Azure vs. AWS vs. Google Cloud: What’s Best for Your Business?

By Corey Shields | July 17, 2023
Corey is the Digital Marketing Manager at Ntiva, and brings with him over a decade of working in the information technology and services industry.

The perks of cloud computing and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) are crystal clear: it offers incredible flexibility, seamless connection for remote teams, and the ability to pay only for what you actually use.

However, the biggest challenge faced by companies is deciding which platform to integrate into their existing networks. Even if you've done your research on the top three cloud platforms (Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform), you might still be uncertain about which one is the perfect fit for your business needs.

So, if you need help deciphering all your options, we’re here to help. We’ve broken down the features, pros and cons of Azure, AWS and Google Cloud. These three platforms have the same core functionality, but they’re each suited for different business challenges and needs. Read on to learn more:

Table of Contents:

The Key Differences 

Microsoft Azure

AWS (Amazon Web Services)

Google Cloud

Managing The Cloud

Azure vs AWS QUOTE


What Are The Key Differences To Look For With AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud?

When it comes to cloud services, AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud may seem similar at first glance. However, there are some significant differences between them. So, if you're on the hunt for the perfect platform for your business needs, here's a quick overview of a few key points to consider:

Market Dominance:

AWS is crushing it in the cloud market. They've been around the longest and have a major chunk of the market share. Azure is holding strong as the second-largest provider and has become a favorite among enterprises. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is the underdog, but they're hustling to catch up.

Service Offerings:

All three platforms offer a smorgasbord of cloud services, from computing power (virtual machines) to storage, databases, networking, machine learning, analytics, and even serverless computing. However, each provider puts their own spin on these services, so you might find some differences.

Hybrid Cloud Support:

Azure is all about that hybrid cloud life. They're all about making your on-premises infrastructure and the Azure cloud live happily ever after. AWS and Google Cloud also dabble in hybrid scenarios, but Azure takes the cake with their tools and services.

Integration with Existing Infrastructure:

If you're already rocking Microsoft software like Windows Server or SQL Server, Azure is your best buddy. AWS has a boatload of integrations and partners, while Google Cloud plays nice with popular development tools and is all about the data analytics game.

Global Infrastructure:

AWS has the world covered with their expansive global infrastructure. They've got data centers scattered across multiple regions, giving them a leg up. Azure also has a global presence, but they might have fewer regions in certain areas. Google Cloud is racing to expand their data centers, but for now, they have fewer regions compared to AWS and Azure.

Pricing Models:

Brace yourself for some pricing jargon. The pricing structures for these platforms can get a bit tricky. It all depends on factors like compute usage, storage, data transfer, and the specific services you use. We highly recommend diving into the pricing details and calculators provided by each provider to get an accurate estimate for your unique needs.

Developer Tools and Ecosystem:

These cloud providers come equipped with a toolbox for developers. They offer development tools, SDKs, and APIs to make building and deploying applications a breeze. AWS has a killer ecosystem and a wide range of services. Azure plays well with Microsoft development tools like Visual Studio. And Google Cloud is all about open-source tools and cozying up with popular frameworks.

_Related Reading cloud providers (2)


Microsoft Azure: The Deep Dive!

You should choose Azure if:

  • You already use Microsoft 365
  • You’ve made security a top priority for your company
  • You’re a small-medium business trying to move to a cloud/hybrid setup with Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Azure Active Directory and Windows Virtual Desktop

MSF Azure (1)

Microsoft Azure combines IaaS and PaaS, so businesses don’t have to seek out two platforms, making it a popular option for companies searching for a cloud to deeply integrate their services. In addition, Azure has applications for AI and machine learning, DevOps, Integrations and more.

At least 90% of Fortune 500 companies around the world use Azure, but should you? In our experience leveraging Azure for our clients (especially in govcon), here are our observations:

Why Azure Might Be Right for Your Business

Businesses currently growing and wanting to scale their cloud platform as they grow without extra work should invest in Azure. Azure assists with creating apps that can continue to run perfectly with five or 5 million users. On top of that, businesses that anticipate using a hybrid cloud model should opt for Azure.

Out of the big three, Azure offers the best hybrid capabilities and can connect your on-premises database and public cloud efficiently and consistently.

