It’s common when talking about cloud computing services to divide them into Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Data as a Service (DaaS). So, let’s do that and compare the offerings of Amazon’s AWS and Google’s GCP offerings in each category.

Infrastructure as a Service

Amazon’s IaaS offering is Elastic Cloud Compute or EC2. EC2 allows you to create either Windows or Linux virtual machines. These machines are completely configurable. They are secured within virtual private networks and behind security groups. They are fast, reliable, and cheap.

Google’s offering is called Google Compute Engine. It’s almost identical to Amazon’s in both capability and price, while some of the terminology is a little different.

Google offers sub-hour billing where Amazon bills by the hour. If you run a machine 24 hours a day, this doesn’t make much difference. However, if you continually turn machines on and off to meet demand, this could save a lot. Imagine you run 10 machines for 65 minutes. With Amazon you pay for 20 hours. With Google you pay for 10 hours and 50 minutes. (At least at the time of this writing.)

Platform as a Service

Amazon has a couple PaaS offerings; their most well known is called Elastic Beanstalk. With Elastic Beanstalk, developers choose their preferred programming environment (Java, .NET, Ruby, Python, PHP, etc.) and the service automatically sets up machines, security, and auto-scaling. Developers then simply upload their code to the configured environment.

Google’s most well known PaaS offering is called Google App Engine. App Engine runs applications in sandboxed containers. Developers can choose Java, Python, Go, or PHP as their programming language, develop their application, and upload it.

Elastic Beanstalk offers more languages than Google App Engine including .NET for Microsoft developers. Google App Engine can be significantly cheaper for certain applications. If an application is not being used, it shuts itself off and costs nothing, then when a request comes in it immediately turns itself back on.

Software as a Service

Google has an incredible array of SaaS offerings that can be integrated into your cloud solutions. Obvious ones include Gmail, Docs, Drive, Maps, and Search. There are many others that are less well known including Google Translate and Prediction API.

Amazon’s offerings in this area are not as well known as Google’s, but they do exist. They include WorkDocs, WorkMail, and WorkSpaces.

Data as a Service

Amazon and Google offer similar services for storing data at comparable prices. For file storage, Amazon has Simple Storage Service (S3) and Google has Cloud Storage.

For relational database storage, Amazon has Relational Database Service (RDS) and Google has Cloud SQL. RDS offers more managed databases including MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and Aurora. Google Cloud SQL only supports MySQL.

Amazon has a NoSQL data store called DynamoDB and Google has one called Datastore.


Both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform are great choices when moving your applications and data to the cloud. To learn more about them, take a look at ROI Training’s Cloud Computing curriculum and Google Cloud Platform curriculum.

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