Is there a big price difference between AWS, Azure and Google?

In cloud computing, you previously used to hear the same argument all the time, use Azure if you’re a .Net business, otherwise use AWS. But with the growth of Cloud computing over the years, this competitive arena now has three top providers; Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud looking to compete by lowering prices. With AWS and Azure having a long established track record in the cloud industry and Google Clouds offering still relatively new, comparing the pricing features each company has to offer may give a clearer picture of who to choose for your business.

Is there a big price difference between AWS, Azure and Google?

Calculating cost is a complex task. To provision correctly, you first have to consider compute power, memory resources and networking needs before attempting to calculate the lifecycle of the required job, the capacity resources needed and personnel required. Even though all the main providers offer tools to help with this process, it is still a daunting task to get clarity.


AWS charge on an hourly basis with the price rounded up. Azure and Google both charge based on one minute intervals, with Google having a ten-minute minimum start up. While they all have On-Demand price categories AWS offer two extra, reserved instances (RI) and spot instances. Azure offer Enterprise Agreements (EA) and Google offers Sustained use and Inferred instances.

So what does all this mean when it comes to choosing a cloud provider?

As On-Demand pricing is the most common model used by AWS, Azure and Google it is also the most expensive. Full price is paid for use, but network costs and persistent storage is extra. However, it is the most flexible option. You use what you require, when needed, with no long-term commitments or up-front fees.

The Amazon EC2 reserved instance offer by AWS is an upfront commitment made by the user for capacity reservation of a specific instance type, specific OS, and specific Available zones. This is done for a set period of 1 or 3 years (up to 75%) and more cost efficient than On-demand. Two types are offered by AWS, standard or scheduled. Payment can be made in All-upfront, Partial-up front or non-upfront method. Greater discount is determined by the method of payment chosen and if your requirements change you can modify or sell your reserved instance.

Spot Instances can be obtained through bidding in an auction for reserves of On-Demand instances. This is the least expensive pricing model for EC2 and with discounts as high as 90%. However, these can be terminated at any time with a 2-minute warning before termination. This services is preferable for computing needs which are not tied to any deadline i.e. Flexible workloads, where computing needs are large i.e. when you need to increase performance, and were interruption of service is acceptable i.e. testing . This was highlighted at a recent AWSome day conference at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on 9th June 2016.

Azure Enterprise Agreement (EA) offer customer’s significant discount on the purchases of Azures resources and software licences. These up-front payments can vary so regular checking of your EA for precise pricing and rates is required.

Google Sustained use is a discount given without commitment or upfront payment it allows the customer to use and run an instance for a significant portion of the billing month you can qualify for a maximum 30% discount. This is an automatic discount and can be viewed at the end of the month on your bill. However, this makes it hard to forecast a project cost until you see your monthly bill.

Inferred Instances

Computer engines give you the maximum available discount using combined multiple, non-overlapping instances in the same zone into a single instance for billing. Because of this, you are more likely to qualify for sustained use allowing customers to gain a high discount

Which one should you choose for your Business?

Companies preparing for migration to the cloud need to do their homework to ensure all their company’s requirements are established. It is clear that the discounts offered by AWS, Azure and Google is due to increased competition and prices are coming down. However,  careful planning and professional consultation would be advisable. While AWS are the biggest and most established cloud provider,  Azure and Google are growing rapidly and offering some similar services.

Which one to choose for your business is as personal as choosing a new car. They all have a different spec but offer similar packages.  Just remember,  acquiring the right tool for the right job on an international scale requires a reliable, professional, established company that offers the required functionality to meet your needs. So make sure you choose wisely!

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