Here's why Azure might just be the perfect fit for your business, outshining both Google Cloud and AWS:

  1. Seamless Integration with Microsoft Stack: If your business is already deeply rooted in Microsoft technologies like Windows Server, SQL Server, Active Directory, or SharePoint, Azure seamlessly integrates with these systems. This means you can migrate your existing applications and infrastructure to the cloud without any major disruptions to your current technology stack.
  2. Hybrid Cloud Capabilities: Azure boasts robust support for hybrid cloud deployments, enabling you to effortlessly connect your on-premises infrastructure to the Azure cloud. Azure Stack ensures consistent development and deployment models across on-premises, edge locations, and the Azure public cloud. This makes it an ideal choice for businesses that require a hybrid cloud strategy or need to comply with specific regulations.
  3. Enterprise Focus and Trust: Azure has become a popular choice among enterprises, thanks to its strong security and compliance features. With a wide range of certifications, including ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, and more, Azure provides advanced security capabilities like Azure Active Directory, Azure Security Center, and Azure Sentinel to safeguard your data and applications.
  4. Developer-Friendly Environment: Azure offers a comprehensive suite of tools, SDKs, and services to support application development. It seamlessly integrates with popular development tools like Visual Studio and provides a vast array of programming languages, frameworks, and services for effective application building and deployment. Moreover, Azure strongly supports open-source technologies, making it a magnet for developers who love open-source ecosystems.
  5. AI and Machine Learning Capabilities: Azure provides a powerful set of AI and machine learning services, including Azure Machine Learning, Cognitive Services, and Azure Databricks. These services empower businesses to leverage AI technologies, extract insights, automate processes, and develop intelligent applications with ease.
  6. Global Reach and Scalability: Azure boasts a global footprint, with data centers spread across multiple regions worldwide. This allows businesses to deploy their applications closer to their users, minimizing latency and enhancing overall performance. Azure's scalability options, such as Azure Virtual Machines, App Service, and Azure Functions, provide the flexibility to adapt to evolving business needs.

Why Azure Might Be Wrong for Your Business

For all of its advantages, Azure isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Let's be real and talk about why Azure might not be the perfect match when compared to its competitors like Google Cloud or AWS:

Not So Open-Source Friendly: Azure's focus on Microsoft technologies may not be the best fit for businesses deeply rooted in open-source ecosystems. Unlike Azure, Google Cloud and AWS have a strong reputation for supporting open-source tools, frameworks, and languages. So, if you heavily rely on open-source solutions, Azure's ecosystem might not offer the same level of flexibility and compatibility.

Limited Global Reach: Yes, we mentioned before thatAzure's network of data centers is extensive, but it might have fewer regions and availability zones compared to AWS and Google Cloud. This could be a bummer if your business needs a wide geographic reach or specific regional presence. AWS and Google Cloud have a broader global infrastructure, which is more suitable for organizations with distributed operations.

Pricing Maze: Let's face it, Azure's pricing model can be a bit complex and challenging to navigate. While all cloud providers have their pricing structures, Azure's pricing documentation and calculators might not be as straightforward as those provided by AWS or Google Cloud. So, it's crucial to carefully assess your business's usage patterns and projected costs to ensure cost-effective operations on the platform.

Playing Catch-up: Azure may be the second-largest cloud provider, but it still trails behind AWS in terms of market dominance. This could affect community support, third-party integrations, and the availability of specialized expertise. AWS and Google Cloud generally have a larger user base, a wider range of partners, and a more mature ecosystem.

AI and Machine Learning: Now, let's talk about AI and machine learning. While Azure does provide services in this area, AWS and Google Cloud take the cake with a stronger focus and more mature offerings. So, if your business heavily relies on AI and ML technologies, the broader range of tools and services from AWS and Google Cloud may offer more advanced capabilities and flexibility.

The other main complaint from Azure users is random outages that leave businesses without access to their servers. Depending on the pace of your business needs, this may be a deal-breaker.


Amazon Web Services: The Pros & Cons...

You should choose AWS if:

You want a system that caters to developers
  • You’re a startup or smaller company
  • You need to create solutions quickly and cost-effectively
  • You want an innovative and cutting-edge platform

AWS Cloud (1)

Established in 2002, Amazon Web Services is the oldest provider on the cloud market. AWS gained recognition as the most user-friendly platform in 2018 and ranked the highest in its completeness and ability to execute vision against its competitors.

AWS is mobile-friendly and allows you to develop and optimize mobile apps. AWS provides managed services for your infrastructure, opening the door for you to focus on other business tasks. Additionally, integration with other database services such as Oracle, MySQL, and DynamoDB is effortless with AWS.

Why AWS Might Be Right for Your Business

AWS (Amazon Web Services) might be the right choice for your business over Azure or Google Cloud for several compelling reasons. Here's why AWS stands out:

