Cloud Computing has been elevated to a cornerstone of contemporary industries, being implemented in numerous companies around the world that are active in many different markets. It is a wide array of services that enhance business elements ranging from mobility and innovation to reliability and security while having adjustable costs, according to the scale of usage. All these technological developments are provided and facilitated by some of the most powerful companies active in this market, with two of them being Amazon and Google.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) were launched back in 2006 (https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/) as a subsidiary of the multinational giant, Amazon, quickly becoming the dominant force in terms of market share in Cloud Computing. One of their most prominent competitors in this market is provided by another one of the ‘Big Four tech companies’, Google, and their platform “Google Cloud” (GC) which started 12 years ago, in 2008 (http://googleappengine.blogspot.com/2008/04/introducing-google-app-engine-our-new.html).
This article will help you understand the basic differences that exist between these two prominent Cloud Computing platforms that currently dominate a large share of the market, comparing many of their services. cost aspects and overall strengths and weaknesses.
Market share might not directly indicate which company offers the best overall product available, as there are many more factors that are connected to it. Many times, marketing campaigns are much more effective than quality and innovation in order to promote your services and attract new customers. It has to be stated though, that no bad product can remain at a leading position, regardless of marketing. Thus, it can be used as the first indicator of the trust that each company has earned during this decade that saw the meteoric rise of Cloud Computing services.
In terms of market share, AWS is the absolute winner, as it is estimated to control 32.3% of the market, a number that refers to the full year of 2019. GC, on the other hand, has a significantly smaller market share, which is only 5.8%. At first glance, it can be understood that AWS is the absolute dominant force in this market, which is actually an undeniable reality.
A statistic that completely alters the above conclusion is the growth rates that exist for each company. As it is normal, AWS has reached a point that is hard to overcome, controlling the 1/3 of the market and naturally struggling to grow more as competition rises. This is reflected by their growth, which was only 36% for 2019, compared to almost 88% for GC, a statistic that proves GC to have more room to develop and grow large, compared to AWS which is dominant but more stagnant.
The numbers are even more indicative of this situation if we take into consideration the statistics from previous years. Back in 2018, AWS controlled roughly 32.7% of the market share, meaning that they actually lost ground compared to other companies. Their 36% growth was stimulated by the rise of the Cloud Computing market itself, rather from them becoming more competitive. GC has the exact opposite outlook, as they are considerably smaller, but back in 2018 controlled only 4.2% of the market. Thus it is easy to understand that they both benefited from the rise of Cloud Computing, but not both of them became more competitive during these 2 years.
The rise of Cloud Computing and the great numbers that are reflected by these market shares can be understood by the statics concerning the adoption of Cloud Computing. As of 2019, it is estimated that 91% of companies use some form of public Cloud Computing (https://resources.flexera.com/web/media/documents/rightscale-2019-state-of-the-cloud-report-from-flexera.pdf?elqTrackId=372b6798c7294392833def6ec8f62c5c&elqaid=4588&elqat=2&_ga=2.75255952.381106268.1556868633-1445624021.1556868633), while personal Cloud storage by consumers is currently over 2.3 billion people! (https://www.statista.com/statistics/499558/worldwide-personal-cloud-storage-users/)
The services offered by each company are numerous, and many times very difficult to pinpoint as an exact number, as they follow the trend of fluctation according to the needs of the market. While new ones constantly appear by both companies as they try to innovate, many older ones can change altogether or merge with others.
AWS currently offers numerous services, with each including numerous specialized sub-services (https://aws.amazon.com/pricing/?nc2=h_ql_pr_ln). There are 21 major categories of services that cover almost any possibility concerning the modern company or even private needs, while the specialized services that exist in these categories are over 160.
GC offers also a wide array of products to the customers, with 28 main products (https://cloud.google.com/products#featured-products), with each of them including numerous sub-services and contributing to a total number of about 200 distinct services.
Proceeding to a service-to-service comparison between the two companies would be incredibly long and ultimately counter-productive, as what is most important is the difference in approaches that they have. Ultimately, both of them feature high-quality products that usually overlap and have more subtle differences that become the reason for their adoption. These services cover many of the most essential software and computing-related fields, ranging from simple storage, computing and analytics to much more complicated fields like VR, Robotics and Machine learning.
