AWS vs. GCP: A Comprehensive Comparison for Developers

Sep 29, 2023

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing resources such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, and analytics over the internet, offering users the ability to access and utilize these resources on-demand, from anywhere in the world.

Computing Services Comparison:

Computing services are a fundamental component of cloud computing and are often categorized into different service models, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), Function as a Service (FaaS), Container as a Service (CaaS).

1. Function as a Service (FaaS):

  • AWS (AWS Lambda): AWS Lambda is a service that runs your code without you needing to manage any servers, making it easy to build and run applications.
  • GCP (Google Cloud Functions): Google Cloud Functions is GCP’s FaaS service for running individual functions in response to events.
Aspect AWS Lambda Google Cloud Functions
Supported Languages Multiple (Node.js, Python, Ruby, Java, Go, .NET, Custom Runtimes) Node.js, Python, Go, Custom Runtimes
Event Sources AWS Services (S3, SNS, DynamoDB, Custom Events) GCP Services (Cloud Storage, Pub/Sub, HTTP)
Scaling Automatic Automatic
Pricing Request Count, Duration Invocation Count, Duration, Memory Usage
Deployment ZIP Files, Container Images Local Environment, Command-Line, Cloud
Integration AWS Ecosystem Integration GCP Ecosystem Integration
Custom Runtimes Supported Supported

Where can we use this serverless service?

Data Processing: To process data generated by web applications. For example, it can process user-uploaded files, extract information from logs, or transform and store data in databases.
Real-Time Notifications: To send real-time notifications to web clients using technologies like WebSocket or Pusher. This is useful for chat applications, live updates, and notifications.
Image and Video Processing:To process and optimize images and videos uploaded by users. It can create thumbnails, resize images, or transcode videos to different formats for efficient delivery.
A/B Testing: To manage and control A/B testing, serving different versions of the application to different user segments.
Chatbots and Conversational Interfaces: Can be part of chatbot implementations, processing user input and generating responses for chat-based applications.

2. Container as a Service (CaaS):

Containerized services in the cloud refer to deploying applications within lightweight, portable containers, encapsulating all dependencies, and then running these containers on cloud infrastructure. This approach enhances application portability, scalability, and resource efficiency, streamlining development and deployment processes.

  • AWS (Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS): AWS offers Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) for Docker container orchestration and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) for managed Kubernetes clusters. Docker container orchestration is the automated management of multiple Docker containers in a distributed environment.
  • GCP (Google Kubernetes Engine – GKE): Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is a managed Kubernetes service that provides a highly available and scalable platform for containerized applications.
Container Orchestration Kubernetes Proprietary Kubernetes Kubernetes
Managed Service Yes Yes Yes Yes
Worker Node Management Managed by User Managed by User Managed by GCP Fully Managed by GCP
Node Pools Yes No Yes Automatic
Automatic Scaling Yes Yes Yes Yes
High Availability Multi-AZ Multi-AZ Regional Clusters Regional Clusters
Integration with Cloud Services Yes Yes Yes Yes
Integration with Container Registry Amazon ECR Amazon ECR Google Container Google Container
Networking VPC Networking Custom Networking VPC Networking Custom Networking
Pricing Model Pay for Resources Pay for Resources Pay for Resources Pay for Resources
Auto Upgrades Yes Yes Yes Yes
Helm Support Yes Limited Yes Yes
Node Auto-Repair Yes No Yes Yes
Custom Node Types Yes No Yes No
Horizontal Pod Autoscaling Yes Yes Yes Yes
Self-Healing (Auto-replacement) Yes No Yes Yes
Reserved Capacity Savings Plans No Committed Use Discounts No
Monitoring and Logging CloudWatch CloudWatch Logs Stackdriver Monitoring Stackdriver Logging
Serverless Options AWS Fargate (ECS) AWS Fargate (ECS) Cloud Run on GKE Cloud Run on GKE

Where can we use this containerized service?

Development Environment: Developers can create consistent development environments by containerizing their web applications and services. This ensures that the development environment matches the production environment, reducing the “it works on my machine” problem. 😀

CI/CD Pipelines: Containers are a natural fit for continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. Developers can use container images to build, test, and deploy applications automatically, ensuring rapid and reliable releases.
Scaling and Load Balancing: Container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes and Docker Swarm allow developers to easily scale web applications up or down based on traffic.
Local Development: Developers can run containerized applications on their local machines using tools like Docker Desktop.
Application Updates: Developers can deploy new versions of their applications without downtime or risk, ensuring a seamless user experience. Would you like to know how? If so, please click here.

