Google Cloud vs. AWS: Comparison and Features

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Rafael Timbó
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Rafael Timbó
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Chief Technology Officer
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Here's how to choose between Google Cloud and AWS for your software development and engineering team, and smooth out your workflow.
Published on
March 21, 2023
Updated on
April 11, 2024

Cloud services are internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. In simple terms, they are services provided via the cloud. Instead of being hosted on a local server or a physical machine, these services run on a remote server anyone can access through an internet connection.

Cloud service providers (CSPs) offer businesses a pay-as-you-go model for cloud services, which can help save money on infrastructure and staffing costs. Because they store data, run applications, and provide other services and functions that may be too demanding or expensive to replicate on-premises, such as global data distribution and automatic scalability, cloud services are highly beneficial for all business types.

If you run a startup or tech company, you're probably wondering which cloud platform is best for you. Google Cloud (GC) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are two major competitors in the cloud services market. These two service providers are both public cloud platforms that offer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) products.

According to a report from Synergy Research Group, Google and Amazon held 10% and 33% of the global IaaS public cloud market share in the first quarter of 2022. However, while they share some features, these two services also differ from one another.

This blog post will compare Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services based on pricing, features, compute options, storage options, networking, security, and support. We'll explore their usability in detail to support your journey to choosing the best cloud service for your startup or tech company.

What is Google Cloud?

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a cloud computing service that offers hosting on the same infrastructure Google uses for its end-user products, such as Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube. It provides various services, including computing, storage, networking, big data, machine learning, and security on a pay-as-you-go ground, with no upfront costs and no long-term contracts.

GCP is built on top of the open source infrastructure of Google App Engine, which is a part of the larger Platform as a Service (PaaS) family of products. It comes in two versions: the standard version, which is a public cloud offering, and the enterprise version, which is a private cloud offering. GCP is also available as a managed service called Google Cloud Platform for Business, designed for businesses that want to outsource their IT infrastructure to Google.

GCP is a highly convenient platform that can help build and deploy applications of all types, including web, mobile, and gaming. In addition, GCP offers a variety of tools and services that can be used to manage, monitor, and optimize applications.

What Is Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud computing platform from Amazon that offers a suite of services, including:

  • Computing (EC2, Lambda, EKS)
  • Storage (S3, EFS)
  • Networking (VPC, Route 53)
  • Big data (EMR, Athena, Redshift)
  • Machine learning (ML Services, SageMaker)
  • Security (IAM, CloudTrail, GuardDuty).

AWS also delivers a wide range of application services and developer and management tools, with some of them listed below:

  • Application Programming Interface (API) management
  • Serverless computing
  • Business intelligence
  • CodeCommit
  • CodeBuild
  • CodePipeline
  • AWS Config
  • AWS CloudFormation
  • AWS OpsWorks

All these tools and services help businesses build sophisticated applications with increased flexibility, scalability, and reliability. AWS enables you to select the operating system, programming language, databases, and other services you need to build an application. You can also use it to monitor and manage your AWS resources.

When it comes to practical use, AWS can assist you in developing all kinds of applications for the web, mobiles, gaming, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Better yet, it will do so while reducing your infrastructure costs.

How is Google Cloud Different From AWS

These two cloud computing platforms differ in terms of database options, computing services, networking and storage features, and overall security features and services. Let's dive deeper into these Google Cloud and AWS differences to help you decide which platform may be a better option for you.  

Computing Services

As mentioned, cloud computing services are web-based and provide computing resources on demand. Developers can use them to build and run their applications without worrying about managing the underlying infrastructure. Here's how GCP and AWS differ in the offered products and services.

Google Cloud Platform provides users with:

  • Google App Engine: As a platform-as-a-service product, Google App Engine allows developers to create web applications on a remote server.
  • Google Compute Engine: This is an infrastructure-as-a-service offer that provides virtual machines for many purposes.
  • Google Kubernetes Engine: The GCP's managed container service allows users to deploy and manage containers on GCP.

On the other hand, AWS delivers the following computing products:

  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud: Amazon's infrastructure-as-a-service offering provides users access to virtual machines.
  • Amazon EC2 Container Service: This is Amazon's container service that allows for easy management and deployment of containers.
  • AWS Lambda: A serverless computing platform or AWS Lambda helps developers run code without provisioning or managing servers.

Networking Features and Services

Both GCP and AWS offer quality networking features and services. In terms of GCP, these include:

  • Cloud DNS
  • Cloud VPN
  • Cloud Load Balancing

AWS, on the other hand, provides:

  • Amazon Route 53
  • Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
  • AWS Direct Connect

Although all these offerings are of good quality, you may want to consider your needs before opting for one or another. For instance, load balancing in Google is excellent in terms of speed, as it can load 0-1 million requests per second with no pre-warming. Meanwhile, AWS elastic load balancing can automatically scale to meet your needs.

Storage Features and Services

Both GCP and AWS offer convenient storage features and services. In the case of the former, these include Cloud Storage, Cloud SQL, and Cloud Spanner. The latter provides Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Glacier, and Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS).

