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How Do the Cloud Platforms Stack Up?

How Do the Cloud Platforms Stack Up?

Susan Melony

June 19, 2019


The top three largest public cloud providers are AWS, Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform. Knowing how these cloud providers stack up against one another is important for developers and businesses.

When discussing AWS, Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform, it’s important to note that these are providers of software-, platform- and infrastructure-as-a-service options. There are a lot of other providers out there that specialize in some part of the stack, and many companies combine a public cloud provider with a specialized platform. The following are some things to know when comparing the major public cloud providers and ways to differentiate their offerings.


Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services or AWS is the biggest name in cloud computing, founded in 2006. This on-demand cloud computing platform is used by not only organizations but also individuals. They offer IaaS and Paas Services like Elastic Cloud Compute and Simple Storage Service. When you use AWS, you can customize your requirements for your infrastructure, costing significantly less than if you set up an on-premises infrastructure.

There are different, flexible pricing models so you can pay only for what you need and what you’re using. For developers, it’s very difficult to find better than AWS, and developers are constantly growing the AWS ecosystem. One of the primary areas of growth for AWS is artificial intelligence and machine learning.


Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure offers a cloud computing option with good hybrid capabilities. It’s also fast and reliable. Microsoft offers SaaS, Iaas, and PaaS. Azure is estimated to be the second-largest cloud computing provider behind AWS. It tends to work well for organizations that are very large and dispersed around the globe, as well as enterprises using Windows or other types of Microsoft software. Cloud computing services from Azure are separated into fourteen categories, which include Compute, Networking, Storage, and Web + Mobile. The biggest advantages of Azure are usually achieved when an organization uses Microsoft software already. This can include not only Windows and Office but also SQL Server and SharePoint.

When an enterprise is already familiar with and using Microsoft platforms, it makes the implementation of Azure smoother and easier in many cases. Many government organizations use Azure because of security and compliance benefits. According to Microsoft, around 90% of Fortune 500 companies use the Microsoft Cloud. There are downsides with Azure, however. The costs are one of the big ones—it’s more expensive than options like AWS and Google. There are also a lot of licensing requirements that can make the costs add up pretty quickly, and those costs aren’t necessarily easy to estimate ahead-of-time. For small or medium-sized businesses, it’s unlikely Azure would be their best choice, especially if they don’t have an IT staff.


Google Cloud Platform

Google’s area where it really shines is in data centers. Along with AWS and Microsoft, Google’s Cloud Platform is one of the three major public cloud providers. It’s possible it’s now fourth behind IBM, but it’s hard to know for sure.

Cloud services available from Google aren’t as robust as AWS or Azure, but there are specialized tools that developers can only get with the Google Cloud Platform.

There are nine categories of services from Google. The first is Compute, then there are Storage and Database, and there is Networking. The primary advantage of Google’s Cloud Platform over AWS and Azure is that Google is the largest search engine in the world. This ensures Google knows how to be a reliable data center with speed and performance. Google also offers low prices and flexibility in how people pay. Since Google has so many developers that work for them, this has allowed them to gain a unique insight into what developers want and need when it comes to cloud computing platforms. Many of the services are directly geared toward what developers need, especially developers who are going to be building apps that are cloud-native.

Other strengths of Google lie in data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. On the other hand, Google isn’t likely to meet all of your needs when it comes to cloud computing. There may be industries where it won’t meet security or compliance requirements either, such as in healthcare or for government organizations. Google Cloud Platform isn’t available in as many locations around the world as AWS and Azure, which is another downside to consider.