into hybrid deployments at the Re: Invent Conference in 2018. This was the launch of Outposts, a fully managed service that allows you to securely store and process customer data that needs to remain on-premises or in countries where there's no AWS region.
For Google Cloud, they made their own push towards hybrid in 2019. Anthos is more or less like a rebranding of the Google Cloud Services platform. It brings together the Google Kubernetes Engine, GKE On-Prem, and the Anthos Configuration Management console. It's great to see both cloud-service providers making hybrid options to adapt to their customer's needs. While these products are early in their life cycle, they appear to be on par with each other.
Although AWS and Google Cloud are very similar in terms of their ability to provide a robust and secure infrastructure, AWS has an edge in experience and size, even though Google Cloud is catching up, and using very competitive pricing to do so. AWS is the world's most robust and scalable cloud storage, even if Google Cloud competes with AWS on pricing points. Still, the safe choice (for now) is AWS, which is why it leads in overall market share at 32%. In terms of long-term commitment, AWS becomes a more affordable option. It's clear that many beginners of the cloud system think the same as 'AWS and Azure are the vendors of choice for 93% of cloud beginners’.
While there is not a lot of daylight when discussing the differences between the major platforms, there are important distinctions in the details. Sorting through those differences can be complicated, which is why companies like SF AppWorks offer single sprint rapid prototyping options to build proofs of concepts on each platform, then provide detailed reports on the pros and cons of each. If you’d like to learn more about that, shoot us a note.