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Microsoft Azure vs Google Cloud

24 Nov 2022

Microsoft Azure vs Google Cloud

Amongst thousands of providers, and vendors in the cloud computing industry, there exist a few giants – AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. We plan to cut through the complexity that shrouds cloud technology to clarify, in layman’s terms, the differences in Microsoft azure vs Google Cloud, and the everchanging catalogue of Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure Cloud features.

The cloud migration advances at an astonishing rate. Organisations are increasingly seeking out cloud technology benefits above and beyond on-prem deployments.

With ever-increasing improvements to cost and scalability, security, flexibility and business continuity, one would expect this trend only to accelerate further.

Microsoft Azure vs Google Cloud: Moving to the cloud

When you consider a move to the cloud it would be impossible to research cloud services without coming across Google and Microsoft in your exploration. Both globally recognised leaders in the tech space, even before the dawn of cloud computing. Despite delivering different services and products, they are both internationally revered for their innovations and expertise, in hardware and software industries. This is their dominant foundation that they built their cloud empires upon.

In 2019 they were recognised in the Magic Quadrant by Gartner, as Infrastructure-as-a-service leaders worldwide, with AWS being the only other force in this accolade, all showing superiority across the board in vision and execution.

Whether it’s IaaS, SaaS or PaaS solutions, Google & Microsoft offer hundreds of market-leading products and services, a list that expands consistently and continuously as they innovate and evolve, pushing the boundaries even further to offer greater services, in size, number, and quality.

These titans of industry continue to expand in revenue and customer base through time, suggesting that these giants are not only keeping pace with AWS, but actively competing to take away market share.

Comparing and contrasting azure and google cloud can be difficult, time consuming, and stressful, with each provider offering well in excess of 100+ products, or services, with competing services naming cultures being drastically different, getting lost in the details can become the norm.

We will cover the foundations of cloud deployment to help you understand – Compute, Storage, Security and Networking services, all of which we offer top-quality professional services to help you come to terms with, across all the cloud providers you can think of. Let’s get started:

Compute

Focusing on Virtual Machines, we have a similar approach in Microsoft Azure vs Google Cloud, with Azure Virtual Machines vs Compute Engine. Both use differing high-level terminology and concepts.

In provisioning VMs, both providers offer many of the same features, being able to:

  • Deploy & terminate instances on-demand, with autoscaling capabilities.
  • Install a range of Operating Systems on your VMs
  • Use boot disk images to create instances
  • Manage VMs without restriction
  • Tag VMs for identification

Both providers offer hundreds of VM types, that can be deployed in a variety of configurations. You can scale to meet demands, increasing and decreasing components to extreme specifications, topping out at 416 vCPUs and 11,776GB of RAM on Google Compute Engine, beating Microsoft Azure at 416 vCPUs, but only 11,400GB of RAM.

Networking

Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure continue to innovate and expand their own network infrastructures, working with their partners to interconnect globally deployed datacentres. Ambitious plans with state-of-the-art networking services on offer for high-speed connectivity across VMs and other cloud services, as well as on-prem too!

Google Cloud networking is available in 35 regions, 60+ zones and 200+ countries, with new regions added even recently! Microsoft Azure is currently more broadly available in 58 regions, and 140 zones.

Both content delivery networks help you reduce load times, bandwidth usage and improve speed responsiveness of sites, services and applications. Each offers deep integration with their native programs – with advanced logging and monitoring, as well as a number of security solutions for resilience.

In a scenario where you find on-prem-to-cloud VPN doesn’t provide the necessary speed/security for workloads, turn to azure or google cloud for leasing a high-speed network line with guaranteed capacity – dedicated interconnecting through carrier peering from a third-party provider in Azure’s ExpressRoute or Google’s Cloud Interconnect. Google also offers direct peering, which Azure does not, in which you are directly plugged into the Google edge network, without a middleman. This service is available in more than 100 locations, and 33 countries globally. In another win for google, Content Delivery Network peering (which Azure do not offer competitively) allows connection through googles network edge locations to CDN providers and cloud resources. Azure offers dedicated connections to Akamai and Verizon CDNs within the Azure CDN service however.

Google Cloud and Azure each offer load balancing services to help you distribute traffic across multiple instances. All with the aim of improving availability and fault tolerance.

They do this through methods such as:

  • HTTP(s) load balancing, which is layer 7 load balancing for distributing client requests at application layer to achieve more sophisticated load balancing than layer 4.
  • TCP/UDP Load Balancing, in layer 4, distributing client requests within a region at the networking transport layer.
  • SSL load balancing, for encryption and decryption of any and all data trafficked to and from your services.

Storage

Understanding the different storage and disk types your cloud provider utilizes is essential. These devices will directly impact expected throughput (IO), max IOPs per volume/instance, and the ability to burst capacity for short times – which have a huge influence on performance.

When comparing Google Cloud vs Microsoft Azure storage, we’ll focus on the primary storage options: block storage and object storage.