3. Platform as a Service (PaaS):

AWS (AWS Elastic Beanstalk): Elastic Beanstalk is a PaaS offering that simplifies the deployment of web applications. It supports multiple programming languages and frameworks.
GCP (Google App Engine): Google App Engine is a fully managed platform for building and deploying applications without managing infrastructure. It offers automatic scaling and supports several programming languages.

Feature AWS Elastic Beanstalk Google App Engine
Supported Languages Multiple Multiple
Container Support Yes (Docker) Yes (Docker)
Automatic Scaling Yes Yes
Load Balancing Built-in Built-in
Database Integration Yes (RDS, DynamoDB, etc.) Yes (Cloud SQL, Firestore, etc.)
Deployment Methods Web Console, CLI, SDK Web Console, CLI, SDK
Customization Moderate Limited
Environment Configuration Flexible Opinionated
Monitoring & Logging AWS CloudWatch Stackdriver
Networking Features VPC Integration VPC Peering
Pricing Model Pay-as-you-go Pay-as-you-go
Integration with Cloud Services Wide range of AWS services Integration with GCP services
Scalability Horizontal (autoscaling) Horizontal (autoscaling)
Lock-in AWS-specific GCP-specific
Developer Tools AWS CodeDeploy, AWS CodePipeline Google Cloud SDK, Cloud Build

Where can we use this platform service?

AWS Elastic Beanstalk (AWS):

  1. Web Application Hosting: AWS Elastic Beanstalk simplifies web application deployment, allowing developers to host web apps built with various programming languages and frameworks.
  2. Microservices: Developers can use Elastic Beanstalk to deploy and manage individual microservices within a larger application architecture.
  3. API Backend: It can be used to host the backend services of RESTful APIs or GraphQL APIs, making it easier to develop and scale API-driven applications.
  4. Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): Developers can set up CI/CD pipelines to automatically deploy code changes to Elastic Beanstalk environments, ensuring rapid development cycles.
  5. Scalable Applications: Elastic Beanstalk provides auto-scaling capabilities, making it suitable for applications with variable traffic loads.
  6. Testing and Staging Environments: Developers can create separate Elastic Beanstalk environments for testing and staging to validate code changes before production deployment.
  7. Containerized Applications: Elastic Beanstalk supports Docker containers, allowing developers to containerize their applications and manage them effortlessly.

Google App Engine (GCP):

  1. Web and Mobile App Development: Google App Engine is designed for building web and mobile applications. Developers can choose from various supported programming languages and frameworks.
  2. Serverless Functions: GCP App Engine supports serverless functions, enabling developers to run code in response to HTTP requests or background events.
  3. API Endpoints: Developers can create and host API endpoints for applications, making it easy to expose functionality to clients.
  4. Data-Driven Apps: App Engine integrates well with GCP’s data services, such as Cloud SQL and Firestore, making it suitable for data-driven applications.
  5. AI and Machine Learning: GCP App Engine can be used to deploy and serve machine learning models built with Google’s AI and ML services like TensorFlow.
  6. Real-time Applications: For applications requiring real-time updates, developers can use App Engine with WebSocket support.
  7. IoT (Internet of Things): App Engine can handle data processing and analysis for IoT applications that collect and process sensor data.
  8. Geospatial Applications: GCP’s geospatial data and mapping services can be integrated with App Engine for location-based applications.
  9. Content Management Systems: Developers can build content management systems and digital experience platforms on App Engine for content delivery and management.

4. Autoscaling and Load Balancing:

AWS: AWS Auto Scaling and Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) allow you to automatically adjust the capacity of resources based on demand.
GCP: Google Cloud provides features like instance groups and HTTP(S) Load Balancing for autoscaling and distributing traffic.

