Cloud Services Terminology Guide: Comparing AWS vs Azure vs Google

Jackson Lucas
Cloud Tech Journalist
Published:
Dec. 18, 2018
4 minute read

As more and more organizations move to multicloud, feature-by-feature comparisons between the top cloud providers are becoming crucial for determining which platform will ultimately be the best fit. We know it can be a challenge to research each provider’s extensive product portfolio, so we’ve compiled the most common elements below (e.g. compute, storage, discounts, databases, security, and network services) to help you cross-identify comparable services across AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

 

Compute

Service AWS Azure GCP
Deploy, manage, and maintain virtual servers Elastic Compute Cloud Virtual Machine

Compute Engine

PaaS; deploying applications

Elastic Beanstalk

Cloud Services

App Engine Environment (Standard, Flexible)

Management support for Docker/Kubernetes containers EC2 Container Service (ECS)Amazon Kubernetes (EKS) Azure Container Service (AKS) Kubernetes EngineContainer Engine

Docker Container registry

EC2 Container Registry (ECR)

Container Registry

Container Registry

Serverless compute

AWS Lambda

Azure Functions

Azure Event Grid

GCP Functions

Autoscaling instances

Auto Scaling

Azure Autoscale

Autoscaling

 

Just because containers are the cloud industry’s hottest new toy doesn’t mean they are easy to understand—let alone optimize. Here are some additional resources to help get you started on your container journey:

Why Everyone Is Talking About Cloud Containers

Are Cloud Containers Really More Effective?

6 Ways To Dip Your Toes Into The World Of Containers (Including Amazon EKS!)

 

Storage

Service AWS Azure GCP
Object storage Simple Storage Services (S3) Storage (Block Blob)

Google Cloud Storage

Block storage Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)

Azure Blob Storage,

Azure Disk Storage

Google Persistent Disk

Archive storage Amazon Glacier, S3 Infrequent Access (IA)

Azure Archive Storage

Azure Cool Blob Storage

Google Cloud Storage Nearline and Coldline

File storage Amazon Elastic File System (EFS)

Azure Files

Google Cloud Filestore (Beta)

Bulk data transport AWS Import/Export Disk, AWS Snowball, AWS Snowmobile

Azure Import/Export Service,

Azure Data Box

Storage Transfer Service

Backup Cold Archive Storage, Storage Gateway

Backup

Coldline

Disaster recovery and protection Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery Cookbook

Site Recovery

 

Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) is the world’s most popular cloud object storage solution due to its durability, availability, and scalability. S3 cost calculations are far from simple, so we’ve broken it all down for you.

S3 Cost: Amazon Cloud Storage Cost Explained 

 

Discounts

Service AWS Azure GCP
Commitment length

Reserved Instance: 1 or 3 years

Reserved VM Instance: 1 or 3 years

Committed Use Discounts: 1 or 3 years

Discount cancellations

Available to sell on Amazon Marketplace

Yes, 12% fee on remainder value of Reserved VM Instance

No

Flexibility

Convertible: can be exchanged for Reserved Instances of equal or greater value

Can exchange for other Reserved Instances

Automatically applies to all instances in the region

Payment option: All Upfront

Yes

Yes No

Payment option: No Upfront

Yes

No Yes

Payment option: Partial Upfront

Yes

No No

 

Comparing costs between AWS, Azure, and GCP is difficult. Each provider updates their pricing model multiple times a year in response to both market trends and business strategy, and to ensure they are staying competitive with one another. We’ve compiled some resources to help tackle this problem.

Azure vs. AWS Comparison: Is Azure Really Catching Up?

Comparing AWS vs. Google Cloud Pricing

How Can I Reduce Cloud Computing Costs?

 

Databases

Service AWS Azure GCP

Custom database

Amazon Aurora

Azure Cosmos DB

Azure Table Storage

Cloud Spanner

Managed relational database-as-a-service

RDS

SQL Database

Databse for MySQL

Database for PostgreSQL

Cloud Spanner

Cloud SQL

NoSQL

Amazon DynamoDB

Azure Cosmos DB

Google Cloud Bigtable

Google Cloud Datastore

Data Warehouse

Amazon Redshift

SQL Data Warehouse

Google Cloud BigQuery

Database Migration

AWS Database Migration Services

Azure Database Migration Services

n/a

Data Pipelines

AWS Data Pipeline

Azure Data Factory

Google Cloud Dataflow

 

One of the most effective ways to reduce your cloud spend is by rightsizing your infrastructure. With Azure, not only can you rightsize your infrastructure-as-a-service, you can also save significant money by rightsizing your Azure platform-as-a-service. Check out our blog to learn how you can gain visibility into how your SQL Databases are being utilized:

Azure SQL Database Rightsizing Made Simple

 

Security

Service AWS Azure GCP

Authentication and Authorization

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Azure Active Directory

Google Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Directory Services

AWS Directory Services

Azure Active Directory

n/a

Web Firewall

AWS Web Application Firewall

Azure Application Gateway

Azure Firewall

n/a

Security Assessment

Amazon Inspector

Azure Security Center

Cloud Security Command Center (Alpha)

Threat Detection and Monitoring

Amazon GuardDuty

Azure Security and Compliance

Cloud Armor (Beta)

 

The cloud offers many benefits in terms of flexibility, scalability, and agility, but a cloud environment may create significant risks that were not present in the on-premises deployment of applications and systems. Security must be a priority for every cloud-ready organization—here are three reasons why:

3 Reasons Why Cloud Security Needs To Be A Priority

 

Network Services

Service AWS Azure GCP

Global Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

Amazon CloudFront

Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Google Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Direct connection

AWS Direct Connect

Azure ExpressRoute

Google Cloud Interconnect

DNS

Route 53

Azure DNS

Traffic Manager

Google Cloud DNS

Load balancing

Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)

Azure Load Balancer

Application Gateway

Cloud Load Balancer

Virtual private cloud network

Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)

Virtual Network

Google Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)

 

Compiling a cloud services comparison is challenging in the rapidly-evolving cloud industry. We’ve compiled a cloud services comparison guide of Amazon Web Service (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to help inform you in your multicloud journey. Check out our eBook to learn how the top three cloud providers differ in their product portfolios, including pricing, storage services, geographic availability, and more.