Tale of the Tape: AWS vs. Google

Jeremy Sherwood

AWS vs. Google | Tale of the Tape

AWS vs. Google | Tale of the Tape

As an avid fan of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) , I couldn’t help myself but to take this opportunity to build my own Tale of the Tape.  The UCC (Ultimate Cloud Championship):  I see a url being purchased in my near future. (Dang.. Upper Canada Consultants beat me to it.)

Anyway, Google and AWS battling for cloud dominance is really a win for consumers of the cloud.  I couldn’t be more happy about Google stepping in the ring to go a few rounds with AWS.  This matchup will be one that all will want to watch; the Title Fight for who will be the undisputed cloud champion.  Like with MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) all it takes is one good punch and you have a new champion. 

The real challenge isn’t getting that one punch as much as it is defending the title.  In my opinion, AWS is the title holder.  Since AWS started their Cloud initiative back in 2002, all they have done is grow.  Just like any MMA title holder, the king of the ring has millions of people watching for the smallest weakness.  The choices in your training and diet regimen are constantly monitored both internally and by many critics. 

So, Amazon has had a few rough spots (outages) since they started, and yes, we have all heard about them.  With the last one back on October 22 of this year that interrupted service for Reddit, Foursquare, Minecraft, Heroku, GitHub, imgur, Pocket, HipChat, Coursera and a number of others. People still rally behind them like a cult following. 

When you have had that level of success and with monster company names like Netflix, Pintrest, many Government agencies, etc., you get a little depressed when things don’t always go perfectly.  Even with some speed bumps, Amazon has constantly grown year over year through platform adoption.  Also, what was initially intended to be dev sandboxes, has rapidly turned into stable production that millions and millions of dollars get processed through daily. 

You can’t really challenge that they aren’t the Cloud King today. Over the years there have been many who have tried to say they were as talented or strong, big enough, scale enough, etc. to compete with Amazon.  Some of the great examples of this have been Microsoft Hyper-v/ Microsoft Azure, RackSpace and OpenStack, Citrix Xen and CloudStack.  

Although all have great services in their own niches and markets, they just are not as dominate as AWS is today in the market.  So what makes Google a different type of fighter?  Two simple words: “It’s Google”. What makes Google a great contender compared to some of the other cloud fighters is Google has all the key components that make up a good fighter.

  1. Bodies:  Google has engineers (LinkedIn had somewhere around 14,107 engineer title positions on the active roster and I have read some other reports closer to 18k active engineers).
  2. Size: The size of the company plays a huge role; when I say “size of the company” it can be measured in a lot of different sizing models:  revenue, employee count, number of buildings owned, products being offered, awards won, how many cafeterias and barbers you have on campus, famous visitors, etc.  Clearly with Google, they win the size battle in many of these areas. (The Googleplex is home to scores of buildings, each with its own personality. With hundreds of bikes and scooters at employees’ disposal, getting around campus is easy. There’s beach volleyball, a bowling alley, a climbing wall, over 25 cafeterias, more than 100 micro-kitchens and seven fitness centers.)
  3. Market Awareness:  Market awareness and general customer and corporate acceptance:  IE daily use. There are very few people on the planet that have never heard the word Google. Let’s be honest, Merriam-Websters Dictionary made Google a word in the English language and with more than one meaning you’re not a small fish.  Google Defined.
  4. $$$$: Last but not least, the most influential factor, in my opinion, that makes Google a force to be reckoned with is their financial backing.  When your company’s current stock price makes most companies insignificant, that has to say something.

Despite who wins or loses on any given day, or who throws what big punch, (Google drops price by 20% during AWS Cloud Summit| Google increased instance types to 36) to me, the biggest excitement I find with this fight is the benefits that come to me as a user of the cloud.  When you think about it, what drives innovation? What drives cost reduction? What drives economic growth?  Simple. Capitalist. Competition. 

The key is to have a competitor that will push you to innovate, drive costs down, and allow the users of that service to make money/save money, so in turn, everyone wins.  Now I know I’m a little on the bleeding edge type. I have servers at my house, 2 racks of gear in a collocated data center, and have a handful of cloud accounts both with AWS and Google.  Let’s just say I like to hedge my bets and play with gear and the cloud. 

That being said, this fight between AWS and Google can even affect the average home user.  How you might ask? Well if AWS and Google continue to enhance and expand the services they already own, and continue to drop the cost of working in the cloud, the average household user will now be encouraged to leverage more SaaS services themselves and push more and more of their own personal assets to a cheaper, more reliable solution than USB flash drives and their laptops. 

It will provide a wake-up call for companies like DropBox, Box, Apple, and Microsoft  to sharpen their pencils and provide more when they have to start to compete with AWS and Google.  To me it is an easy transition. Google already has a huge amount of users, leveraging gmail, calendar, etc this is a stepping stone for one more thing pushing more and more businesses to their cloud.

It is the start of the more interoperable solution for the users.  It helps make it that much easier to blend work and personal, BYOD etc.  True Identity/ role based cloud harmony for the user.  AWS has the largest user group of developers building applications to run on cloud services. 

They have one of the most adopted and accepted APIs on the market. AWS has one of the biggest and fastest growing retail spaces that provides users with the Cloud Drive.  Don’t get me started with mobility, two words: Kindle and Android.  As you can see, both AWS and Google will now really start to fight on who can converge and unite both business and consumer personas first and best.

The true champion is yet to be found and will continue to be tested in the ring of Cloud adoption and interoperability.  And who knows, just like where I started this article with the UFC and MMA, it may end it there.  Although AWS and Google are preparing to fight in the octagon for the heavy weight title today, you can see by the list below just a few of the up and coming contenders that want their shot at the title as well. Man, it’s exciting. Competition

For more information on the AWS vs. Google war, here are a couple other great articles:

Read the other UCC match-ups: VMware vs Azure CenturyLink/Savvis vs Citrix Rackspace vs Terremark

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  • Brady

    Great article!. I agree that a couple giants competing like this will yield better innovations and pricing for end users – whether they be companies or individuals. And not just among the two big contenders but across the Cloud market in general.

    I also think that while there will usually be a “Champion defending their title” others will continue to exist in the market providing a choice for end users. So if I don’t like what AWS offers I can still utilize Google, or Microsoft or whoever.

  • I would just say one word – “AWESOME” :D