Block Storage

Block storage is essentially a virtual disk running on a cloud-based virtual machine. Google Cloud delivers block storage utilizing persistent disks – offering SSD and HDD storage – which can attach to instances running on Compute Engine or Google Kubernetes Engine.

Microsoft Azure delivers its block storage solution in the form of page blobs, stored on Azure VHDs, running on an Azure VM.

Apart from the method of data storage, Compute Engine persistent disks and Azure virtual hard disks (VHDs) are very similar. Each offers network-attached disk volumes and the ability to attach local disks should the need arise.

Distributed object storage is a way of storing data as objects, also referred to as blobs. Each object comprises of the data itself, an amount of metadata, and a key acting as a unique identifier. Object storage can be implemented at multiple levels including the device-level, system-level, and interface-level.

The distributed object storage offering from Azure is called Azure Blob Storage, and Google Cloud offers Cloud Storage. They are similar in many ways, using unique keys to identify objects, and support metadata information that includes object size, date of last modification, and media type. They both support the functionality to edit and add custom metadata fields and are most commonly used for data types including static web content and media.

Each platform supports additional features including object encryption, replication, versioning, lifecycle management, and change notifications. Along with an uptime service level agreement (SLA) and policies in place to credit you should they not meet these requirements. You can find their policies and guarantees in the Azure Storage SLA and the Cloud Storage SLA.

Of course, there are also differences in how the services are delivered. With the table below outlining a high-level look at the comparative features and terminology for Azure Blob Storage and Google Cloud Storage:

Security

When we talk about cloud security, we are focusing on the underlying technologies, controls, processes, and policies which combine to protect your cloud-based systems, data, and infrastructure.

Microsoft and Google are renowned for a deep commitment to providing the highest levels of cloud security. With each provider continuing to evolve a security model built on a development history spanning more than a decade.

At a high level, they deliver cloud security in three ways:

  • Security of the cloud platform – delivering security capabilities that are built into the infrastructure of the cloud platform, providing protection by default.
  • Security in the cloud platform – delivering security products and services within the platform that can be configured to protect your applications and data.
  • Security anywhere – expanding security capabilities beyond the cloud platform to protect your assets regardless of location.

In this section, we will compare some of the key features of Google Cloud security vs Azure security.

Compliance

With the continuing rise in regulatory control of information by both governments and industry, compliance of your cloud platform is critical. Both Google and Azure implement stringent security policies and processes ensuring they meet some of the toughest compliance requirements including CSA STAR, GDPR, HIPPA, PCI-DSS, and a range of ISO standards.

To date, Azure compliance is the highest of any cloud provider, meeting 90+ compliance standards across 50 global regions. Google compliance is also impressive, meeting 45 compliance standards.

Encryption

Encryption of your data is a critical requirement, regardless of whether it’s in the cloud. Encoding the data ensures that – should it be intercepted – it is almost impossible to decipher without a decryption key.

Within their cloud infrastructure, Azure and Google Cloud support encryption as default using 256-bit AES. They also offer you the ability to control your own encryption keys and deliver encryption at rest and in transit. Google refers to its service as the Cloud Key Management Service, while Microsoft refers to its Azure service as Key Vault

Firewalls

Firewalls provide the first line of network defence for any infrastructure. Both Google Cloud and Azure provide state-of-the-art firewalls, offering you configuration capabilities through firewall rules so you can control who has access to the network.

Azure offers additional firewall-as-a-service products including its Azure FirewallAzure Web Application Firewall, and the newly launched Azure Firewall Manager, all of which are cloud-native.

In comparing these two cloud giants, we’ve been seeking the same answer that many quests for: which is better Google Cloud or Azure?

Having completed an extensive exploration and compiled our research, the honest answer is we still don’t know. Both providers offer an incredible range of high-quality products and services, each with a long list of pros which far outweigh the cons.

Google’s accelerating popularity and success is reflected by the doubling of its annual cloud revenue run-rate, reducing both Azure market share along with AWS market share. If you care about speed and pricing, the Google Cloud Platform is one you want to check out.

Azure has also made great strides in recent years. A result of Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, shifting the company to a ‘cloud first’, ‘mobile first’ strategy. Like Google, Microsoft continues impressive datacentre expansion plans and is heavily investing in improving its network infrastructure.

Azure’s compliance, redundancy, and availability capabilities make it a hugely appealing platform. With the platform also seeing impressive growth of 60% over the past year, likely set to continue.

But we’re still only scratching the surface. Taking a wider perspective, the constant competition between leading cloud providers can only be a good thing. As they seek to gain market share from each other, we’ll reap the benefits of new and improved products and services, wider availability, and lower prices. Long may it continue.

Secure IT Consult is capable of helping you answer this question in a way that speaks to your organisation. While in a general sense we cannot decide on who is better, we can help you understand which works better for your organisation, and how to position yourself with the best services, the best provider, and the best setup to get your cloud ascension up and running in the very best way possible.