Assessing Cloud Backup Solutions: AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud
Take a look at what each of the three leading cloud vendors has to offer for backup and data storage.
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Since data ranks as one of the most important resources of any organization, protecting data becomes a top priority. When assessing cloud backup solutions, ensure that the solution fits the organization like a glove. Otherwise, you might be forced to spend valuable resources on trying to fit the organization into the solution.
This article covers the top three cloud computing solutions and their backup and recovery features.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers on-demand cloud computing services for private and public entities. AWS provides customers with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) features such as computing power and database storage at prices that promote scalable business growth.
AWS Performance and Reputation
In terms of seniority and experience, AWS ranks highest in the IaaS cloud computing market. Since its inception in 2006 as a subsidiary of Amazon, AWS pioneered the cloud computing sphere by continually introducing new features and improving existing infrastructure. In 2018, AWS ranked first in Gartner’s report Magic Quadrant for Cloud IaaS Worldwide, and it now dominates a third of the IaaS market.
The popularity of AWS is due to its ability to provide an extensive list of over 140 services while retaining a stable high level of reliability, quality, and security. AWS provides documentation and support to help professionals learn how to make the most out of the services offered on the platform. The global reach and enterprise-friendly services of AWS make it an ideal platform for projects that require managing massive amounts of data.
AWS Storage and Backup Services
AWS Backup service provides a fully managed and user-friendly backup solution for all AWS services.
Key Features of AWS Backup:
- Centralized configuration for backup policies and visibility across all AWS resources.
- Automation and prioritization of previously manual backup tasks and processes.
- Available for on-premise clouds via the AWS Storage Gateway.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is a cloud-based object storage service. Amazon S3 was designed to provide developers with a scalable, fast, and simple storage infrastructure. Amazon S3 provides customers with the same data center regions the global Amazon.com e-commerce platform uses—fourteen as of yet. Choosing a data center region close to the point of origin of the data promotes fast data transfer.
Amazon S3 Long-Term Backup Features as Provided by Amazon S3 Glacier:
- Low-cost storage pricing for data archiving and long-term backup.
- Fast retrieval of data from large scale archives.
- A Deep Archive class for secure and durable object storage for long-term backup
Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) is a cloud-based block storage system. EBS is most commonly used for storing persistent data from Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)—a cloud-based Virtual Machine (VM) service.
EBS Backup Features:
- Amazon EBS storage volumes are automatically replicated in the EBS Availability Zone. There, the data is kept safe on a file system regardless of whether the EC2 instance is on or shut down.
- For professionals interested in saving on storage costs, AWS offers a solution for incremental backups aptly called EBS snapshots. Snapshots capture only the most recent changes on the device, eliminating the need for high volumes of duplication.
AWS Storage Gateway is a hybrid storage service that connects on-premise resources to AWS cloud computing environments. Storage Gateway capabilities promote an easy set up of backup and archive processes.
Storage Gateway Functionalities:
- Compatible with Amazon EBS, Amazon S3, and Amazon S3 Glacier.
- Easy data transfer with the popular iSCSI and NFS storage interfaces.
- Supports three data-transfer modes: objects, block storage volumes, and tape backups.
AWS offers flexible pricing that allows customers to choose the financial model that fits their business or project best.
On-Demand—pay only for services rendered as needed. You may opt out at any time and discontinue using the service. AWS offers volume-based discounts and saving for reserved instances.
AWS Free Tier—offers a variety of free usage for different AWS services. While some offers are made available for free without time limitation, others may expire after a 12 months period of use or less.
Since the pricing methodology is complex, AWS provides a variety of resources that help customers optimize and calculate costs.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service that offers enterprise-grade IaaS, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions. Azure provides customers with functionalities for the entire production cycle, such as the popular VM solution for scalable and fast computing power.
Microsoft Azure Performance and Reputation
Since its launch in 2010, Microsoft Azure has gained a reputation for providing high-end enterprise-ready cloud computing services. Azure’s focus on hybrid cloud networks helps customers migrate their data to the cloud while keeping their on-premise resources. Azure provides security and privacy controls that enable real-time threat response.
