Compute Service Comparison: AWS vs Microsoft Azure vs GCP

Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud have been dominating the cloud market. However, the competition is incredibly tough between these three. So, what factors decide the winner? There are 3 key services: Storage, Computing, and Networking. The traditional way of hosting data, managing data, and making it available to users has always been complicated and expensive. Thanks to the Cloud, it’s become easier and more affordable. In this article, we will concisely cover:

  • What is meant by Compute?
  • Comparison of Compute Services between AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP
  • Comparison of Compute Power between AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP,
  • Pricing Comparison between AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP

By the end of this article, you’ll have a complete understanding of “compute services”. In addition, you will also know what’s the difference in compute services offered by AWS, Azure, and GCP. You can use this knowledge to pick the right vendor for your business need. On the other hand, you can also decide which one you want to pursue to get your professional cloud certification.

What is Compute?

Compute, in the cloud, is defined as the collective of memory, storage, processing power, networking, and other cloud resources necessary to perform the successful computation of any program. It is fundamentally a building block of the cloud computing infrastructure. You can also define compute as physical servers that have processors, storage, and memory, required to run various operating systems.

What Are the Main Compute Resources?

All compute resources are measurable and the computing power is completely dependent on them. Each resource plays a vital role in how efficiently data can be uploaded, downloaded, processed, and shared.

  • Central Processing Unit (CPU) – You might already be familiar with the definition of CPU as “Brains of the Computer”. The CPU is responsible for carrying out instructions for computer programs.
  • Random Access Memory (RAM) – Applications need to make memory requests to run. The RAM is high-speed storage that allocates space for these applications.
  • Network – Often termed as “NICs” (Network Interface Cards), these support connectivity with other servers.
  • Storage – Storage is where all the system files and other data are stored. All these files are required to run the operating system and applications on the server.

Now that you understand, what is meant by compute and the compute resources. Let’s run a comparison of compute services between Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP.

Compute Service Comparison: AWS vs Microsoft Azure vs GCP

Virtual Machine (VM) is the heart of compute. We must run a comparison of performance options offered by each vendor. This will help to run a fair compute service comparison between AWS vs Azure vs GCP.

ServicesAmazon AWSMicrosoft AzureGoogle Cloud
VM (Compute Instance)Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)Azure Virtual MachineCompute Engine
Serverless FunctionsAWS LambdaAzure FunctionGoogle Cloud Functions
ContainerKubernetes Service/AWS Elastic ContainerAzure Kubernetes Service (AKS)Google Kubernetes Engine
PaaSAWS Elastic Beanstalk (EBS)App ServiceApp Engine

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  • AWS EC2 is dedicated to supporting common workloads. This is a specific compute optimized to deliver high-performance processing. In addition, it also has memory optimization options.
  • Secondly, AWS also has an accelerated compute option. This is particularly aimed toward workloads that require comparatively high sequential RW (Read Write) access to data. The accelerated compute option embodies hardware-accelerated processing, storage optimization, and leveraging GPUs.
  • Finally, AWS fully supports Burstable performance instances. This option is the most cost-effective solution where low CPU usage is required.

Microsoft Azure

  • Azure offers general-purpose compute instance that is similar to AWS and GCP. Similar to AWS, the compute and memory can be optimized. On the other hand, GPU-type VMs are also available and they are accelerator optimized. 
  • Microsoft Azure also features a storage-optimized VM. In addition, there are burstable options for workloads that do not need consistent CPU access.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

  • Firstly, GCP does not offer a storage optimization option at the time of publication.
  • GCP has compute engine to support general-purpose virtual machines. In addition, there is compute optimize that offers a higher performance per core.
  • Finally, GCP has memory optimize options as well as accelerated VMs just like AWS. There are also burstable or shared core VM options available.

AWS vs Microsoft Azure vs GCP – Price Comparison

The Cloud industry is highly competitive. Therefore, pricing is a key factor when it comes to picking out a winner. The following table offers a contrast between the pricing of AWS, Azure, and GCP, based on machine types.

Machine TypeAmazon AWSAzureGCP
Smallest Instance2 vCPUs & 8 GB RAM – 69 USD/Month (approximate)2 vCPUs & 8 GB RAM – 70 USD/Month (approximate)2 vCPUs & 8 GB RAM – 52 USD/Month (approximate)
Largest Instance128 vCPUs & 1 TB RAM – 3.97 USD/Hour (approximate)128 vCPUs & 3.99  TB RAM – 6.79 USD/Hour (approximate)160 vCPUs & 3.75 TB RAM – 5.32 USD/Hour (approximate)

The price comparison between Amazon AWS vs Microsoft Azure vs GCP shows that GCP is easily the winner.

The Verdict

Compute service comparison between Amazon AWS vs Microsoft Azure vs GCP can be tough. Amazon offers over 200+ services and owns a stable position as the #1 cloud solutions platform. When it comes to purchasing a service, performance and cost decide the winner. It might be possible that Google’s prices are competitive as GCP came out after AWS and Azure. 

However, whether it is compute, network, or storage. Google has Amazon AWS and Azure easily beat, in terms of pricing. Google Cloud also does not lag in terms of performance. However, it still falls behind AWS and Azure due to the lack of services. Maybe in the near time, it will be possible for GCP to take over the Cloud industry. For now, there’s no compromise on quality from either of these vendors. Therefore, the best in terms of compute is the one that you are comfortable using.