Cloud computing has taken the tech industry by storm in the last few years. How did this storm start brewing? How did the cloud become the gateway to big data heaven?
The cloud was an idea in the tech stratosphere for over a decade, but only recently did small and medium enterprises start to adopt the cloud technology and incorporate it into their daily business functions.
Demystifying cloud computing
In practice, it is a simple feat of engineering. With the cloud, essentially, businesses enlist the use of off-site servers to store operating data, applications, and business records. Businesses are able to employ services from the cloud, making it a possibility to operate completely in the cloud.
This is a cost-effective and efficacious way of modernizing a businesses IT processes without sacrificing productivity or efficiency.
When speaking about the cloud we are actually referencing many different technologies working in tandem on shared resource machines. Mass distributed servers are allotted to cloud customers to rent.
The cost of this rent is dictated by both technical specifications and business need. The cost and quality are affected not only by your business's internal IT systems but also by your cloud provider.
The two behemoths in the cloud market today are Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which are both IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS providers. Far and away, Amazon Web Services is the most popular option, but this popularity does not necessarily indicate quality or efficiency in your regards to your specific business needs.
Google Cloud Platform vs. AWS
Server stacks such as these power some of the web's largest and most well-known platforms. (Image: Wikimedia)
GCP is the victor in the cost-slashing war; since it cannot boast the same number of customers as Amazon Web Services, it must compete instead on price. For example, 2 CPUs with 8GB RAM will cost an estimated $55 a month for Google Cloud Platform. By comparison, Amazon Web Services is $77 a month for the same service.
Further, GCP provides discounted long-term usage that automatically discounts virtual machine (VM) instances the longer you use it. Specifically, if an instance stays running for a whole month, you may be entitled to a hefty discount, amounting to over 30% off the cost of service. This is especially lucrative for businesses who plan on the continued and consistent usage of the cloud's resources.
Additionally, GCP has a much longer free trial. When you sign up for Google Cloud Platform, you are offered one free year along with $300 of free credit to test and develop their technologies. This allows smaller businesses or startups a technological edge in the race to profitability and product deployment.
Amazon, however, has the advantage in terms of market share and the number of available data centers. This can translate to more robust support, reliability, and services available to your business.
AWS is more feature-complete at the moment and offered a massive suite of applications to aid in your internal technology development and product testing. The number of services available is truly staggering, even when compared to the suite of services offered by Google Cloud Platform.
Privacy, encryption, and security are important issues. Especially if your business deals with highly sensitive personal information. HIPAA compliance, for example, can affect the how your business must store health information and how liable you are if the data is breached.
Google Cloud Platform has upped its security and privacy requirements tremendously. So, at the moment, GCP has the better security protocols. AWS is still working to close this gap.
The servers, however, would be nothing without the code that runs on them. (Image: Luca Bravo, Unsplash)
Amazon Web Services has been around longer than Google Cloud Platform. That doesn't mean that Amazon Web Services is necessarily the dominant cloud provider, but it does mean they have a few key advantages over Google Cloud Platform.
Google Cloud Platform wins on price and privacy. If these elements are important to you, you should consider GCP. Otherwise, you may feel more at home with AWS.
Charles Dearing, Technology Journalist