Top Leader in the Industry: AWS reigns supreme as the market leader in cloud computing, leaving competitors in its dust. With a proven track record and a massive customer base, AWS exudes confidence in its reliability, scalability, and security. Its unparalleled array of services covers every possible business need, making it the go-to choice for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Unparalleled Service Offerings: AWS is like a treasure trove of cloud services, offering an extensive range that covers everything from compute and storage to databases, networking, machine learning, analytics, and more. And the best part? AWS is constantly coming up with new and innovative services, ensuring that businesses can always stay on the cutting edge. Plus, with its robust partner ecosystem, AWS provides specialized services and solutions for various industries, making it a one-stop shop for all your cloud needs.
Global Infrastructure: AWS has a truly global infrastructure with data centers located in numerous regions worldwide. This widespread network ensures low latency and high availability, enabling businesses to serve their customers across the globe seamlessly. AWS also offers advanced networking capabilities and content delivery services for improved performance.
Scalability and Flexibility: AWS's amazing ability to scale and adapt is a game-changer for businesses with ever-changing workloads. Thanks to services like Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling and AWS Lambda, you can effortlessly adjust your resources based on demand, ensuring top-notch performance and cost-effectiveness. Moreover, AWS offers a wide range of deployment options, from serverless computing to containers and virtual machines, catering to various application architectures with ease.
Developer-Friendly Environment: AWS offers an impressive arsenal of development tools, SDKs, and APIs, making it a magnet for developers. It seamlessly integrates with popular development environments like AWS CLI, AWS SDKs, and AWS CloudFormation, allowing for smooth sailing in application development and deployment. Moreover, AWS boasts a massive user community, extensive documentation, and a plethora of learning resources, making it a breeze to adopt and master its services.
Rock-Solid Security and Compliance: AWS takes security and compliance seriously, offering a plethora of top-notch security services, encryption options, and compliance certifications. It rolls out the red carpet with features like Identity and Access Management (IAM), DDoS protection, network firewalls, and monitoring tools that act as your trusty bodyguards, shielding your applications and data from any harm. AWS doesn't cut corners when it comes to meeting industry standards and regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS, ensuring the utmost security and privacy for your business operations. Rest easy knowing that your data is in good hands with AWS!

Why AWS Might Be Wrong for Your Business

Here are some reasons why AWS might not be the right choice for your company's needs:

Beware of Complexity: Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room - AWS's extensive range of services. While this is undoubtedly impressive, it can be a bit overwhelming for businesses with limited cloud experience. Navigating through AWS's comprehensive offerings may require some extra time and effort to truly grasp and utilize the platform effectively. In comparison, Google Cloud and Azure offer more user-friendly interfaces that are easier to get the hang of. So, if simplicity is a top priority for your business, you may want to consider alternative options.

Pricing: Brace yourself for the complexity of AWS pricing. With its multitude of services and pricing models, accurately estimating costs becomes a challenging task. Without diligent monitoring and optimization, businesses may find themselves facing unexpected expenses. In contrast, Google Cloud and Azure offer more transparent pricing models and user-friendly calculators, making budgeting a breeze.

Lack of Native Integration: If your business primarily uses Microsoft technologies or relies on a Microsoft-centric stack, AWS may present challenges in terms of integration. Azure, on the other hand, seamlessly integrates with Microsoft software and provides enhanced interoperability. Google Cloud offers various integrations and has a strong focus on open-source tools and frameworks.

Limited AI and Machine Learning Focus: While AWS provides AI and machine learning services, Google Cloud and Azure have stronger and more mature offerings in this area. Google Cloud's TensorFlow and Azure's Cognitive Services and Machine Learning capabilities are renowned for their robustness and ease of use. If your business heavily relies on AI and ML technologies, AWS might not offer the same level of sophistication.

Competitive Market: AWS faces significant competition from both Google Cloud and Azure. This dynamic market competition can lead to frequent updates, changes in pricing, and evolving service offerings. Businesses may need to adapt and stay up-to-date with these changes, which can be time-consuming and disruptive.

  Hybrid cloud setups can be a bit tricky with AWS: Some customers have mentioned that integrating AWS with their on-premises platform may involve a few extra steps and processes. While AWS does offer specific services for hybrid cloud-based platforms, some users suggest exploring alternative options for a smoother experience overall.

The Upsides & Downsides Of Google Cloud Platform

You should choose Google Cloud if:

  • You want an open-source platform
  • You want the ability to integrate with AI
  • You want to use machine learning technologies
  • You want a platform geared toward the education sector
  • You have data-driven customers
  • You’re a startup or an individual

Google Cloud (1)

Google Cloud Platform was created to provide businesses the opportunity to build and publish applications easily. This solution has steadily gained traction over the last few years and is an excellent option for companies that already utilize Google services. Google’s public cloud technology fully integrates with your Workspace to give you a seamless business experience.

Google Cloud provides insights with add-ons such as Bigtable, Dremel and MapReduce, making it easier for you to process and analyze large amounts of data.

Why Google Cloud Platform Might Be Right for Your Business

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers several advantages that might make it the right choice for your business over Azure or AWS. Here's why GCP stands out:

Cutting-Edge Technology and Innovation: Google, being the cool kid on the block when it comes to scalable and high-performance systems, brings its technological prowess to GCP. It takes advantage of Google's global network infrastructure and data centers, giving businesses the chance to ride the wave of Google's experience in handling massive data volumes and processing workloads at scale. GCP is always one step ahead, introducing hip and happening services like BigQuery for data analytics, TensorFlow for machine learning, and Anthos for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.

