Syed Saif AWS Azure Cloud Expert

  Syed Saif   Syed Saif Linkedin Profile | AWS, Azure and GCP Pricing For a Startup workload.

For a startup or a small business, comparing and deciding among AWS , Microsoft Azure and Google (GCP) Cloud is not easy. With 100’s of services, features that are not the same across AWS , GCP , Azure cloud and complex pricing options, it becomes very confusing.

In this post I compare the pricing of AWS, Azure and Google cloud for a set of core services. If you are already using AWS , Azure or GCP Cloud, this post will provide insights into whether you could have reduced costs by opting for a different cloud provider.

Before we get into pricing comparison of AWS , Microsoft Azure and GCP, below three points are equally important when choosing a cloud provider.

    • Services Availability: Ensure that the services and features you need are available in the desired cloud region. 
    • Skills:Your dev team should be familiar with the cloud provider you choose. Be it AWS , Azure or GCP cloud. Else it will require additional learning and waste precious time.
    • Cloud Infra Support:Expertise is required during initial cloud infra setup(architect and provision), for regular proactive management and timely support for any issues or failures. Ensure you have inhouse expertise or access to the right cloud expertise at reasonable rates. Else you will end up firefighting on a daily basis to address routine issues and costly security misconfigurations.

Let’s get down to comparing the pricing across AWS , Azure and GCP. I have taken a basket of services(Table-1) that a Startup or anyone new to cloud usage , typically uses during the initial stages. It is at this stage that costs play a vital role and every dollar saved counts. Apart from choosing the right cloud option and optimizing usage, you can avail Free Startup credits to reduce costs.


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Table-1: Services Considered for Comparing Pricing of AWS , Azure and GCP.
Item AWS Azure Google (GCP)
Server EC2 Instance Virtual Machines Compute
Disk Storage Elastic Block Storage Managed Disks Persistent Disks
Object Storage S3 Blob Cloud Storage
Load Balancer Network Load Balancer Network Load Balancer Cloud Load Balancing
CDN CDN (India) CDN Zone-5 (India) Cloud CDN (Asia)
Region Asia Pacific – Mumbai India – West India Asia South-1( Mumbai)

Table-2: Pricing of AWS , Azure and Google (GCP) Cloud Compared.
Costs incurred per month in USD.
Item AWS Azure Google (GCP)
LinuxServers t3.xlarge (4cpu/16GB) $129.00 B4ms (4cpu/16GB) $171.00 e2-standard4 (4vcpu/16GB) $112.00
Disk Storage SSD 128GB $12.00 SSD 128GB (Disk E10) $11.00 SSD 128GB $15.00
Object Storage 500 GB $13.00 500GB(Disk E10) $13.00 500GB $12.00
Load Balancer 500 GB $17.00 500GB(Disk E10) $18.00 500GB $22.00
CDN-Data Served 1000 GB $109.00 1000 GB $158.00 1000 GB $90.00
Data Transfer 500 GB $55.00 500 GB $55.00 500 GB $55.00
Total Costs incurred per month   $335.00   $426.00   $306.00

1.Disk size 128 GB is taken since Azure does not provide configurable disk sizes. You need to select disks from predefined sizes (like 32GB , 64GB , 128GB,etc). In AWS and Google you can provision disks as per required size in 1GB increments.
2.Disk storage , Load balancer and object storage have additional pricing factors like number of http requests, number of rules, etc. These are taken as the minimum defaults.
3.On-demand/Pay as you go pricing is considered. Other billing options like Reserved Instances, Savings plans from AWS , Committed usage discounts from Google and Reserved Virtual Machines from Microsoft Azure helps to reduce costs. But all these come with commitments to use for 1 year or more.

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AWS , Azure or Google (GCP) Cloud?
It is clear from Table-2 Microsoft Azure is higher than AWS and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) by at least 25% for the services considered. Services that are costly in Microsoft Azure are CDN and Virtual Machine pricing.

If your use case involves high CDN usage then Microsoft Azure cloud becomes a costly affair. If you are not going to use CDN or it is minimal then the Virtual Machine pricing is the next item you need to check and decide.

Database Pricing
One key item that is not covered in the pricing, but is a key component in any product, is the database. If you plan to host the database and manage yourself then only the EC2 instance/Virtual Machine pricing is relevant. The cost differential factor(25% higher for Microsoft Azure) still holds.

But if you want to avoid the hassles of installing database, configuring , patching , replica management , monitoring, backups ,etc then you have options like AWS RDS-Mysql , Azure Database for MySQL , Google Cloud MySQL.

The above comparison shows that you can end up paying upto 25% more if you choose the wrong cloud option. As mentioned in the beginning of this blog , choosing a cloud provider involves services availability, skill sets and support. Pricing is just one of the factors. So do consider all these factors before deciding.

If you are not sure or don’t have the expertise then take help from experts. You can consult me here and clarify any queries on choosing , managing , securing or reducing cloud costs.

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