Looking to move data around in the cloud? Moving massive amounts of data has become a backbone of business. It might involve switching from one cloud to another, performing continuous on-premises data migration or continuously ingesting data from a social feed without dedicated servers. Cloud migration can be a one-time or continuous process.
Infrastructure as a service or platform as a service can be good starting points, but which service should an organization use? Two of the largest, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, offer a lot of options.
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- What is Google Cloud?
- What is Microsoft Azure?
- Google Cloud vs. Microsoft Azure: Comparison table
- Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure pricing
- Feature comparison: Google Cloud vs. Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud pros and cons
- Microsoft Azure pros and cons
- Should your organization use Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud?
What is Google Cloud?
Google bills its Google Cloud migration services as a streamlined but flexible way to move data and apps to the cloud. The variety of migration and modernization options include automated services, fully managed databases and options for Oracle workloads and Microsoft SQL Server deployments. The Cloud Foundation Toolkit (CTF) is built to guide organizations through the process of migrating applications. CFT provides best-practice templates to quickly get started in Google Cloud.
SEE: For more information, check out our Google Cloud cheat sheet.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft Azure cloud services provide cloud environments across on-premises, multicloud or hybrid formats. The tech giant bills Azure as a chance to “build on your own terms,” with a wide variety of services and features. In addition, Microsoft emphasizes security, compliance coverage, the client having total ownership of the data and artificial intelligence. Microsoft claims to offer the only cloud platform to run on hyperscale relational databases and provide a speedy NoSQL database with open APIs at any scale.
SEE: For more information, check out our Microsoft Azure cheat sheet.
Google Cloud vs. Microsoft Azure: Comparison table
|Features||Google Cloud||Microsoft Azure|
|Pricing||Pay as you go, hourly or monthly||Pay as you go, hourly or monthly|
|Free tier||$300 credit, valid for 90 days||$200 credit, valid for 30 days|
|Container as a service||Google Kubernetes Engine||Azure Kubernetes Service|
|Persistent Disk storage||Persistent Disk (HDD/SSD)||Azure Managed Disks (HDD/SSD)|
|Dedicated Interconnect||Cloud Interconnect||ExpressRoute|
|Geographical range||35 regions||58 regions|
|File storage||Filestore||Azure Files|
|Maximum processors in virtual machine||96||128|
|Caching||CloudCDN||Azure Cache for Redis|
|Key tools||IoT, serverless and AI||Cognitive services, supporting Microsoft software|
Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure pricing
Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure have a wide range of services, and the pricing can vary depending on the specific service, region and usage level.
Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure provide a limited free tier to new customers after signing up, with specific resources. Google Cloud offers new customers a $300 free credit to run, test and deploy up to 29 workloads, including BigQuery, AutoML Vision, App Engine and Cloud Shell, up to their monthly usage limits.
Microsoft Azure also gives new customers $200 in free credits to use in 30 days to create, deploy and manage applications across multiple clouds, on-premises and at the edge. Some products are free for the first 12 months after signing up; this includes Virtual Machines (Windows and Linux), Azure SQL Database, Azure Blob Storage and Computer Vision. Some products are always free to Azure customers up to a specified usage limit; those products include Azure Cosmos DB and Data Catalog.
Pay as you go
Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure follow a pay-as-you-go pricing model, allowing you to pay for the resources you consume without any upfront costs. The pricing can vary depending on the specific service, region and usage level. For instance, Cloud Storage pricing is based on four key components: geographic area, data storage, data processing and network usage. Meanwhile, Azure block blob storage pricing depends on your region, the volume of data stored per month, the quantity and types of operations performed and the data redundancy option selected.
Use pricing calculator
You can use the pricing calculators for Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure to estimate your costs, as services may vary based on geographical region, usage volume and specific features or add-ons. In order to get a custom quote, you will need to connect with a sales representative for Google or Microsoft.
Feature comparison: Google Cloud vs. Microsoft Azure
SSH-based machine access
In Google Cloud, SSH key management is straightforward and allows you to efficiently manage their access keys. Users can add, remove or update SSH keys associated with specific instances or users, providing flexibility in access control. Compute Engine uses key-based SSH authentication to establish connections to all Linux VM instances, and Windows users have the option of enabling it for their VMs. Google Cloud allows Linux VMs to use metadata keys or OS Login to manage SSH keys, while all Windows VMs use metadata.
Microsoft Azure offers robust SSH key management for VM access. Users can upload or create SSH keys and associate them with VM instances during deployment or afterward. Azure provides a web-based SSH client within the Azure Portal, allowing users to initiate SSH sessions directly from their browser, which can be convenient for users who prefer a graphical interface.
One major difference between the two services relates to the operating system. Naturally, Azure plays well with Windows, as does Google Cloud, while Google Cloud’s SSH-based machine access can be especially useful for Linux projects.
Availability and edge deployments
Geographically, Azure is available in a broader range of regions across the world than Google Cloud. And both companies have very good (99%) uptime.
In terms of edge deployments, Google offers Direct Peering, while Azure does not. Google’s Direct Peering allows a business network to plug directly into Google’s edge network, helping it improve network performance and reduce latency for certain workloads.