AWS Load Balancing:

  1. Elastic Load Balancing (ELB):
    AWS offers several types of load balancers under the Elastic Load Balancing service:

    • Application Load Balancer (ALB): ALB operates at the application layer (Layer 7) of the OSI model. It is designed for routing HTTP/HTTPS traffic and provides advanced features like content-based routing, path-based routing, and host-based routing. ALB is commonly used for web applications and microservices.
    • Network Load Balancer (NLB): NLB operates at the transport layer (Layer 4) and is ideal for handling TCP/UDP traffic. It is highly scalable and suited for scenarios that require ultra-high availability and low-latency connections, such as gaming or IoT.
    • Classic Load Balancer (CLB): CLB is the original load balancer in AWS. It can balance both HTTP/HTTPS and TCP/UDP traffic. CLB is considered the legacy load balancer, and AWS recommends using ALB or NLB for new deployments.
  2. Features and Capabilities:

    • Elastic Load Balancers provide features like SSL termination, connection draining, health checks, and automatic scaling.
    • AWS Global Accelerator is a service that routes traffic over the AWS global network to application endpoints, offering static IP addresses, traffic distribution, and automatic failover between AWS regions.

GCP Load Balancing:

  1. Google Cloud Load Balancing:
    Google Cloud offers a unified load balancing service that includes various types of load balancers:

    • HTTP(S) Load Balancing: This is a global, fully-distributed load balancer designed to handle HTTP and HTTPS traffic. It provides content-based routing, SSL termination, and global distribution, making it suitable for web applications.
    • Network Load Balancing: GCP’s Network Load Balancing is similar to AWS’s NLB. It operates at Layer 4 and distributes TCP/UDP traffic globally, ensuring high availability and low latency.
    • Internal Load Balancing: This service is used to balance internal (private) traffic within a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) network. It’s suitable for microservices architectures.
  2. Features and Capabilities:

    • Google Cloud Load Balancing provides global anycast IP addresses for HTTP(S) and TCP/UDP traffic, allowing for global distribution.
    • It offers content-based routing, SSL proxying, health checks, and connection draining.
    • Google Cloud provides integrated monitoring and logging for load balancers, making it easier to troubleshoot and optimize traffic.
Feature AWS Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
Auto Scaling Services    
Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling Yes No (Managed Instance Groups)
Application Auto Scaling Yes Yes
Horizontal Pod Autoscaling No (Separate Kubernetes service) Yes (GKE Horizontal Pod Autoscaling)
Load Balancing Services    
Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) Yes (Application, Network, Classic) Yes (HTTP(S), Network, Internal)
Global Accelerator Yes No (Global network routing is available)

5. Storage services comparison:

Storage Service Type AWS GCP
Object Storage Amazon S3Amazon Glacier Google Cloud StorageGoogle Cloud Storage Nearline
Block Storage Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) Google Cloud Persistent Disks
File Storage Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) Google Cloud Filestore
Database Storage Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service) Google Cloud SQL
  Amazon Aurora Google Cloud Spanner
NoSQL Databases Amazon DynamoDB Google Cloud Bigtable
Hybrid Cloud AWS Storage Gateway Google Cloud Storage Transfer Service
Content Delivery Amazon CloudFront Google Cloud CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Backup & Recovery AWS Backup Google Cloud Backup
Data Warehousing Amazon Redshift Google BigQuery
Data Transfer AWS DataSync Google Cloud Transfer Appliance
  1. Object Storage:

    • AWS (Amazon S3):
      Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is a highly scalable and durable object storage service. It is widely used for storing and retrieving data, serving as a foundation for cloud-native applications and data lakes.
    • GCP (Cloud Storage):
      Google Cloud Storage is similar to AWS S3, providing scalable and globally distributed object storage. It offers multiple storage classes, including Standard, Nearline, Coldline, and Archive, to optimize costs based on data access patterns.
  2. Block Storage:

    • AWS (Amazon EBS):
      Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) provides block-level storage volumes that can be attached to Amazon EC2 instances. EBS offers various volume types optimized for different use cases, such as General Purpose SSD, Provisioned IOPS SSD, and Magnetic.
    • GCP (Persistent Disks):
      Google Cloud Persistent Disks serve as block storage for Compute Engine instances. Like EBS, it offers different types of disks, including Standard, SSD, and Local SSD, catering to various performance requirements.
  3. File Storage:

    • AWS (Amazon EFS):
      Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) is a scalable and managed file storage service that can be shared across multiple EC2 instances. It’s suitable for network file shares and content repositories.
    • GCP (Cloud Filestore):
      Google Cloud Filestore provides managed NFS and SMB file storage. It is designed for applications that require shared file storage and offers both Standard and High Scale storage tiers.
  4. Archival and Backup:

    • AWS (Amazon Glacier):
      Amazon Glacier is a low-cost storage service designed for long-term archival and backup purposes. It offers various retrieval options, including Standard, Expedited, and Bulk.
    • GCP (Cloud Storage Coldline and Archive):
      Google Cloud offers Coldline and Archive storage classes within Cloud Storage for long-term archival. These classes are cost-effective but come with retrieval time delays.
  5. Database Storage:

