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Google Cloud vs Azure – which one is right for me?

Cloud computing providers Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure are now compete against each other for some of the biggest clients in the world. Google Cloud vs Azure is a decision that companies of a variety of sizes have to make in order to optimise their infrastructure.

While AWS has taken the lead as the traditional giant in the cloud computing market, Google Cloud and Azure are now offering genuinely competitive products in the sphere.

The recently revamped Google Cloud Platform is catching up. Initially created 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 that allows users to utilize the same infrastructure that Google uses for its own products.

Before looking in more detail at the differences between Google Cloud vs Azure, a question needs to be asked. Why should I move to cloud services at all?

Why cloud services?

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

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. Some continue to look for flaws in the way the cloud works. However, the facts suggest that the likes of Google Cloud and Azure 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.

Google Cloud vs Azure – what is the market saying?

The Infrastructure as a Service market has mushroomed to over $23bn, according to an authoritative study from Gartner on the state of cloud services in 2017. Microsoft secured second position in the market with growth of more than 98 percent on its IaaS offering, with revenue surpassing $3.1 billion in 2017.

Google Cloud is in fourth position with a market share of around 4%, according to Gartner’s figures. That represents a steady increase for a relatively new product offering. With the onboarding of several large clients in 2018 that figure is expected to rise further.

AWS has built a reputation for allowing its customers to pick, choose and build the cloud services they need. Both GCP and Azure are staking steps to offer the same kind of flexibility and variety. This approach has served them well and has attracted the type of customers that appreciate this level of flexibility, even if they have to put in a little work to make it run as they need.

Many solutions have even arrived that take that extra time and work away – such as what we offer here at Cloud With Me.

Azure has taken a slightly different approach. It made its stack of products simple to use, as long you use them the way Microsoft has designed them. Azure doesn’t offer as many products, making their offerings easier to navigate.

Google Cloud vs Azure – Products

Google Cloud and Azure offer services to handle all your computing, storage, and database needs; this is the core infrastructure of any business which needs to maintain an online presence.

Having a database in the cloud is a starting point for many modern applications and websites. With both GCP and Azure both you can easily make use of these services.  Both services offer a variety of databases, including relational databases and NoSQL versions. Azure’s relational databases count on the tried-and-tested SQL Server, and this is a go-to reason for many Azure customers.

The GCP relational database service is CloudSQL and is a managed database, and it can also count on other database offerings including Cloud Datastore and BigTable.  BigTable drives many of Google’s products and services for its clients.

In terms of basic services and products offered by Google Cloud and Azure, there isn’t much to choose from.

Google Cloud vs Azure – Server locations

When it comes to deploying a server or deciding where to store your data, it’s location, location, location. It’s important to ensure that the application performs at its optimum by having the quickest route to the people that are going to be using it. Both of them offer great coverage all around the world. Azure has wide coverage with availability in 32 regions. It has even begun to experiment with alternative storage spaces for its data centres, including underwater.

GCP has a presence across 33 countries, with 17 locations. So in terms of sheer breadth of data centers, Microsoft has leveraged its status as a computing giant to gain a slight edge in this aspect.

Azure advantages

Conversations about the public cloud sector have thrown up ongoing concerns over stability in servers. Users worry about outages and downtime, which on an enterprise scale leads to loss of business and potentially loss of data. Azure has a protection plan which replicates all user data to their secure virtual environments.

What Azure has perhaps an advantage in above all other cloud competitors is their philosophy of sheer simplicity. The platform offers simple infrastructure options for developing applications and websites, in comparison to its competitors. This is particularly true if an enterprise has previously depended on Microsoft computing power.

GCP advantages

Being in charge of some of the most used platforms  on the internet makes Google entitled to huge trust. Businesses can be sure their data is in the right hands. All data is encrypted under 256-bit AES between Google and data-centers. That is then further encrypted with several regularly changed master keys.

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 you protect your data to the maximum degree. It’s only natural.

With Google Cloud, it’s clear the company improved and invested in this 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. It 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:


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