While Azure does not offer a service called Direct Peering like Google, it does provide Azure ExpressRoute, which allows businesses to create private connections between their on-premises infrastructure and Azure data centers. This helps improve network performance and security.
Azure provides advanced storage features that cater to complex enterprise needs. Google Cloud doesn’t offer as many advanced storage features as Azure, but it makes up for it with affordable storage pricing and ease of use.
|Services||Google Cloud offerings||Azure offerings|
|Block storage||Persistent Disk||Azure Disk Storage|
|File storage||Filestore||Azure Files|
|Object Storage||Google Cloud Storage||Blob Storage|
|Cold Storage||Google Cloud Storage Nearline||Azure Archive Blob Storage|
|Infrequently accessed object storage||Cloud Storage Archive||Azure Archive Storage|
|Data Transfer||Azure Import/Export Service||Storage Transfer Service|
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Azure and Google Cloud offer AI and ML services. Both products have a wide range of speech-to-text, DevOps and other applications for AI/ML.
Google Cloud offers a suite of AI and ML services under the Google AI umbrella, including Google AI Platform, Cloud AutoML and TensorFlow. Google is known for its expertise in AI, thanks to its history in developing machine learning technologies like TensorFlow and its leadership in AI research.
Azure’s various AI and ML services include Azure Machine Learning, Azure Cognitive Services and Azure Databricks. Microsoft has also made significant investments in AI research and development.
If you value pre-trained models and APIs, prefer TensorFlow and need user-friendly AutoML tools, Google Cloud may be beneficial to you. Microsoft Azure is ideal if you want flexibility in ML frameworks and need strong enterprise support.
Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure offer compute services that cater to the needs of businesses and developers with different use cases and requirements. See how the products compare in the chart below.
|Services||Google Cloud||Microsoft Azure|
|Virtual machines||Google Compute Engine||Azure Virtual Machines|
|Containers||Google Kubernetes Engine||Azure Kubernetes Service|
|PaaS||Google App Engine||Azure App Service|
|Automatic instance scaling||Compute Engine Autoscaler||Azure Autoscale, Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets|
|Serverless functions||Google Cloud Functions||Azure Functions|
Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure are rigorously secured. Microsoft has proven compliance with privacy regulations across 50 global regions. Google Cloud’s security meets compliance across the globe as well, meeting many ISO standards, GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA and more, all of which Azure also covers.
Microsoft and Google offer bug bounties for security researchers, drawing from both the independent security researcher community and their own top-tier security teams.
Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure offer comprehensive networking capabilities, and the choice between them will depend on your specific requirements, existing infrastructure and preferences. Here’s a comparison of the two products’ networking capabilities.
|Features||Google Cloud||Microsoft Azure|
|Virtual networks||Virtual Private Cloud||Azure Virtual Network|
|Load balancing||Cloud Load Balancing||Azure Load Balancer|
|Content delivery network||Cloud CDN||Azure CDN|
|Network connectivity||Cloud Interconnect||Azure ExpressRoute|
|Monitoring and management||Network Intelligence Center||Azure Network Watcher|
|Premium networking||Network Service Tiers, Standard Tier||Internet egress (routed over the public ISP network)|
|Firewall||Cloud firewall||Azure firewall|
|Domains and DNS||Cloud DNS||Azure DNS|
Google Cloud pros and cons
Pros of Google Cloud
- Google Cloud provides various security measures, including Identity and Access Management, Key Management Service and Security Command Center, which work together to strengthen your data.
- Excellent integration with other Google services.
- Provides users with a scalable infrastructure to easily scale resources up or down based on demand.
- Google Cloud offers robust tools and services for big data analytics and machine learning.
Cons of Google Cloud
- Fewer global data centers than Azure.
- Google Cloud products such as BigQuery, Spanner and Datastore have limited customization.
- Some users reported that GCP has a complex pricing structure.
Microsoft Azure pros and cons
Pros of Microsoft Azure
- Azure facilitates quick collaboration for multiple users.
- Excellent integration with other Microsoft services.
- Hybrid cloud capabilities.
Cons of Microsoft Azure
- Requires platform expertise.
- Customer support can be improved.
- Varied performance in different geographies.
Should your organization use Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud?
Depending on the service tier, Google Cloud offers serverless migrations that reduce or eliminate downtime, replicating data continuously. Organizations can move VM-based self-hosted databases to Google Cloud to take their hands off managing the infrastructure and instead relying on Google’s support, performance and disaster recovery capabilities. Each project can involve up to 2,000 connection profiles and 1,000 migration jobs.
Microsoft Azure Migrate has similarly streamlined capabilities, with a single dashboard for the whole process of migrating databases, applications, mainframes or VMs. This single interface provides a centralized view of the entire migration process, making it easier to plan, execute and monitor migrations efficiently.
Other comparisons may come down to the granular needs of your organization, such as the amount of memory and storage disks you need, physical location and how you want to pay. For more information, compare the services to IBM Cloud or AWS Cloud, and read our overview of data migration.
To review both cloud platforms, we collected the primary information from the official websites and documentation for Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. We reviewed reputable rankings from customers and other expert reviews from credible sources. We also weighed each tool’s compute capability, storage service, ease of use and customer support.
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