Businesses of all sizes are taking their first steps into the cloud. From email to online backups (see our post on cloud backups), there are plenty of services available for companies to utilize. One cloud service, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is becoming more popular than ever. This allows major data centers around the world to host virtual servers that are set up for use on an hourly fee basis. Companies such as Amazon, for instance, have been successfully providing IaaS solutions with their EC2 service. A new player in the market, Google, is unveiling Google Compute Engine. I had the chance to look at and compare Google and Amazon’s offerings.
Right from the start you notice that Amazon has far more operating systems available than Google. While with Amazon you can select from various versions of Windows and Linux, Google only allows you to choose Linux (Ubuntu and CentOS to be exact). This is a major advantage for Amazon. Many programs designed for business needs are made for Windows and not Linux. If Google wants to be a bigger competitor in the small to medium business market, expanding to a Windows environment is something they should offer.
Both companies offer several different locations where you can host your servers. Amazon, again, has more availability than Google, with data centers in Virginia, Oregon, California, Tokyo, South America, Ireland and Singapore. Google is limited to the United States, broken up into US East and US Central. If you have overseas offices this could be an issue.
Another major deciding factor for which service to use could be the price. With both services, the price is determined by the size of the computer you are building and how long you are keeping that server on. In IaaS terms, the predetermined sizes of the machines are called instances. Logically, the larger the size of the instance, the more expensive it is to host. Because of the flexibility of IaaS, you are by no means limited to these sizes. In the table below I have compared Amazon’s and Google’s large and small instances:
Both have a lot of major features like firewalls for security and static IP addresses for web hosting or external access. From my standpoint, go with Amazon. They are affordable and easy to use. I have worked more often with Amazon and rarely have had an issue with their service. They have little to no downtime and have a website to keep you updated with the information they have (server status, downtime notices, etc). Though Google is not new to the cloud computing arena, they are to IaaS. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye out for them in the future. Google is very good at adapting and keeping themselves relevant.