Please use the menu below to navigate the article sections:
- History and establishment
- Market share & growth rate
- Availability Zones (Data Centers)
- Comparison of common cloud services
- Comparison of Specialized services
- Pros and Cons
- Career Prospects
- Most valuable IT Certifications
- Further Reading
- Ready to Take Your Tech Career to the Next Level?
Cloud computing has revolutionized the way companies develop applications. Most of the modern applications are now cloud native. Undoubtedly, the cloud offers immense benefits like reduced infrastructure maintenance, increased availability, cost reduction, and many others.
However, which cloud vendor to choose, is a challenge in itself. If we look at the horizon of cloud computing, the three main providers that come to mind are AWS, Azure, and Google cloud. Today, we will compare the top three cloud giants and see how they differ. We will compare their services, specialty, and pros and cons. After reading this article, you will be able to decide which cloud vendor is best suited to your needs and why.
AWS is the oldest player in the market, operating since 2006. Here’s a brief history of AWS and how computing has changed. Being the first in the cloud industry, it has gained a particular advantage over its competitors. It offers more than 200+ services to its users. Some of its notable clients include:
- Coca Cola
Azure by Microsoft started in 2010. Although it started four years later than AWS, it is catching up quite fast. Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud platform which is why many companies prefer to use Azure for their Microsoft-based applications. It also offers more than 200 services and products. Some of its prominent clients include:
- CDC (Center of Disease Control) USA
- National health service (NHS) UK
Google Cloud also started in 2010. Its arsenal of cloud services is relatively smaller compared to AWS or Azure. It offers around 100+ services. However, its services are robust, and many companies embrace Google cloud for its specialty services. Some of its noteworthy clients include:
If you look at the market share and growth chart below, you will notice that AWS has been leading for more than four years. Azure is also expanding fast, but it is still has a long way to go to catch up with AWS.
However, in terms of revenue, Azure is ahead of AWS. In Q1 2022, AWS revenue was $18.44 billion; Azure earned $23.4 billion, while Google cloud earned $5.8 billion.
When comparing cloud vendors, it is essential to see how many regions and availability zones are offered. Here is a quick comparison between all three cloud vendors in terms of regions and data centers:
AWS operates in 25 regions and 81 availability zones. It offers 218+ edge locations and 12 regional edge caches as well. You can utilize the edge location and edge caches in services like AWS Cloudfront and global accelerator, etc.
Azure has 66 regions worldwide and a minimum of three availability zones in each region. It also offers more than 116 edge locations.
Google has a presence in 27 regions and 82 availability zones. It also offers 146 edge locations.
Although all three cloud giants are continuously expanding. Both AWS and Azure offer data centers in China to specifically cater for Chinese consumers. At the same time, Azure seems to have broader coverage than its competitors.
Let’s look at the standard cloud services offered by these vendors.
Amazon’s primary compute offering is EC2 instances, which are very easy to operate. Amazon also provides a low-cost option called “Amazon lightsail” which is a perfect fit for those who are new to computing and have a limited budget. AWS charges for EC2 instances only when you are using them. Azure’s compute offering is also based on virtual machines. Google is no different and offers virtual machines in Google’s data centers. Here’s a brief comparison of compute offerings of all three vendors:
Azure virtual machine
Google compute engine
Google App Engine
Google Kubernetes engine
Google cloud functions
All three vendors offer various forms of storage, including object-based storage, cold storage, file-based storage, and block-based storage. Here’s a brief comparison of all three:
Google cloud storage
Archive Blob storage
Google cloud storage nearline
Azure file storage
Block level storage
Google compute engine persistent disks
All three vendors support managed services for databases. They also offer NoSQL as well as document-based databases. AWS also provides a proprietary RDBMS named “Aurora”, a highly scalable and fast database offering for both MySQL and PostGreSQL. Here’s a brief comparison of all three vendors:
Google Cloud SQL
NoSQL – key value
Big table, cloud datastore
NoSQL – indexed
Google cloud datastore
All three major cloud providers are competing with each other in the latest technologies. Some notable areas of competition include ML/AI, robotics, DevOps, IoT, VR/Gaming, etc. Here are some of the key specialties of all three vendors.
