Information technology (IT) includes storage, retrieval, transmission and finally processing of data. The IT industry is on its way to become a 5 trillion dollar market space as per the latest trends. With this tremendous increase in the IT sector, the data storage and processing needs are going upwards. All thanks to Cloud Computing, the small and the large companies need not worry about expanding their business hardware requirement. Organizations can use various cloud platforms which provide large data centres to address their storage and processing needs. Cloud computing allows companies to minimize up-front IT infrastructure costs.
Using an existing cloud platform takes away the hassle of setting up and maintaining the servers, saving time and space. Cloud computing features use of high-capacity networks, low-cost but high-end computers, hardware virtualization making it an important addition to today’s IT scenario. It allows a user to run applications online or remotely instead of physically requiring the hardware system. Use of cloud grants you access to the cloud resources including storage and processing infrastructure from anywhere in the world and provides redundancy to the user.
Since now we have an idea about the need for cloud computing, let’s look at the leading cloud platforms available for use. Amazon’s subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS) leads with 34% of all the cloud including IaaS, PaaS. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing which makes virtualization possible. In IaaS infrastructure components present in the data centres are hosted to the user using the host servers. IaaS services include security, detailed billing, storage resiliency etc. Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides a platform allowing users to develop, run and manage applications. PaaS services include source code control, reasoning, testing etc. Amazon is not the only big runner in the cloud race; Microsoft, Google and IBM follow with 11%, 8% and 6% of the cloud space, respectively. Typically, if we think of a competitor who has the mettle to challenge AWS is the tech giant Google. It will be interesting to know who will come out on top if we compare these two major platforms. We carry out the comparison by breaking it into different categories to have a detailed evaluation of the two platforms.
Amazon Web Services provide a large range of products and services. If we are to judge the comparison on this basis AWS will grab the top spot. With services ranging from Analytics, Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Machine Learning, Internet of Things and many more Amazon Web Services is a complete package with highly broad services and endless possibilities for the users to explore. Amazon Sumerian, an AWS service, provides a set of tools for creating high-quality virtual reality (VR) experiences on the web. Sumerian allows the user to construct an interactive 3D scene with no prior programming knowledge and experience, test it in the browser, and publish it as a website that is immediately available to users. Sumerian aims at easy creation of all the building blocks needed to build highly immersive and interactive 3D experiences including adding objects (e.g. characters, furniture, and landscape), and designing, animating, and scripting environments. This is just one example of how productive one can be with AWS without having the extensive knowledge about the technology. From this perspective no vendor can stand its ground against AWS in terms of productivity level one can achieve using AWS.
On the other side, Google Cloud Platform provides a smaller list of services and products as compared to AWS and focuses mainly on IaaS and PaaS infrastructures. Although Google Cloud Platform falls short on the number of services, GCP provides all the basic cloud services catering to a user’s common needs. GCP does not brag about its list of services but it is worthy to note that GCP is strong in Big Data. Google possesses world’s largest Big Data collection from Google Chrome. BigQuery helps to get a columnar and ANSI SQL database that can analyse petabytes of data in seconds.
This category highlights the differences between the Google Compute Engine and AWS EC2. Both provide various pre-defined compute instances with CPU, GPU and memory requirements. AWS EC2 provides general-purpose GPU compute instances with up to 8 NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs along with up to 1 petaFLOPS of mixed-precision, 125 teraFLOPS of single-precision and 62 teraFLOPS of double-precision floating point performance. A 300 GB/s second generation NVLink interconnect permits GPU-to-GPU communication at low latency and high speed. The instances also feature up to 96 vCPUs based on custom Intel processors, 768 GB of DRAM, and 100 Gbps of dedicated aggregate network bandwidth using the Elastic Network Adapter (ENA).
Google Compute Engine provides pre-defined VM configurations for every need with up to 160 vCPUs and 3.75 TB of memory. GCE offers configurable VMs for an optimal price and performance. AWS EC2 supports Amazon Linux, Windows Server 2012, CentOS 6.5, Debian 7.4 whereas GCE provides a big list of operating systems including Debian, CentOS, CoreOS, SUSE, Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, FreeBSD, or Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 R2, and 2016 a user can choose from.
If we look at the pricing scenarios for AWS and GCP, they are carried out differently. AWS bills its users depending on the instances they use for example On-Demand, Spot instances, Reserved instances, Dedicated Hosts. On-Demand instances lets a customer pay for compute capacity by the hour or second (minimum of 60 seconds) with no long-term commitments. This frees a user from the costs and complexities of purchasing, planning, and maintaining hardware and transforms large fixed costs into much smaller variable costs. Standard Reserved Instances provide a user with a significant discount (up to 75%) compared to On-Demand instance pricing, and can be purchased for a 1-year or 3-year term. Users have the flexibility to change the instance type, Availability Zone, and networking type of their Standard Reserved Instances.
AWS launched Per Second Billing in 2017 wherein AWS does not bill a user for the minutes and seconds he does not use the instances. EC2 is billed on one second increments with a minimum of 60 seconds. This billing scheme is available for On-Demand, Reserved and Spot forms.
Google has its own pricing schemes such as Preemptible VM instances, Committed Use Discounts. GCP’s Committed Use Discounts is similar to AWS’ Reserved instances. GCE offers a user the ability to purchase committed use contracts in return for deeply discounted prices for VM usage. These discounts are committed use discounts. For stable and predictable workloads, a user can purchase a specific amount of vCPUs and memory for a discount off of normal prices in return for committing to a usage term of 1 year or 3 years. The discount offered is up to 57% for most machine types or custom machine types and up to 70% for memory-optimized machine types.
According to Google, their pricing scheme ensures that the users get a bang for their buck and still be pocket-friendly. This earns Google a thumbs up from a large number of customers.
When it comes to storing data, professionals want their data to be highly secure. Over the years professionals have become more comfortable with Cloud for storage of data than their earlier legacy systems.
AWS Cloud Security
AWS provides several security capabilities and services to increase privacy and control network access. These include:
Network firewalls built into Amazon VPC, and web application firewall capabilities in AWS WAF let you create private networks, and control access to your instances and applications.
Encryption in transit with TLS across all services
Connectivity options that enable private, or dedicated, connections from your office or on-premises environment.
A combination of AWS services may be used to implement a defense in depth strategy and thwart DDoS attacks. Services designed with an automatic response to DDoS help minimize time to mitigate and reduce impact.
Data encryption capabilities available in AWS storage and database services, such as EBS, S3, Glacier, Oracle RDS, SQL Server RDS, and Redshift.
Dedicated, hardware-based cryptographic key storage using AWS CloudHSM, allowing you to satisfy compliance requirements.
Alert notifications through Amazon CloudWatch when specific events occur or thresholds are exceeded.
Google Cloud Security
Google employs more than 500 full-time security professionals to ensure that the customer data is safe and sound on the cloud. Some of the features of Google Cloud Platform include:
All data is encrypted in transit between Google, the customers, and data centres by default; as well as the data in all of the Cloud Platform services. The data stored on persistent disks is encrypted under 256-bit AES and each encryption key is also encrypted with a set of regularly changed master keys.
Commitment to enterprise security certifications with regular audits for SSAE16, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, PCI, and HIPAA compliance.
Google Cloud Identity and Access Management was launched to provide predefined roles that give granular access to specific Google Cloud Platform resources and prevent unwanted access to other resources.