    • AWS (Amazon RDS, Amazon Aurora, etc.):
      AWS provides managed database services like Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora, which include storage as part of the service. These services are suitable for relational databases.
    • GCP (Cloud SQL, Cloud Spanner, etc.):
      Google Cloud offers managed database services like Cloud SQL and Cloud Spanner, which include storage as well. Cloud Spanner is a globally distributed, scalable database service.
  6. Data Transfer and Content Delivery:

    • AWS (Amazon CloudFront):
      AWS CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) service that accelerates the delivery of web content to users. It caches content at edge locations worldwide.
    • GCP (Google Cloud CDN):
      Google Cloud CDN is GCP’s CDN service that also accelerates content delivery by caching data at Google’s global edge locations.
  7. Backup and Disaster Recovery:

    • AWS (AWS Backup):
      AWS Backup is a centralized backup service that allows you to create and manage backups across various AWS services.
    • GCP (Google Cloud Backup):
      Google Cloud Backup provides a unified backup service for GCP resources, simplifying data protection and disaster recovery.

6. Security services comparison:

  1. Identity and Access Management:

    • AWS (IAM): AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a service for managing user identities and access to AWS resources. It allows you to define fine-grained access policies, roles, and permissions for users, groups, and services.
    • GCP (Cloud Identity and Access Management – IAM): Google Cloud IAM provides similar capabilities, allowing you to control who can access your resources and what actions they can perform. It integrates with GCP services and offers roles and permissions.
  2. Network Security:

    • AWS (Amazon VPC, Security Groups, NACLs): Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) enables you to create isolated network environments. AWS provides security groups and network access control lists (NACLs) for controlling inbound and outbound traffic.
    • GCP (Virtual Private Cloud – VPC, Firewall Rules): Google Cloud VPC offers network isolation, and you can define firewall rules to control traffic. GCP’s firewall rules are stateful and can be applied at the instance or subnet level.
  3. DDoS Protection:

    • AWS (AWS Shield): AWS Shield is a managed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection service that helps safeguard applications running on AWS against DDoS attacks.
    • GCP (Cloud Armor): Google Cloud Armor provides DDoS protection and web application firewall (WAF) capabilities. It helps protect applications from layer 3 to layer 7 attacks.
  4. Encryption:

    • AWS (AWS Key Management Service – KMS): AWS KMS is a managed encryption service that allows you to create and control encryption keys for securing data at rest and in transit.
    • GCP (Google Cloud Key Management Service – Cloud KMS): Google Cloud KMS offers similar key management capabilities for data encryption. It integrates with various GCP services.
  5. Security Monitoring and Compliance:

    • AWS (Amazon CloudWatch, AWS Config, AWS Security Hub): AWS provides services like CloudWatch for monitoring, AWS Config for compliance, and AWS Security Hub for centralized security insights and compliance checks.
    • GCP (Google Cloud Monitoring, Google Cloud Security Command Center): Google Cloud offers monitoring and security services, including Google Cloud Monitoring for observability and Google Cloud Security Command Center for security insights and compliance.

7. Cache services:

AWS Cache Services:

  1. Amazon ElastiCache:

    • Amazon ElastiCache is a fully managed, in-memory cache service that supports popular open-source caching engines such as Redis and Memcached.
    • ElastiCache helps improve application performance by storing frequently accessed data in-memory, reducing the need to retrieve data from the primary data source.
    • It offers features like data persistence, automatic failover, and encryption at rest and in transit.
    • Supports use cases such as session management, real-time analytics, and content caching.

GCP Cache Services:

  1. Cloud Memorystore:

    • Google Cloud Memorystore is a managed in-memory data store service that is compatible with the open-source Redis protocol.
    • It offers fully managed Redis instances with features like data persistence, automatic failover, and seamless integration with other GCP services.
    • Cloud Memorystore is suitable for use cases like caching, session management, and real-time analytics.
  2. Cloud CDN (Content Delivery Network):

    • While not a traditional cache service, Google Cloud CDN is a content delivery network that caches and delivers content from Google’s global edge locations.
    • It is designed to accelerate the delivery of web content, including static assets, dynamic content, and video streaming.
    • Cloud CDN integrates seamlessly with Google Cloud services and can be used to cache and serve content closer to end-users for reduced latency.

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