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When to use Google instead of Amazon's cloud

Brandon Butler | Jan. 29, 2014
Cloud consultants Cloudyn say for some AWS users, it could be time to move over to Google's cloud.

Google cloud
Credit: GoogleInside a Google data center. Should you run your cloud workloads here instead of in Amazon's cloud? Cloudyn will help tell you the answer.

Generally, GCE and AWS are similar services: They both offer compute and storage on an as-needed basis, meaning that customers can spin up and down IaaS services without having to invest in capital hardware. AWS has been offering cloud-based IaaS services for much longer than Google, so the company has a head start in the dozens of services it offers from its cloud and the reliability of those, says Cloudyn's co-founder and Vice President of product Vitally Tavor. GCE, meanwhile has only a handful of services, but the offerings it has put out in the market are generally higher-performing, giving customers more theoretical bang for their buck.

So, is it time to switch your AWS workloads over to GCE? Tavor says for some applications, the answer could be yes.

Generally, for short-lived applications that require a high-performance machine, Google's cloud seems to be a good fit for them, Tavor says. For complicated applications that are hosted in the cloud for a long period of time and that use a variety of different types of cloud-based services — from warehouse database to load balancers to domain name systems and content delivery networks — AWS still seems like the better choice, he says.

One easy way to determine if you're a candidate to migrate workloads from AWS to GCE is to look at what AWS services are being used and see if those are available in Google's cloud. Google has a base compute, storage, database and data analytics (named BigQuery) offerings. The AWS equivalents of those are Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Elastic MapReduce (EMR).

Of Cloudyn's users, about half of them only use the basic compute and storage services in AWS's cloud, which Google also offers. So, they could theoretically move those workloads over to GCE, says Sharon Wagner, co-founder and CEO of Cloudyn. The other half of Cloudyn's customers use advanced features in AWS's cloud which Google has not yet rolled out and therefore they may not be as ideal candidates for moving applications over to GCE, he says.

One major difference between AWS and GCE is the pricing scheme. AWS has three pricing options for customers: 1) The default is on-demand, which are spun up and spun down at a customer's request with no long-term commitment; 2) Spot instances that are acquired in a biding auction and can be less expensive but are best for fault-tolerant applications because the services can be interrupted unexpectedly at any time; 3) Reserved instances are less expensive (by up to 65%) than on demand but require a long-term one or three year contract.


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