While we can say that both platforms are well equipped with storage features and services, Google may be one step ahead, especially for customers working with AI and big data. For instance, Google Cloud Spanner can process up to two billion queries per second at peak, and Google Bigtable over five billion requests.

GCP's clients are currently processing data beyond petabytes thanks to BigQuery, which can take terabytes of data per second. Moreover, Google's Vertex AI is highly competitive in big data analytics. It can train and deliver machine learning models with 80% less code. Therefore, if you are looking for big data and analytics, the best storage service will be GCP.

Database Options

GCP and AWS offer databases with different capabilities. The former provides users with:

  • Cloud SQL
  • Cloud Datastore
  • Cloud Bigtable

On the other hand, AWS’s databases capabilities include:

  • Amazon DynamoDB
  • Amazon SimpleDB
  • Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)

Security Features and Services

Security is one of the top priorities of all businesses with an online presence. Therefore, GCP offers the following advanced security options:

  • Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM): This allows you to control who has access to your cloud resources.
  • Cloud Key Management Service (KMS): The service helps you manage and rotate your encryption keys.
  • Cloud Security Scanner (CSS): As the name suggests, the CSS scans your cloud resources for potential security vulnerabilities.
  • Google Cloud Armor: This product protects your applications from web attacks.
  • Google Identity-Aware Proxy: The proxy verifies the user’s identity before allowing access to your Google Cloud resources.

AWS also has high user protection in place, including:

  • Amazon Identity and Access Management (IAM): This allows you to control who has access to your AWS resources.
  • Amazon CloudWatch: As a monitoring service, CloudWatch helps you keep an eye on your AWS resources and applications.
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk: The service aids you in deploying and managing your applications on AWS.

While Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer various security features and services, consumers prefer GCP due to its advanced security capabilities. Google Cloud Platform integrates with Google’s other security products, such as Google Cloud Armor and Google Identity-Aware Proxy. It also offers various tools and services to help you comply with data security and privacy regulations, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

In fact, among the top reasons for not moving to the cloud, security tops the list. Findings show that most businesses hesitate to use cloud services because of security risks, regulatory requirements, and a lack of internal development skills. GCP addresses one of these concerns by offering numerous security guarantees and data protection mechanisms.

AWS vs Google Cloud Price Comparison

As we mentioned, GCP and AWS are both popular cloud providers, but how do they compare when it comes to pricing? Like with most of their features, these two platforms provide different offers for distinct types of customers.

First and foremost, GCP offers a per-minute billing option, while AWS charges by the hour. With the former, you can also opt for a Sustained Use Discount to save up to 30% on the bill or a Preemptible VM option to reduce compute costs by a whopping 70%.

It's also essential to highlight that GCP comes with a monthly committed use model, and AWS offers a pay-as-you-go model. Finally, it comes down to your preferences and abilities in the AWS vs. Google Cloud price comparison.

AWS or Google Cloud

There's no clear winner in the Google Cloud vs. AWS battle. As seen above, both of these cloud service providers have advantages and disadvantages. Which one will be perfect for your business depends completely on your needs and preferences.

However, there are some factors you can consider to make the final choice with more ease and confidence. We listed and explained them in more detail below.

Why Choose Google Cloud

Developers are majorly keen on computing services and cloud storage, among other resources that cloud service providers offer. In that regard, Google Cloud is a perfect choice for businesses that want to use Google products and services or Google’s AI and machine learning capabilities.

Moreover, GCP offers managed services and is a better option for developers who want to focus on their application code. Here’s how this translates into the actual benefits of the GCP over AWS:

Best for Big Data Analytics

None of the two platforms is limited in terms of portfolio and range of services. However, businesses may need some services more than others. For instance, Google Cloud’s primary advantage is its use of BigQuery for data analytics. BigQuery is a powerful tool that allows Google to offer excellent support for data-intensive applications.

Exceptional Customer Support

If you're just getting started with cloud computing, consider using Google Cloud. The chances are that you're already familiar with all Google products and services, and Google Cloud lets you take advantage of them, which makes the learning curve a lot easier. Because of the previous knowledge of Google services, you'll spend less time and resources on this cloud solution.

GCP also offers better customer support services than AWS. It provides 24/7 customer support with live chat and email support, while AWS only offers the latter. You can also expect aid from a large expert team that has already raised customer satisfaction to 97%, compared to AWS's satisfaction rating of 92%.

Superior Database Capabilities

If anything, database capabilities make a significant factor in choosing the right cloud service provider. Admittedly, Google Cloud is slightly superior in this area to AWS. Here's a detailed overview of the services offered:

Cloud SQL vs. Amazon DynamoDB

GCP's Cloud SQL is a relational database service that offers high availability, scalability, and security. While Amazon's DynamoDB also provides a wide range of managed databases, it is inferior to GCP in some aspects.

