Google Cloud vs AWS: How Do The Two Cloud Providers Compare?

Google Cloud vs AWS: How Do The Two Cloud Providers Compare?

CloudHealth Tech Staff
Dec. 4, 2018
5 minute read

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the leading public cloud provider by a country mile, but before taking the plunge and opting for the market leader, be sure to take a look at the Google Cloud Platform and perform a Google Cloud vs AWS analysis. You may be surprised to find that Google Cloud offers multiple advantages over AWS and may better match the needs of your business.

To help you find the best cloud provider to suit your needs we have performed a Google Cloud vs AWS analysis and identified some of the strengths and weaknesses of both cloud platforms.


Google Cloud vs AWS: Market share

Q2, 2018 figures from Canalys show AWS had revenues of $6.2 billion and an IaaS market share of 31%, compared to Microsoft Azure in second place with an estimated market share of 18% and the Google Cloud platform in third place with an 8% market share. AWS’s market share is higher than its four leading competitors combined.  

The dominance of AWS is no surprise. AWS launched its public cloud platform in 2006 and has had a significant head start over Microsoft and Google. Google launched its PaaS Google App engine in 2008 but did not enter into the IaaS market until 2010. 4 years is a very long time in cloud computing.

The significant head start has allowed AWS to exert its dominance; however, its competitors are catching up. AWS grew by 48% in Q2, Azure grew by 89%, and the Google Cloud Platform grew by 108%.

Google Cloud vs AWS: Pricing

Businesses are constantly looking for opportunities to cut costs, and cloud computing is one area where significant savings can be made—although it is difficult to conduct a meaningful Google Cloud vs AWS analysis on pricing alone. The Google Cloud Platform offers comparable core cloud computing solutions to AWS although the services offered by each are not identical. There is also an ongoing price war and frequent price cuts by Google Cloud and AWS with new services regularly being launched. A price comparison today could well be out of date tomorrow.

That said, Google Cloud prides itself on providing lower costs than its competitors. Through the Google Cloud Platform Committed Use and Sustained Use Discounts, it does offer significant price advantages over AWS and has better pricing and discounts for long-term commitments.

If you compare pricing on Google Compute Engine with Committed Use Discounts against Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Reserved Instances, there is a clear winner. Over one year, Google Cloud is 28% cheaper than AWS and 35% cheaper than AWS over 3 years.

Google Cloud’s Sustained Use Discounts provide price reductions the longer its service is used, and those discounts start from one month of use. There are no upfront costs to achieve those discounts and no need to reserve an instance for 1 or 3 years as is the case with AWS. With the discounts on offer, Google Cloud is cheaper than AWS for most use cases.

Google Cloud vs AWS: Features and Services

There are cost advantages to using Google Cloud over AWS, but the cost is only part of the story. There is no point choosing a cloud platform that offers a significant cost advantage if it lacks the flexibility, reliability, and level of performance to meet the needs of the business.

Google Cloud offers around 50 different services, whereas AWS offers more than 200 and is more feature-rich. Many of the additional services are important for large enterprises with exacting requirements for their cloud environments, although Google Cloud does offer a core range of services that meet the needs of most businesses.

Google Cloud certainly has an advantage in terms of flexibility with far greater opportunities for customization of compute instances than AWS, which offers limited opportunities for customization. Each platform offers predefined instances to meet the needs of most businesses, but with the Google Cloud Platform, if compute needs do not match the predefined instances, it is possible to create custom VMs to avoid paying for capacity that is not required.

Google Cloud Platform also currently beats AWS in terms of the size of virtual machines on offer, with its largest offering having 160 CPUs and 3.75 TB of RAM, a significant increase from the 96 CPUs and 1.4TB of RAM that was offered before May 2018. That said, AWS is not far off, with a maximum of 128 CPUs and 4TB of RAM.

Google Cloud vs AWS: Global Reach

While the Google Cloud platform beats AWS on price and flexibility, AWS scores better in terms of global reach, providing significantly more data centers around the world. As of September 2018, the Google Cloud Platform had 17 regions, 52 zones, over 100 points of presence in 35 countries. AWS has 18 regions, 55 availability zones, one local region, and has customers in 190 countries. Further, it is adding new data centers at a higher rate than Google.

This means that AWS may be a far better choice, especially outside of the United States and Europe. More regions and greater availability also mean businesses that choose AWS may be able to provision resources more rapidly.

Google Cloud vs AWS: Free Trials

Both AWS and Google Cloud have excellent 12-month free trials. The AWS free trial includes 750 hours/month compute on Amazon EC2 Instances, 5GB of storage on Amazon S3, and 750 hours per month on the Amazon RDS managed relational database service. A wide range of additional features is also included in the trial. Google Cloud offers a $300 credit trial with the credits lasting for the full 12 months.

An area where Google Cloud has the edge is with its “always free” services, which are more generous than those offered on AWS. The always-free tier on Google Cloud Platform includes 28 instance hours/5GB storage on the Google App Engine, 1 GB storage on its NoSQL database, 1 f1-micro instance per month with a 30GB HDD, 5GB storage per month on Google Cloud Storage and much more.

Which is Better, Google Cloud, or AWS?

When it comes to Google Cloud vs AWS, there is no clear winner as each cloud platform has its pros and cons. AWS is perhaps the best choice for large enterprises with exacting requirements, for multinational companies with a presence in many countries, and for businesses outside of the United States and Europe. AWS also offers excellent levels of support, has greater redundancy and excellent availability.

Google Cloud offers greater flexibility, speed, wins on pricing, and provides a range of products and services that meet the needs of most businesses with a very generous free tier.

Of course, it is not necessary to pick one or the other. You can take advantage of the benefits of AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure by adopting a multicloud strategy. That way you can create a cloud environment that exactly matches the needs of your business and can pick the most cost-effective resources from all cloud providers.