Is Google Cloud catching up to AWS?

Google Cloud Platform vs AWS: what’s the deal? Now that Google Cloud Platform has solidly secured its spot to round out the “big three” cloud providers, I think it’s time to take a closer look and see how the underdog matches up to the 800-pound gorilla.

As they’ve been known to do, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all released their recent quarterly earnings on the same day. Of course, the headlines touted AWS dominance in the cloud war. With all major cloud providers reporting earnings at the same time, we have an ideal opportunity to examine the numbers and determine if there’s more to the story. Here’s what the quarterly earning reports tell us:

The obvious: Google is not surpassing AWS

When it comes to Google Cloud Platform vs AWS, presently we have a clear winner. Amazon continues to have the advantage as the biggest and most successful cloud provider on the market. While AWS is growing at a smaller rate now than both Google Cloud and Azure, Amazon’s growth is still more impressive given that it has the largest market share of all three. AWS is the clear competitor to beat as the first successful cloud provider, with the widest range of services, and a strong familiarity among developers.

The less obvious: Google is gaining ground

While it’s easy to write off Google Cloud Platform, AWS is not untouchable. Let’s not forget that 76 per cent year-over-year growth is nothing to scoff at. AWS has already solidified itself in the cloud market, but Google Cloud is just beginning to take off.

Where is Google actually gaining ground?

We know that AWS is at the forefront of cloud providers today. At the same time, AWS is now only one among three major cloud providers. Google Cloud Platform has more in store for its cloud business in 2018.

Google’s stock continues to rise. With nearly 2,495 new hires added to the headcount, a vast majority of them being cloud-related jobs, it’s clear that Google is serious about expanding its role in the cloud market. Deals have been made with major retailer Kohl’s department store, and payments processor giant Paypal. Google CEO Sundar Pichai lists the cloud platform as one of the top three priorities for the company, confirming that they will continue expanding their cloud sales headcount.

In discussing Google’s recent quarterly earnings, Pichai added his thoughts on why he believes the Google Cloud Platform is on a set path for strong growth. He credits their success to customer confidence in Google’s impressive technology and a lead in machine learning, naming the company’s open-source software TensorFlow as a prime example. Another key component to growth is strategic partnerships, such as the recent announcement of a deal with Cisco, in addition to teaming up with VMware and Pivotal.

Driving Google’s growth is also the fact that the cloud market itself is growing fast. The move to the cloud has prompted large enterprises to use multiple cloud providers in building their applications, such as Home Depot Inc. and Target Corp., who rely on a combination of cloud vendors. Home Depot in particular uses both Azure and Google Cloud Platform, and a spokesman for the home improvement retailer explains why that was that intentional: “Our philosophy here is to be cloud agnostic, as much as we can.” This philosophy goes to show that as long as there is more than one major cloud provider in the mix, enterprises will continue trying, comparing, and adopting more than one at a time, making way for Google Cloud to gain further ground.

Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, put it best:

“There won’t be just one successful player. There won’t be 30 because scale really matters here in regards to cost structure, as well as the breadth of services, but there are going to be multiple successful players, and who those are I think is still to be written. But I would expect several of the older guard players to have businesses here as they have large installed enterprise customer bases and a large sales force and things of that sort.”

Google Cloud Platform vs. AWS: Why does it matter?

Google Cloud Platform vs AWS is only one battle to consider in the ongoing cloud war. The truth is, market performance is only one factor in choosing the best cloud provider, and as I always say, the specific needs of your business are what will drive your decision.

What we do know: the public cloud is not just growing, it’s booming.

Just as with an Azure vs AWS comparison, the basic questions remains the same when it comes to choosing the best cloud provider:

Right now AWS is certainly in the lead among major cloud providers, but for how long? I will continue to track and compare cloud providers as earnings are reported, offers are increased, and price options grow and change. To be continued in 2018…

Chris Parlette, Director of Cloud Solutions, ParkMyCloud
Image Credit: Melpomene / Shutterstock