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AWS vs Google Cloud – A comparative look at two cloud giants

Cloud computing providers Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud are now in direct competition for some of the biggest clients in the world. AWS vs Google Cloud is a decision that many companies, large and small, have to make in order to optimise their infrastructure.

When AWS hit the market in 2002, some saw it as a strange move for an online retailer. Large scale computing systems are better left to the big tech firms, they said.

Fast forward almost two decades. AWS has completed its ascent to the throne as the primary cloud services provider – leaving traditional computing giants in its wake.

However, the recently revamped Google Cloud Platform is catching up. Previously set up as Google Compute Engine, the platform has been adapted and added to what we now know as GCP. Google Cloud Platform is made up of a variety of services and solutions which allow you to utilize the same software and hardware infrastructure that Google uses for their own products.

Before we go into a detailed comparison of AWS vs Google Cloud, a key question needs to be asked. Why do I need to choose between either of them?

Why cloud services?

The rise in the numbers of companies moving to the cloud in recent years has been quite remarkable.

Looking at the following graphic, the sheer variety of reasons to move to the cloud is the first thing that strikes. Whilst some of the benefits of cloud computing are more obvious, there are several benefits which may not come to mind straight away.

In the early days of the development of cloud technology, there were major concerns from a variety of sources as to how secure it could be. While some naysayers continue to point out flaws in the way the cloud works, the truth is that the likes of AWS and Google Cloud have gone a long way to provide layers of extra security for all their cloud products.

In the Rightscale 2017 ‘State of the Cloud’ report, it was shown that almost all concerns regarding the cloud in terms of security, compliance and management are shrinking amongst those working with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) products.

AWS vs Google Cloud – what is the market saying?

As mentioned, AWS controls a very large portion of the cloud services market. According to estimates from Gartner, that figure is marked at more than 50%. That makes it larger than all the rest of the IaaS market combined. Google Cloud comes in the next level of products, alongside the likes of Microsoft Azure and Alibaba.

However, some experts have calculated that Google Cloud is growing at an exponential rate of 130% per year on average. This has come about in part due to large scale investment in the platform by Google. In addition however, Google Cloud’s focus on marketing and work with its partners has led it to an increased market share. Cloud With Me has been one of the benefactors of this, becoming an official partner of Google Cloud in 2017 and working with Google to get the most out of its products.

In the case of AWS vs Google Cloud market share – AWS still has the lead.

AWS is maintaining their lead and holding the lion’s share of the market. Naturally enough, considering the substantial head start AWS gained by getting ahead of the rest when it comes to cloud services. We would expect that lead to narrow even further in the years to come as developers begin to see that Google Cloud’s suite of products can compete with what AWS has to offer.

AWS vs Google Cloud – which has better services?

It’s hard not to be impressed by the array of products on offer at AWS. As can be seen below, AWS especially has a huge catalogue of services for users to make the most out of. The majority of products can be broken down into five categories – Compute, Storage, Database, Migration and Networking.

Services available on AWS are extremely broad and wide. These various services are really well integrated, and they provide a very comprehensive cloud service that very few can match up against.

On the other hand, Google Cloud Platform’s list of products is not as substantial, and mostly focused on classic IaaS and PaaS services. However, you can find the usual IaaS computing, storage and networking tools which will suffice for the vast majority of any business needs. The difference among the two competitors is huge here. How much it impacts on your architecture mostly depends on what your needs are. Chances are that the services provided by GCP will serve the common needs of 99% of businesses.

AWS vs Google Cloud – which one is more secure?

Despite the work being done by the major providers, many businesses still have worries over the security of their data when using cloud hosting and infrastructure solutions. When it comes to your data and systems, of course you are going to take every measure to ensure that they are protected to the maximum degree. It’s only natural.

With Google Cloud, it’s clear that this is one area where they began to improve and invest in even when the products were in infancy. You get the benefit of a security model that has been built upon over the course of 15 years, and currently secures products and services like Gmail, Search, etc as well as other Google-owned products such as YouTube.

Google Cloud’s YouTube channel has a very informative series of videos on what Google does to ensure the highest levels of security against different threats, such as this one on how they protect against ransomware:

Like Google, AWS has invested time, money and effort in ensuring the highest levels of security for your data. All data is encrypted in transit between AWS, the customers, and data centers; as well as the data in all of the AWS cloud. Among the other security features are built-in firewalls. These allow you to create private networks, and control access to your instances and applications.

Google perhaps holds a slight advantage in this regard due to the development of its systems to the highest level during the last decade. However, both AWS and Google Cloud represent highly secure cloud networks.

AWS vs Google Cloud – Hybrid cloud

One of the most salient aspects of a comparison between any cloud provider is their willingness to embrace and execute hybrid cloud development. Despite the widespread recognition that moving to cloud services is a smart one these days, many are still reluctant to move to entirely cloud based solutions.

That’s where the idea of the hybrid cloud comes in. The matter of hybrid cloud computing has become an incredibly important part of choosing the right technology partner.

There is a strong belief in certain sectors, financial services being the major one, that there needs to be a consideration for private, on-premises data alongside cloud services.

AWS has been slow to embrace hybrid cloud systems, although they have begun to address the issue. Amazon’s initial stance was that there was no need for private centres, but that stance has softened in the last year or so.

Amazon added a much needed hybrid element to its portfolio in October 2017. It partnered with VMware to allow their customers to burst into its cloud environments. That said, they still have a way to go to keep up with competitors in this regard.

With the open-source Kubernetes  project, Google launched one of the fundamental building blocks that make running and managing applications in hybrid environments easier for large enterprises.

Kubernetes is the hot topic everyone is talking about right now when it comes to cloud computing – and it could be the thing that propels GCP into the top bracket of IaaS providers. This open source project automates the process of deploying and managing multi-container applications at scale.

AWS vs Google Cloud – Conclusion

AWS and Google Cloud offer many similar products and services which solve a variety of needs for a range of businesses. Deciding which one is better is pretty relative, as they have strengths and weaknesses on both sides. If it’s the widest variety of products you want, AWS has pretty much anything you might need and is not the market leader for no reason.

Concurrently, Google has shown the willingness to spend big in recent years to provide serious competition to AWS. That looks likely to continue as some high profile clients have already announced a move to GCP, including Target at Google’s Cloud Next conference in 2018.

Hosting your website on either AWS or Google Cloud can be a daunting process however. Luckily Cloud With Me can simplify that process for the less ‘techy’ amongst us, allowing you to move to the cloud quicker and easier than ever before.


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