Being the first and only one in the cloud market has many benefits, and Amazon has certainly taken advantage of that. Amazon has advanced specifically in AI and machine learning related tools. AWS DeepLens is an AI-powered camera that you can use to develop and deploy machine learning algorithms. It helps you with OCR and image recognition. Similarly, Amazon has launched an open source library called “Gluon” which helps with deep learning and neural networks. You can use this library to learn how neural networks work, even if you lack any technical background. Another service that Amazon offers is SageMaker. You can use SageMaker to train and deploy your machine learning models. It contains the Lex conversational interface, which is the backbone of Alexa, Lambda, and Greengrass IoT messaging services.
Another unique (and recent) offering from AWS is IoT twinmaker. This service can create digital twins of real-world systems like factories, buildings, production lines, etc.
AWS is even providing a service for Quantum computing called AWS Braket.
Azure excels where you are already using some Microsoft products, especially on-premises Microsoft products. Organizations already using Microsoft products prefer to use Azure instead of other cloud vendors because Azure offers a better and more robust integration with Microsoft products.
Azure has excellent services related to ML/AI and cognitive services. Some notable services include Bing web search API, Face API, Computer vision API, text analytics API, etc.
Google is the current leader of all cloud providers regarding AI. This is because of their open-source Google library TensorFlow, the most popular library for developing machine learning applications. Vertex AI and BigQueryOmni are also beneficial services offered lately. Similarly, Google offers rich services for NLP, translation, speech, etc.
Let’s summarize the pros and cons for all three cloud vendors:
- An extensive list of services
- Huge market share
- Support for large businesses
- Global reach
- Pricing model – Many companies struggle to understand the cost structure. Although AWS has improved the UX of its cost-related reporting in the AWS console, many companies still hesitate to use AWS because of a perceived lack of cost transparency
- Excellent integration with Microsoft tools and software
- Broader feature set
- Support for open source
- Geared towards enterprise customers
- Strong integration with open source tools
- Flexible contracts
- Good DevOps services
- The most cost-efficient
- The preferred choice for startups
- Good ML/AI-based services
- A limited number of services as compared to AWS and Azure
- Limited support for enterprise use cases
Keen to learn which vendor’s cloud certification you should go for ? Here is a brief comparison of the top three cloud certifications and their related career prospects:
As mentioned earlier, AWS has the largest market share compared to other cloud vendors. That means more companies are using AWS, and there are more vacancies in the market for AWS-certified professionals. Here are main reasons why you would choose to learn AWS:
- Market leader in cloud
- AWS Certifications are highly sought after
- Extensive AWS training material is available
- Easier to learn when first starting out
- Good documentation of services
Azure is the second largest cloud service provider. It is ideal for companies that are already using Microsoft products. Here are the top reasons why you would choose to learn Azure:
- Ideal for experienced user of Microsoft services
- Azure certifications rank among the top paying IT certifications
- If you’re applying for a company that primarily uses Microsoft Services
Although Google is considered an underdog in the cloud market, it is slowly catching up. Here’s why you may choose to learn GCP.
- While there are fewer job postings, there is also less competition in the market
- GCP certifications rank among the top paying IT certifications
Most valuable IT Certifications
Keen to learn about the top paying cloud certifications and jobs? If you look at the annual salary figures below, you can see the average salary for different cloud vendors and IT companies, no wonder AWS is on top. A GCP cloud architect is also one of the top five. The Azure architect comes at #9.
Which cloud certification to choose depends mainly on your career goals and what type of organization you want to work for. No cloud certification path is better than the other. What matters most is getting started and making progress towards your career goals. Even if you decide at a later point in time to switch to a different cloud provider, you’ll still benefit from what you previously learned.
Over time, you may decide to get certified in all three – so you can provide solutions that vary from one cloud service provider to the next.
Don’t get stuck in analysis-paralysis! If in doubt, simply get started with AWS certifications that are the most sought-after in the market – especially if you are at the very beginning of your cloud journey. The good news is that you can become an AWS expert when enrolling in our value-packed training.
You may also be interested in the following articles:
- Entry level cloud computing jobs – Roles and Responsibilities
- AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud Certifications – Which Is Better?
- 10 Tips on How to Enter the Cloud Computing Industry
- Top-Paying Cloud Certifications and Jobs
- Are AWS Certifications worth it in 2022?
Ready to Take Your Tech Career to the Next Level?
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Note: Last updated May 10 2023