May 23, 2019   |   6min read

Amazon Web Services vs. Google Cloud Platform—Tips for Business

When is a good time for a company to invest in cloud services? What do the cloud platforms offer and which one to choose? To find the answers to these and more AWS and GCP related questions, we sat down with Google Cloud Architects and Polidea’s engineers Darek and Jarek.

In this article you’ll learn about:

  1. cloud computing technology,
  2. the main differences between Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services,
  3. the key issues and challenges you should consider when choosing AWS or GCP,
  4. how can you overcome these obstacles.

What are Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform in general?

Both AWS and GCP represent solutions that can be defined as cloud computing technology. This means these platforms provide, aggregate, and support all kinds of resources needed to build a working infrastructure for any company. This includes both software and hardware, especially computing power and data storage in the form of server farms.


Principal Software Engineer
Businesses should consider using cloud suits when in need of shared resources, safety protection, or budget cuts.

Businesses should consider using cloud suits when in need of shared resources, safety protection, or budget cuts. It is much easier, safer, and cost-effective to create a whole easily-accessible set of tools based on cloud services. There’s no investment barrier, as you pay only for space and tools you actually need at the moment. What’s more, you can scale your infrastructure by adding up to your order anytime. And on top of that, there are a whole bunch of people responsible for keeping your resources up and running 24/7 so your tools and data can be more protected from hacks and natural crises like power outages (as long as you keep basic precautions like distributing your data on multiple zones).

It’s like office space—you don’t necessarily need to build a whole skyscraper with a parking lot, canteen, kindergarten, and everything when you are starting a business. It’s perfectly fine to rent one office from an outside provider at the beginning. Let someone else carry the cost of investment and responsibility for the sustenance.

So speaking briefly, what we would name among key benefits of using either AWS or GCP is:

  • scalability,
  • agility,
  • safety,
  • optimization of costs and processes.

How would you describe AWS and GCP in simple words?

Amazon Web Services is a daughter company of Amazon. It is one of the oldest and definitely the most widely used cloud platform. The complex suite contains simple features, mix and match, and pay only for what you’ve used.

Google Cloud Platform is a cloud computing suite providing work management tools, but also other cloud services like data storage and analytics—all based on the main Google infrastructure.

What are the differences between AWS and GCP?

There aren’t that many technological differences between AWS and GCP. The main would include the lack of elastic search in the Google suite. Still, GCP is in our opinion more friendly to developers in general—open source resources, community (there’s even documentation on how to switch from AWS to GCP!). Plus, the user interface, obviously, is different (the UI of AWS seems a bit rusty, to be honest).

If you are a software house, you need to adapt to different working conditions, keep up with all kinds of cloud service providers, know how to integrate and migrate data, so this is what we do and why we try not to be too picky.


If so, would you name any differences from the business perspective?

First of all, the brand. There are a lot of connotations, including the level of brand awareness and authority, around these two big brands and they are applicable to cloud services, too.

Secondly, also a bit obvious trait—localization of the company (and of the servers).

Third, none the less obvious—pricing (everything depends on the scope of services you choose and your region).

However, the key difference when it comes to working with either Amazon or Google cloud computing services is the customer experience. There’s a significant contrast with the way they approach you as a potential or existing client. With GCP there’s a lower entry barrier as you get educated about the brand starting with marketing content, ending on precise open-source documentation presented by the community. Plus, there are opening discounts and loans. When it comes to AWS, on the other hand, there are a lot of professionals who know the platform inside out so you can easily save on training.

From our experience, Google’s strategy is to sway the IT team and build the decision-making process more organically—bottom-up, while Amazon keeps the classic way, acquiring clients through traditional channels, from executives who make the purchase decisions and then convince the teams to work with what they got—top-down.

Would you say GCP is more suited for startups and AWS for enterprises?

Yes and no. Inherently—definitely not. Both Amazon and Google provide services suitable for all sorts of businesses, big and small. You can choose either, no matter the size and level of your company.

There are, however, customary practices resulting from historical conditions. It is natural for any competitive market to get employed on many levels. Since AWS is known as the oldest cloud services provider, throughout the time, they acquired the biggest fish in the sea. They have large global companies in their client portfolio so they are naturally more trusted by enterprises. Besides, AWS services have been used in many big companies for years and, as we know, it is neither easy nor cheap to change anything in large-scale corporations who simply stick to their choice. On the other hand, Google offers a lot of facilities, discounts, and training programs for startups, which is probably why they are more eagerly chosen by young companies.


Lead Software Engineer
The key difference when it comes to working with either Amazon or Google cloud computing services is the customer experience.

What kinds of challenges or issues should businesses consider when deciding between AWS and GCP?

What we would recommend thinking about beforehand is:

  • the process of migration (if you are switching from yet another platform like i.e. Azure),
  • user management (it’s better to check the scale to which the platform goes and how it is - aligned with your business strategy),
  • authentication processes (the whole G-Suite has it as simplified as possible),
  • localization (there are some political issues with cloud services, for example in China or Russia),
  • GDPR issues (especially if you are storing customers’ data),
  • rising costs (for example when it comes to machine learning projects, it might be a good choice to give up the cloud and set your own hardware).

How to overcome these obstacles?

It’s definitely worth having a professional DevOps engineer on board, who will find a way to deal with all kinds of issues that come along with both AWS and GCP. There are people specializing particularly in specific kinds of infrastructures, including Azure as well, so in big companies, there should always be a person responsible.

At Polidea, as a development studio, working with many clients who use different tools, we need to stay agile as well. We are proud to have certified Google Cloud Architects among our team members which is the outcome of our experience with the platform on global projects.

When it comes to the mentioned issues, we have much experience with overcoming most of them. What we recommend to our clients, for example with GDPR compliance, is to take care of getting needed certificates (provided by outside companies, if needed) and make sure the specific servers they use are located in the territory of the respective country.


Final thoughts?

All in all, AWS and GCP are cloud services providers that are not much different. There’s no perfect choice between the two, as there are pros and cons to both of them. From the software development professionals perspective, it would be best to combine and integrate all kinds of cloud computing solutions to have all needed features in one platform. This is what was presented on the Google Cloud Next conference as the newest hybrid product—Anthos. Will this be the ultimate answer to the burning question of which to use: AWS or GCP? Time will tell.

If you’d like to learn more about cloud computing services click here, or simply drop us an email—our experienced engineers are here to help!

Dariusz Aniszewski

Lead Software Engineer

Jarek Potiuk

Principal Software Engineer

Katarzyna Kempa

Content Specialist

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If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!