Storage Service Comparison: AWS vs Microsoft Azure vs GCP

Cloud computing is taking over at a rapid pace. There is fierce competition to dominate the cloud market between Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Amazon is taking the lead by offering 200+ services and a 34% share in the market, whereas Microsoft Azure has the second-largest market share of 21%. However, Google Cloud, which is comparatively new, managed to jump over the rest and gained the third-highest share in the market – 11%.

When it comes to picking the winner, there are key aspects to compare. For instance, compute, storage, management tools, etc., In this article, we will compare storage services by AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

What is Cloud Data Storage?

Cloud storage or cloud data storage can be defined as a cloud computing service model. This model is used to transmit and store data on remote storage systems. The data is safely managed, backed up, maintained, and made available to all the selected users on a network. Generally, you as a user must pay to use cloud data storage at the monthly rate that’s based on per consumption.

What are The Types of Cloud Data Storage?

Cloud storage has three main types. They are block storage, file storage, and object storage.

  • Block Storage – Block storage divides the massive amount of data into smaller units called blocks. Each block has its unique identifier and gets placed on one of the storage drives.
  • File Storage – File storage is based on a hierarchical system of folders and files. It’s quite straightforward, the data is stored in files and the files are stored in folders.
  • Object Storage – In object storage, data is stored in the form of objects. There are three components to object storage: file data, associated metadata, and unique identifier.

Cloud Storage Types Comparison: AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP

When it comes to object storage. It is a low-cost archiving solution designed to hold onto data for a specific duration. On the other hand, file storage is more suitable if you need high performance and a higher number of input/output operations per second (IOPS). Think of this as a shared drive on your network where selected users can access the data at any time from anywhere. Finally, block storage is where you get the best speed. That is to say, it offers the highest IOPS out of all three types.

Block StorageFile StorageObject Storage
Amazon AWSAmazon EBSAmazon EFSS3 Glacier
Microsoft AzureManaged DisksFilesArchive Storage
Google CloudPersistent Disks and SSDFilestoreCloud Storage

What is Data Transportation in the Cloud?

Now that you know what cloud data storage is and what are its uses, let’s talk about how you get all your data to the cloud. The process of doing so is called data transportation – where you move data from your system to the cloud and from there, you can migrate it between storages.

The simplest way to upload data to your cloud storage is using CLI (Command Line Interface) or web UI. The famous three vendors; Microsoft Azure, AWS, and GCP also offer downloadable tools that you can use as transfer gateways and synchronize your data to the cloud. However, it gets better when the three provide you service to transport data to the cloud.

Data Transportation: Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP

Now that you know what data transportation is, let’s have a look at how the famous cloud providers let you ship big chunks of data.

  • Amazon AWS – Amazon AWS has Snowmobile. It looks like an enormous shopping container that is pulled by a semi-trailer truck. You just give them a call, and they arrive at your data center, plug in and ingest up to 100 Petabytes of data. Their normal upload speed is 240 GB per second.
  • Microsoft Azure – Secondly, Microsoft Azure gives you an “Azure DataBox Disk”. It is a simple box filled with USB 3.0 port SSD drives. You must fill up data to 40 TB and ship it back to Microsoft. The larger version is called “Azure Databox Heavy” and can fill up 1 PB of data.
  • Google Cloud – Finally, we have GCP with a “Transfer Appliance” that can easily accommodate 1 PB of data in a round trip.

So who’s the winner when it comes to data transportation? Amazon AWS easily wins the competition in data transportation.

Amazon S3 vs Microsoft Azure vs Google Cloud Storage Pricing

  1. Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 Pricing

AWS charges you for storing objects in S3 buckets. The rate of charge is dependent on the object’s size, duration of storage, and storage class.

First 50 TB / MonthNext 450 TB / MonthOver 500 TB / MonthInfrequent Access Tier, All Storage / MonthArchive Instant Access Tier, All Storage / Month
S3 Standard0.023 USD/GB0.022 USD/GB0.021 USD/GB
S3 Intelligent – Tiering0.022 USD/GB0.022 USD/GB0.021 USD/GB0.0125 USD/GB0.004 USD/GB
  1. Microsoft Azure Blob – Cloud Storage Pricing

Microsoft Azure offers a pricing plan that is based on pay-as-you-go. The following pricing table is based on the following:

File Structure: Hierarchical Namespace (NFS v3.0 Protocol)

Redundancy: LRS

Region: West US 2

First 50 terabyte (TB) / month0.15 USD/GB0.018 USD/GB0.01 USD/GB0.00099 USD/GB
Next 450 TB / month0.15 USD/GB0.0173 USD/GB0.01 USD/GB0.00099 USD/GB
Over 500 TB / month0.15 USD/GB0.0166 USD/GB0.01 USD/GB0.00099 USD/GB
  1. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Cloud Storage Pricing

GCP cloud storage pricing is based on what you use. This includes data amount, duration, number of operations performed on stored data, and network resources used at the time of moving or accessing data.

Standard StorageNearline StorageColdline StorageArchive Storage
0.02 USD/GB (per month)0.01 USD/GB (per month)0.004 USD/GB (per month)0.0012 USD/GB (per month)

The Verdict

When it comes to the cloud-based storage market, there’s no doubt that Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP have dominated that market. Running a cloud storage comparison between AWS, Azure, and GCP gives you a better understanding of your own requirements. You compare the types of storage offered by the vendors and their pricing. When it comes to performance, the competition is tied between GCP, Azure, and AWS. However, the major difference is in the pricing and that is what decides the winner.