AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Which Cloud Storage Option is Best for You?

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In an age of virtual working, cloud computing softwares are becoming increasingly important. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are three of the top names in cloud computing and all great options for your business.

Here, we break down some of the most important similarities and differences between the two and help you decide which one is best for your needs.

Image depicting cloud storage

What is Cloud Computing?

Before we discuss the three most popular cloud computing software options, we must first explain what cloud computing is.

According to Microsoft, “cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”).” Cloud computing can help you store assets and data, back up your data, and create more streamlined business continuity. Gone are the days of huge server rooms, traditional IT departments, and needing to invest in more computing power or storage at your office. Now, you can use a cloud computing platform to do all of that for you.

There are many benefits of cloud computing, including:

  • Global scale – grow your business quickly without having to invest in physical storage. Plus, you can invest in more or less computing power from the right geographic location (aka almost anywhere in the world!). This is a huge advantage in our remote working environment.
  • Performance – The top names in computing services, like the ones we list here, run on the fastest, most secure datacenters and are always being upgraded as needed. This means that you are always running on the most efficient computing hardware without having to update your single corporate datacenter.
  • Security – By using a reputable cloud computing service, you can strengthen your company’s cybersecurity because these providers utilize the leading security policies, technologies, and controls. Keep your data safe and secure.
  • Speed – Because most cloud computing services are provided on-demand, you can have your data when you want it, without having to plan for extra capacity. It’s amazing how fast data can travel through the cloud!
  • Productivity – Save time and resources with a cloud computing service versus an on-site datacenter. No more having to set up hardware, patch through software, and hire an IT team to management your data. With cloud software, you can spend more time focusing on your business goals instead of stressing about IT.

Now that we understand some of the basic functions and benefits of cloud computing software services, let’s look at three of the top names in the industry: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

Amazon Web Services logo

What is Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is Amazon’s cloud platform and it offers over 200 services, including data archiving, backups and restorations, blockchain, cloud migration, and much more. They also have solutions for a number of industries, including advertising and marketing, financial services, game tech, media and entertainment, and many more.

Huge names choose AWS for their cloud computing, including Coca-Cola, Expedia, Netflix, and Volkswagen, among others. It is one of the most widely-adapted cloud platforms worldwide.

Pros of AWS

AWS is a great option for cloud computing for a number of reasons. Here are a few of the platform’s most important benefits:

Breadth & Depth of Services

As we mentioned above, AWS has more than 200 services, meaning that there’s a solution for every business. AWS launched in 2006 and has continued to expand as the e-commerce giant grows.

Pay as You Go Model

With AWS, you only pay for the services you use, meaning that it can be more affordable (if you know what you need). This also means that it’s easy to scale your resources if and when it’s needed.

Trust

Many consumers trust AWS because they have compiled the most compliance certifications in the industry.

Cons of AWS

While there are a lot of benefits for AWS, there are also some considerations. Here are a few:

Less Transparent Pricing

While AWS’ pay-as-you-go payment structure can be beneficial for some businesses, this also means that you might not know exactly how much you are paying or you may pay for services you don’t actually need. You can enable monitoring on your account, meaning that you get alerts when your billing changes, but even with these notifications some billing items can easily be missed.

Country-Specific Services

Depending on your location, every AWS service might not be available where you or your employees are. Amazon is a US-based company and will advertise their services that are available in the US, but these top services might not be available in other countries.

Data and Intellectual Property Protection

With all cloud computing services, you need to be aware of your data protection, as well as any intellectual property protection. AWS could allow foreign companies to access your data. In addition, AWS removed a clause in their agreement protecting intellectual property and replaced it with the following:

“AWS will defend you and your employees, officers, and directors against any third-party claim alleging that the Services infringe or misappropriate that third party’s intellectual property rights, and will pay the amount of any adverse final judgment or settlement.”

In addition to these considerations, all of the cloud computing options on this list face a few of the same considerations, including potential data mining, cloud computing glitches, and insecure services.

Woman using Microsoft Azure on her computer

What is Microsoft Azure?

According to Microsoft, the Azure cloud platform contains “more than 200 products and cloud services designed to help you bring new solutions to life—to solve today’s challenges and create the future.” According to the site, you can “build, run, and manage applications across multiple clouds [and] on-premises…with the tools and frameworks of your choice.

Pros of Azure

Azure is an extremely popular cloud computing service choice for many companies and executives. Here are some of the top benefits of the software:

Secure

Azure is generally a very secure cloud computing choice. They follow a security control system called DADSC that has five steps: detect, assess, diagnose, stabilize, and close. Azure was also recognized as an industry leader thanks to its cloud infrastructure.

Scalable

In times when you need more data packets, Azure makes it easy to purchase what you need, when you need it and scale back when needed. You aren’t stuck into a one-size-fits-all service and can scale up and down as your business changes.

Cons of Azure

Of course, there are considerations with Microsoft Azure as well. Here are some to keep in mind:

Difficulte to Migrate From Competitors

Microsoft makes it easy to move from a competitor to Azure through their Azure Migrate tools, but they don’t make it as easy for the other way around. If you are looking to migrate your cloud software services fairly often, this might be a consideration before working with Azure

Potential Data Loss

Azure is a single solution, meaning that all your data is stored in one place. This means that if you can’t access it, you’re out of luck. In addition, you run the risk of Azure losing your data, which has happened in the past, like during this 2018 outage. While Azure does have some options for data backup, they cost extra.

Location-Based Services

Just like with AWS, not all solutions will be available in all markets. If you have employees around the world, make sure the services that you need are available in their home countries.

Google Cloud Platform logo

What is Google Cloud?

Lastly, we have Google Cloud. According to their website, “Cloud Storage is a service for storing your objects in Google Cloud. An object is an immutable piece of data consisting of a file of any format. You store objects in containers called buckets. All buckets are associated with a project, and you can group your projects under an organization.” The structure of the cloud storage is pretty straightforward.

Pros of Google Cloud

Here are some of the main benefits of Google Cloud storage options:

Secure Storage

Security and access is super simple with Google Cloud Platform, especially if you integrate it with Google Drive.

Many Regions Available

As we talked about with AWS and Azure, some features might not be available in other areas. But Google Cloud offers data storage in a number of regions including North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Cons of Google Cloud

While Google Cloud is a great option for many businesses, there are a few things to consider. Here are some of the cons of the platform:

Expensive

Depending on your needs, Google Cloud may be a more expensive option than Azure or AWS. Both of those options have a pay-as-you-need model, but Google Cloud has a fixed pricing model and you may also have to pay extra for their support fee.

Outdated Services

When it comes to machine learning and SQL, Google Cloud may fall behind the other competitors and only offers limited or outdated versions of some managed services.

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: Which Option is Right for You?

As you can tell, the cloud software that is right for your business will depend on your unique needs. You need to consider your priorities, including:

  • Quanity and quality of data
  • Security concerns
  • Location
  • Machine learning needs
  • Cost

In addition, many businesses are choosing to implement a hybrid model and work with multiple cloud software options for their different needs. These platforms listed can be combined together, use individually, or used with other software options as well. As our virtual world continues to grow, so do our data solutions.

Do you have questions about your data storage or how to incorporate data into your marketing stack, we would love to chat! Contact us today to learn more.

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