Cloud Services Terminology Guide: Comparing AWS vs Azure vs Google

5 Min 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.


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

Compute Engine

PaaS, deploying applications

Elastic Beanstalk

AWS Lightsail

App Service

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

AWS Fargate

Azure Functions

Azure Event Grid

GCP Functions

Cloud Run

Autoscaling instances

Auto Scaling

Azure Autoscale

VM Scale Sets


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:

Comparing Cloud Container Services Across AWS, Azure, and GCP

Why Everyone Is Talking About Cloud Containers

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


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



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.

To learn more, check out S3 Cost: Amazon Cloud Storage Cost Explained.


Service AWS Azure GCP
Commitment length

Reserved Instance: 1 or 3 years

AWS Savings Plans

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



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 No

Payment option: No Upfront


Yes Yes

Payment option: Partial Upfront


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, check them out:

What You Need To Know About AWS Savings Plans

A Look At Reserved Instances And AWS Savings Plans Pricing

Comparing AWS vs. Google Cloud Pricing


Service AWS Azure GCP

Custom database

Amazon Aurora

Azure Cosmos DB

Azure Table Storage

Cloud Spanner

Managed relational database-as-a-service


SQL Database

Databse for MySQL

Database for PostgreSQL

Cloud Spanner

Cloud SQL


Amazon DynamoDB

Azure Cosmos DB

Google Cloud Bigtable

Google Cloud Datastore

Data Warehouse

Amazon Redshift

Synapse Analytics

Google Cloud BigQuery

Database Migration

AWS Database Migration Services

Azure Database Migration Services


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, but 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


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

Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory

Web Firewall

AWS Web Application Firewall

Azure Application Gateway

Azure Firewall

Firewall Insights

Security Assessment

Amazon Inspector

Azure Security Center

Cloud Security Command Center (Alpha)

Threat Detection and Monitoring

Amazon GuardDuty

Azure Advanced Threat Detection

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


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.

BETTER Headshot Jackson Lucas
Jackson Lucas, Cloud Tech Journalist

Jackson currently reports on cloud industry news, documents cloud best practices, and helps organizations tackle their biggest cloud management challenges. When he's not contributing to the CloudHealth blog, Jackson focuses on retelling VMware's complex product and solution story through enhanced web experiences.

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