In essence, both companies offer a plethora of products that can fully replace almost any in-house IT department and offer both better results and better prices, while at the same time having constant access to new, innovative features.
Comparing the cost of the services offered by these two companies is a very complicated task, as they offer different services or similar services that have different approaches. Additionally, Cloud Computing is mostly focused on a pay-per-use basis, meaning that the cost of the services will fluctuate according to each scenario, instead of being stable and easy to compare. Finally, many services will have fluctuating costs according to the geographical location of the company, as operating costs of servers change accordingly. With all these in mind, let’s see the pricing of some fundamental costs of AWS and GC services.
AWS services example (https://aws.amazon.com/pricing/?nc2=h_ql_pr_ln)
- S3 Standard (data storage) $0.021 to $0.023 per GB according to data load. This price can fluctuate from $0.0125 to even $0.00099 per GB, but without having quick access to your data and used primarily for backups.
- EC2 (computing) $0.0255 per hour of usage. This cost is extremely fluid and the price mentioned refers to one of the most basic computing services offered. Since there are hundreds of different options, this cost can fluctuate according to the parameters.
- Amazon Aurora (Database) $0.10 per GB per month and $0.20 per 1 million requests of I/O (input/output).
- Amazon Kinesis (Video Streaming) $0.00850 per GB of data ingested and egressed
- Amazon Athena (Analytics) $5.00 per TB of data scanned, with the cost being drastically lowered if data is compressed, partitioned and converted to columnar formats
- Amazon Connect (Customer Engagement) $0.018 per minute of voice usage and $0.004 per message for chat usage.
GC services example (https://cloud.google.com/pricing/list)
- Cloud Storage (data storage) $0.020, with fluctuations according to the geographical area. The price can go as low as $0.0012 for archival storage
- Computing $0.032 per hour of vCPU usage, which can go as low as $0.014 per hour in cases of a 3-year long commitment
- Cloud SQL (Database) $0.059 per vCPU and $0.01 per GB of memory according to your configuration of the virtual database
- Big Query (Analytics) $0.02 per GB monthly and $0.01 per GB monthly for long term storage. Streaming inserts are priced at $0.01 per 200 MB, while loading, copying, exporting and metadata operations are free of charge.
- Speech-to-Text $0.006 per 15 seconds
These examples of pricing used by these companies exhibit the way that they are extremely situational and offer competitive prices according to the needs of the market, while at the same time they have many times different pricing strategies. Since every case of Cloud Computing usage is extremely personalized and customized, it is advised to use these rates with care and try to calculate exactly your costs, according to the needs of your company.
Strengths & Weaknesses
After considering all the data offered above and the plethora of official opinions that exist on this matter, it is possible to summarize the strengths and weaknesses of each company.
- Controls the largest market share and is the biggest company in the field
- Excellent global coverage
- Generally has low prices, especially when it comes to archival storage
- Longer presence in the market
- Easy to use and understand pricing guides
- Offers many different solutions
- Generally considered easier to implement by many
- Many hybridization possibilities
- More media possibilities
- In terms of market share, it seems to be stagnating
- Some services that are discounted can feature very slow speed
- Some more refined services can be pricey
- It is currently growing rapidly
- Despite lesser market share and revenue, the global coverage is not problematic
- Computing is excellent and many times cheaper than AWS due to pricing policies
- Focuses more on innovation
- Quickly adopts new services
- Many specialized services
- Despite the growth, it is a much younger platform and still can’t compete directly with AWS in terms of the sheer size
- Some consider it complicated
- Pricing and services are more chaotic to navigate
So, after all these facts and opinions concerning these two giants of Cloud Computing, which is the best solution to adopt?
Well, this question is almost impossible to answer directly without being unfair to one of the two companies. Both of them have excellent and extremely useful services that many times have radically different approaches. In such cases, the best advice that any tech specialist can give you is not blindly following one of the two companies, but rather investing some time to carefully plan your needs. Once this is done, then you can have a clearer picture of the company that best suits your specific case and ultimately earns your trust.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that no choice is mutually exclusive. As both companies have strengths and weaknesses, it is possible to hybridize your Cloud Computing and utilize services offered by both companies, according to what best suits your scenario. Such a case demands a great in-depth knowledge of both companies, but can ultimately be the absolute solution that will solve most of your issues while ensuring the most cost-effective set of services as well.