For example, most databases on Amazon's RDS are primarily meant for on-premise services and, therefore, lack many capabilities offered by native cloud solutions. So, if you are looking for a powerful and fully managed relational database solution, GCP is the way to go.

Cloud Datastore vs. SimpleDB

One key feature of Amazon's DynamoDB is that it comes with SimpleDB and is excellent for automatic indexing. SimpleDB works best for items under 10GB and augments DynamoDB, which works best for items over 10GB.

On the other hand, Cloud Datastore from Google supports automatic indexing and allows acid transactions, which gives it an upper hand compared to DynamoDB. Additionally, Cloud Datastore comes with two storage types, including High Replication Datastore and Master/Slave Datastore, which ensures strong consistency of database operations. Google Cloud Datastore also integrates with Google App Engine, which makes it easy to start with and use.

Bigtable vs. Relational Database Service (Redshift)

Google Cloud Bigtable is Google's NoSQL big data database service. It provides high performance and scalability for large datasets. On the other hand, AWS's Relational Database Service (RDS) is a managed relational database service that offers high availability, scalability, and security. Which is a better option, then?

Google CP, which is preferred for processing large datasets thanks to Bigtable, outperforms Amazon's Redshift in this regard. It is highly integrated with Hadoop and other big data products. So, if you need more power to support big data operations across relational databases, GCP may be your ideal option.

Advanced Cloud Storage Services

Both Google Cloud and AWS offer a variety of cloud storage features. However, Google Cloud has better cloud storage resources. For instance, beyond the databases, cloud networking, and compute resources hosted in the cloud, GCP also facilitates capabilities for machine learning and artificial intelligence services, which are often vital in Big Data processing.

A Subscription-Based Billing

When choosing a cloud provider, it's essential to consider your needs and compare the features and pricing of each provider. Google Cloud and AWS are both excellent choices for businesses of all sizes, but they generally offer different things and bill services accordingly.

AWS prices its services based on a pay-as-you-go model, while GCP uses a subscription model. With AWS, you pay for the used services, which you can cancel or change at any time. With GCP, you pay a fixed monthly or yearly fee for access to all services, and you can use as many or as few of them as you want.

Admittedly, choosing the pricing model is subjective and will depend on how you wish to scale your business. GCP is, however, better for those who prefer to pay a fixed price for all the services they need. Such a pricing model often makes GCP a less expensive option than AWS.

For those who want a simple pricing model and don't mind committing to using the services for a certain period, GCP is an excellent choice.

Why Choose AWS

So far, it may seem that Google Cloud Platform is way ahead of AWS, but things aren't that simple. Like GCP, AWS has its own set of advantages that appeal to different customer groups. Here are the top reasons your business may want to go for AWS instead of GCP:

Easy to Deploy and Manage Web Applications with Flexible Digital Solutions

AWS’s main advantage over Google Cloud Platform is its Elastic Beanstalk service, which makes it easy to deploy and manage web applications. The Elastic Beanstalk manages all the deployment details with little work on the coder's part. Moreover, it's easy to scale on demand and gives users high control over all the offered tools.

Developers may, therefore, prefer AWS for its flexibility. This cloud service provider proves ideal for businesses that want to build products smartly. With AWS, you can validate your idea first and build and sustain your product in a serverless environment that offers robust digital solutions. So, startups may want to go in this direction.

Product Variety and Increased Control Over Data

AWS is a good choice for businesses that need more control over their data and want to use services from other providers. GCP and AWS both offer a variety of features for computing services, but AWS provides more raw compute power than GCP, which focuses on managing services. AWS is, therefore, a better option for developers who need more control over their computing environment.

Lower Cost in a Bulk

Although AWS is sometimes pricier and more complex to navigate than GCP due to all the different pricing structures for each service, it's not without its advantages. You may prefer AWS over GCP because it offers a discount for reserved instances that you commit to using for a certain period. GCP does not provide this type of discount.

Additionally, when you use many AWS services, you may find this cloud service provider even more cost-efficient than GCP due to significant service discounts. Assuming you use GCP's per-minute billing option and take advantage of the Sustained Use Discount, GCP is typically cheaper than AWS for computing costs. But if you need more flexibility in your pricing, AWS may be a better option.

In general, AWS is a good choice for businesses that use many cloud services and need the flexibility to change or cancel their services at any time.

Hire an Expert Developer

As you can see from this comprehensive guide, both Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services have advantages and disadvantages. Whether one or another is better for your business ultimately depends on your needs. Therefore, before making a final choice, take the time to assess your requirements and capabilities as a company.

If you still end up being unsure about which platform is the right choice for you, consider seeking expert help. An experienced cloud engineer can help you set priorities, determine primary business goals, and pick the perfect option between Google Cloud vs. AWS.

As a talent marketplace that connects companies in the US with pre-vetted remote tech talent in Latin America, Revelo is here to support your mission. We can help you find the right cloud engineer in a matter of days and kickstart your operations quickly and cost-efficiently.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help scale up your business and make an informed decision between Google Cloud vs. AWS.

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