Data Analytics and AI: GCP is all about unleashing the power of data and AI. It offers a stellar lineup of services like BigQuery, Dataflow, and Pub/Sub for lightning-fast data processing and analysis. With Google's AI expertise shining through in services like AutoML, AI Platform, and AI Hub, businesses can effortlessly develop and deploy machine learning models. GCP's seamless integration with Google's AI technologies, including TensorFlow and Google Cloud ML Engine, gives organizations an upper hand in the world of AI-driven applications.

Openness and Interoperability: Google Cloud has a strong commitment to open-source technologies and interoperability. It supports a wide range of programming languages, frameworks, and tools, making it developer-friendly and enabling seamless integration with existing systems. GCP's Kubernetes Engine, built on the open-source Kubernetes platform, offers a consistent and scalable way to manage containerized applications across on-premises and cloud environments.

Global Network Infrastructure: With Google's extensive network infrastructure, businesses can enjoy lightning-fast and rock-solid connectivity no matter where their users are. GCP's global network backbone brings applications closer to the action, resulting in turbocharged performance and ultra-low latency. And let's not forget Google Cloud's CDN (Content Delivery Network) that ensures efficient content distribution across the entire planet. Your users will be amazed at how quickly they can access your awesome applications and content!

Affordability and Competitive Pricing: GCP offers competitive pricing and transparent billing models, making it cost-effective for businesses. It provides sustained use discounts, committed use contracts, and preemptible VMs, allowing businesses to optimize costs based on their usage patterns. Additionally, GCP offers Cost Explorer and Pricing Calculator tools, providing visibility into projected expenses and helping businesses plan their budget effectively.

Data Security and Compliance: Google Cloud takes data security and compliance very seriously. It has a robust arsenal of security measures, including encryption at rest and in transit, identity and access management, and cutting-edge threat detection. With GCP, you can rest assured that your data is protected and meets all the necessary industry standards and regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and ISO 27001. 

Ntiva Helps Financial Firm Succeed with Hosted Cloud 

Why Google Cloud Platform Might Be Wrong for Your Business

But wait, before you jump on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) bandwagon, let's consider a few reasons why GCP might not be the best fit for your business when compared to AWS or Azure. Here's the scoop:

Market Share Matters: GCP may not be the biggest cloud provider, trailing behind AWS and Azure, but it's steadily gaining ground. While AWS and Azure have a larger market share and customer base, their dominance also means a wider range of community support, expertise, and third-party integrations. Opting for a platform like GCP, which is less dominant, might limit access to specialized services or industry-specific solutions.

Hybrid Cloud Support: Might Not Be GCP's Strongest Suit: Unlike Azure, which excels in seamless integration between on-premises infrastructure and the cloud, GCP may not provide the same level of flexibility and integration if your business requires a hybrid cloud strategy or needs to maintain certain workloads on-premises.

Relatively Smaller Global Infrastructure: While GCP has been expanding its global infrastructure, it may have fewer regions and data centers compared to AWS and Azure. This could be a concern if your business requires a wide geographic reach or specific regional presence. AWS and Azure have more extensive global footprints, allowing businesses to deploy applications closer to their users, reducing latency and improving performance.

Limited Service Offerings: While GCP does provide a decent range of cloud services, it's important to note that AWS and Azure have much broader portfolios. AWS, in particular, offers a vast selection of services, including specialized offerings tailored to specific industries or use cases. So, if your business requires a specific service or has unique requirements that are better addressed by AWS or Azure, you may find GCP's service offerings to be somewhat limited.

Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft. If your business is all about Microsoft technologies and you've got a Microsoft-centric stack going on, then GCP might not be the smoothest choice for you. Azure, on the other hand, offers top-notch integration with Microsoft software, allowing businesses to make the most of their existing investments and expertise. GCP's integration with Microsoft tools and technologies might not be as extensive. But hey, there's always an alternative

Other Cloud Platforms

If you’re not quite ready to migrate to a major cloud platform because of your current budget or scale, there are a few alternatives to consider. Oracle, Alibaba Cloud, IBM, and Tencent Cloud are all smaller-scale options for your company’s initial cloud conversion.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), for example, is a major contender for companies with on-premises systems who want to move servers to the cloud and set up a remote workspace for workers to access from anywhere securely. Even though OCI isn’t one of the big three, it is one of the most frequently used platforms by Ntiva’s customers. Small companies to booming enterprises take advantage of OCI’s system.


Managing Cloud Migration with Ntiva

Our cloud specialists are ready to help you integrate your cloud platform of choice into your current system. For more information, reach out anytime to set up a consultation.

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Tags: Cloud IT