Google vs. AWS Cloud Comparison: Strengths, Key Workloads, Costs and More

By Simon Margolis | Director | Cloud Adoption

Firms today are no longer asking if they should embrace the cloud, but instead, they’re asking how. The early concerns arising circa 2010 regarding security, reliability and privacy of hosted data have been largely quieted by the vast improvement in cloud technology. Two heavyweights in the cloud platform market are obviously Amazon Web Services (AWS), which gained a huge advantage by being first to market, and the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The Google vs. AWS cloud comparison is a common topic among organizations looking to leverage the benefits of the cloud, so we’ve decided to explore the strengths, key workloads, costs and customer insights for both platforms below.

Google Cloud Platform GCP vs. AWS Cloud Comparison:

Removing Barriers to Cloud Computing

The term “cloud” no longer refers exclusively to cost savings or outsourced hosting. The new paradigm (Cloud 2.0) changes how things are done, but not where they are done, allowing the IT organization to act as a strategic enabler. Given the constant innovation happening surrounding the cloud, these new methods of building and deploying in the cloud will continue to overtake less progressive offerings.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Key Workloads

The key workloads that GCP excels are developer-centric applications, high compute workloads like data analytics, petabyte scale data processing, and burst computing, and its scalability which allows for building a full application without restriction at no cost. Due to Google’s global infrastructure, its scaling is the fastest on the market according to Gigaom.

GCP Value Propositions

When deployed correctly, applications can be 10-100x less expensive than on traditional infrastructure, as reported by SADA Systems in the Wall Street Journal. Additionally, technology developed at Google—like BigTable, BigQuery, Kubernetes, AppEngine and Hadoop—are currently defining cloud developments.
As Google has been innovating and refining cloud technology for over a decade, what the public is gaining access to now is simply the visible manifestation of that previous innovation. Additionally, entities like YouTube and required Google to build a strong worldwide physical presence, resulting in a significant advantage for GCP customers.

GCP Costs

The sheer scale of Google contributes to an unparalleled level of pricing flexibility. Google has also continuously stated that it will remain strictly adherent to Moore’s Law of Pricing, and as such, releasing regular price cuts when applicable. Due to AppEngine alone, the cost of running most web applications can be dramatically more cost efficient than with the competition.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Key Workloads

Amazon Web Services provides a centralized place to run applications as they existed in the past. It is also solid for SMB use for administrative tasks—it offers a shared drive, a central workstation for running accounting reports, and there’s a significant Windows presence in this space. It can also be relied upon for running a website (though not a web app), running Hadoop and similar applications, and for storage and backup.

AWS Value Propositions

AWS remains a popular option because it is familiar—it offers familiar processes in a data center or colocation, allows users to connect to systems using tools and protocols familiar to their enterprise, and it is comfortable for early cloud adopters to test. It also offers a significant cost savings over running comparable workloads on physical or wholly owned computing assets, while additionally being more cost-effective than some other public cloud vendors. AWS is also managed so users can sleep at night.

AWS Costs

With AWS, the cloud pricing strategy changes on a regular basis. It was first in the space and thus, essentially set the standard for “public cloud”. At present, most workloads cost more on AWS than on GCP.

GCP vs. AWS Differences in Purchasing

Cloud pricing is typically pay-as-you-go, which can pose challenges for traditional IT budgets. GCP and AWS offer differences in purchasing, however. GCP offers a “sustained use discount” wherein at the end of each month, greater VM usage results in a greater percent discount being applied. A pricing calculator is used to estimate costs, and there is not pre-commitment required.
AWS offers Reserved Instances (RI), which allows users to pre-commit to a year or more of usage for a lower fixed cost.

Strengths and Expectations: AWS & GCP


  • Large user base and ability to collect metrics on usage and create better services
  • Expect to see developments in terms of additional scale
  • Pricing changes will have to take place to keep up with the market both in terms of unit cost as well as pricing models (RIs vs. sustained use discounts)


  • Strong developer focus and attracting new devs via outreach campaigns
  • Expect to see significant improvements in regards to developer flexibility, administrative controls, and data protection/privacy
  • Continuing to expose technology used internally at Google to the public such as Machine Learning
  • The public is currently 3-4 years behind technology being used at Google

Key Takeaways

GCP is focusing on key strengths: high compute, containerization (developer focus), a NoOps environment and extremely low pricing. AWS is growing its capacity to maintain market position or it has to have a real concern that it could lose position to more specialized vendors. It will continue to retain its customers due to its existing reach as long as it can keep up with innovation in the market.

If you’re interested in learning more about how the Google Cloud Platform might impact your business, sign up for a free Google Cloud Platform Assessment below.

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We spoke to dozens of customers who shared their experiences with both cloud providers. The overwhelming trends tell a big story. Download the eBook to learn more.

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