Comparing Cloud Providers

Amazon groups its Infrastructure as a Service offerings into the four categories of Compute, Storage and Content Delivery, Database, and Networking.

Both Amazon and Azure have come up with provided cost calculators to get a good idea of bills upfront.


Microsoft Azure Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Available Regions Azure Regions AWS Global Infrastructure
Compute Services Virtual Machines (VMs) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
Cloud Services
Azure Websites and Apps
Amazon Elastic Beanstalk
Azure Visual Studio Online None
Container Support Docker Virtual Machine Extension (how to) EC2 Container Service (Preview)
Scaling Options Azure Autoscale (how to) Auto Scaling
Analytics/Hadoop Options HDInsight (Hadoop) Elastic MapReduce (EMR)
Government Services Azure Government AWS GovCloud
App/Desktop Services Azure RemoteApp Amazon WorkSpaces
Amazon AppStream
Storage Options Azure Storage (Blobs, Tables, Queues, Files) Amazon Simplge Storage (S3)
Block Storage Azure Blob Storage (how to) Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS)
Hybrid Cloud Storage StorSimple AWS Storage Gateway
Backup Options Azure Backup Amazon Glacier
Storage Services Azure Import Export (how to) Amazon Import / Export
Azure File Storage (how to) AWS Storage Gateway
Azure Site Recovery None
Content Delivery Network (CDN ) Azure CDN Amazon CloudFront
Database Options Azure SQL Database Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)
Amazon RedshiftAURORA
NoSQL Database Options Azure DocumentDB Amazon Dynamo DB
  Azure Managed Cache (Redis Cache) Amazon Elastic Cache
Data Orchestration Azure Data Factory AWS Data Pipeline
Networking Options Azure Virtual Network Amazon VPC
Azure ExpressRoute AWS Direct Connect
Azure Traffic Manager Amazon Route 53
Load Balancing Load Balancing for Azure (how to) Elastic  Load Balancing
Administration & Security Azure Active Directory AWS Directory Service
AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
Multi-Factor Authentication Azure Multi-Factor Authentication AWS Multi-Factor Authentication
Monitoring Azure Operational Insights Amazon CloudTrail
Azure Application Insights Amazon CloudWatch
Azure Event Hubs None
Azure Notification Hubs Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)
Azure Key Vault (Preview) AWS Key Management Service
Compliance Azure Trust Center AWS CLoudHSM
Management Services & Options Azure Resource Manager Amazon CloudFormation
API Management Azure API Management Amazon API Gateway
Automation Azure Automation AWS OpsWorks
Azure Batch
Azure Service Bus
Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)
Amazon Simple Workflow (SWF)
Visual Studio AWS CodeDeploy
Azure Scheduler None
Azure Search Amazon CloudSearch
Analytics Azure Stream Analytics Amazon Kinesis
Email Services Azure BizTalk Services Amazon Simple Email Services (SES)
Media Services Azure Media Services Amazon Elastic Transcoder
Amazon Mobile Analytics
Amazon Cognitor
Other Services & Integrations Azure Machine Learning (Preview) Amazon Machine Learning
Logic Apps AWS Lambda (Preview)
Service Bus AWS Config (Preview)


If you want to deploy software containers with Docker, you should look at Amazon’s EC2 Container Service (ECS) and EC2 Container Registry (ECR);

To store objects (that is, pretty much anything), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is the service that’s been running the longest, and as such it has extensive documentation, including free webinars, tons of sample code and libraries, articles and tutorials and very active discussion forums where Amazon developers provide very useful feedback on a regular basis.




Microservices introduce new challenging architectural tasks like load balancing, service discovery, containerised applications, etc.

Google Cloud Compute offers Kubernetes out of the box, which is an open source and popular microservice orchestration technology based on Google’s expertise.

Amazon Web Services tackles the problem with proprietary services like Amazon ECR, Amazon ElasticBeansTalk etc. They are valid tools but unlike Kubernetes they tend to make the applications cloud platform dependent.

Digita Ocean does not provide any tool or service, after all to cut the costs their policy is to provide just virtual machines with limited additional service.


Choosing the cloud platform is not an easy task, if I had to write a guideline in few sentences I would say:

  • DigitalOcean for small or highly customised projects. Good to cut infrastructure costs when few servers are required and there are system administrators who can install and mantain the applications.

– Amazon Web Services from startups to big projects. Good to leverage the great offer of services out of the box and simplify the system administration especially in big teams, while paying attention to hidden costs.

– Google Cloud Compute from startups to big projects. Good to leverage Google’s open source technologies and services and save some infrastructure cost.




Amazon AWS tends to be the most expensive in terms of infrastructure (IAAS) costs and DigitalOcean the cheaper, while GCP (Google Cloud Platform) is in the middle. Anyway the DigitalOcean price list is the simplest, while the Google‘s one is more structured but still transparent and discounts are applied automatically. Amazon Web Services looks cheap but sometimes with hidden costs, in addition the procedure of getting discounts for continue use is no way as simple as the Google’s automatic discounts approach.

DigitalOcean, to cut the price, has a do-it-youself approach, it provides virtual machines and basic funtionalites like DNS or additional disks, all the rest is left to the system administrator.

DigitalOcean requires more system administration work, while Amazon AWS can greatly redure the administration time

Amazon EC2 is free to try. There are four ways to pay for Amazon EC2 instances: On-Demand, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances. You can also pay for Dedicated Hosts which provide you with EC2 instance capacity on physical servers dedicated for your use.


service provider GB/month
Block Storage w Rackspace Cloud $0.12
Cloud Files w Rackspace Cloud $0.1
Cloud Storage w Google Cloud Platform $0.026 (standard) / $0.02 (DRA1)
Data Lake Store w Microsoft Azure $0.04
Simple Storage Service (S3) w Amazon Web Services $0.03 (standard) / $0.0125 (infrequent)
Storage w Microsoft Azure $0.024 (LRS2) / $0.048 (GRS3) / $0.061 (RA-GRS4)
  1. Durable Reduced Availability
  2. Locally Redundant Storage
  3. Geographically Redundant Storage
  4. Read-Access Geographically Redundant Storage


For the specs and details, see Amazon Glacier, Cloud Storage Nearline by Google, and Azure Backup; and check also the archiving solutions these providers offer — Data Archive by AWS, and Backup and Archive by Azure.

service provider GB/month
Cloud Storage Nearline Google Cloud Platform $0.01 (storage) + $0.01 (retrieval)
Glacier w Amazon Web Services $0.007
Storage w Microsoft Azure $0.01 (LRS) / $0.02 (GRS) / $0.025 (RA-GRS)

Aside from storing and archiving, they provide more specific options, such as Amazon CloudFront targeted for building a content delivery network (CDN), same as Google’s Cloud CDN and Azure’s Content Delivery Network. But if you have more exotic requirements, make sure you check their sites.


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