Azure offers organizations a robust set of cloud computing resources compatible with many coding languages and tools. Azure’s offers DevOps and the Internet of Things (IoT) teams functionalities such as the Azure Resource Manager and Azure IoT Edge. However, Azure data management is mainly manual with barely any automation features.
Microsoft Azure Storage and Backup Services
Azure Storage provides scalable and secure cloud storage for data, workloads, and apps. Azure offers a variety of storage solutions for standard file storage, blob storage, REST-based object storage. Azure provides a data lake solution for big data and a queue storage for large-volume workloads.
Azure Backup service is a simple and user-friendly backup solution for all Azure resources.
Key Features of Azure Backup:
- Simple—Azure Backup is built into the platform, providing customers with a unified backup solution.
- Fast—Azure Backup provides backup support in one click.
- Secure—Azure Backup enables data encryption for long periods and provides multifactor authentication controls.
Azure Site Recovery is a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution built into the Azure platform.
Key Features of Azure Site Recovery:
- Simple and fast set up—all you need to get started is to replicate an Azure VM to another Azure region.
- Easy maintenance—the service provides automatic recovery functionalities.
- Compliance controls—Site Recovery enables disaster recovery testing that doesn’t compromise running workloads.
Microsoft Azure Pricing
Microsoft Azure allows customers to customize the payment according to the needs of the organization. The sophisticated on-demand model provides a high level of pricing optimization and budget control that promotes scalable growth.
Key Criteria in Azure Storage Pricing:
- Amount of storage
- Geographical location
- Frequency of storage access
- Data redundancy type
Key Criteria in Azure Backup Pricing:
- Instance size
- Storage capacity
- Support is priced separately and starts at $29 per month.
To help customers control the budget, Azure provides a cost calculator.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provides over 50 cloud computing services. GCP resources for storage, data, and Machine Learning (ML) are provided as IaaS, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). GCP is highly-customizable and provides open-source support.
Google Cloud Performance and Reputation
The first Google Cloud Storage service was launched in 2010. During the following years, Google has turned a simple service into a comprehensive solution capable of competing with AWS and Microsoft Azure. In 2018, GCP made its first appearance in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant as a leader in the field of cloud computing. Today GCP is available in 58 zones and 19 regions.
GCP’s strength lies in its technical expertise and experience in deep learning, Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and data analysis. In addition to being highly data-centric, GCP customers benefit from the powerful, reliable, and secure Google client infrastructure. All GCP resources are protected by built-in security protocols and can be managed from the Cloud Console.
Google Cloud Storage and Backup Services
GCP Storage provides cloud storage solutions that help companies of any size scale as needed. GCP offers storage solutions compatible with objects, blocks, files, and server content.
Key GCP Storage Services:
- Cloud Storage—for objects and blobs, images, pictures, and videos, and unstructured data.
- Persistent Disk—for block storage for virtual machines and containers. Provides snapshots for backup.
- Cloud SQL—a MySQL and PostgreSQL service for structured data, OLTP workloads, and web frameworks.
GCP Archival Cloud Storage provides cost-effective solutions for backup, archival and disaster recovery. GCP classifies data according to the desired frequency of access to the data and provides two options of cloud archives.
- Coldline—for cold storage. Can be used to store data that is accessed no more than once per year, typically for archiving and disaster recovery purposes.
- Nearline—for warmer storage. Can be used to store data that is accessed frequently throughout the year but no more than once per month, usually for backup and long tail multimedia content purposes.
GCP Backup isn’t supported in GCP. While GCP offers a variety of services that may be customized or re-purposed for backup, there is no official GCP backup solution. Customers can integrate with a variety of third-party providers as listed in the GCP partners page.
Google Cloud Pricing
GCP provides customers with two pricing tiers based on the level of usage:
- GCP Free Tier—offers free use of their services up to a certain capacity, as specified in the pricing page, and credits or discounts that allow 12 months of free trial on any GCP product.
- GCP Paid Tier—offers a variety of on-demand customizable pricing models that promote the optimization and scalable growth. GCP offers pre-built packs for different storage usage along with their regular list price.
GCP prides itself on its innovative pricing features that provide advanced pricing customization and optimization.
The three cloud computing companies covered in this article offer robust services and customization control to help customers find or create the right solution for their organization. In terms of backup solutions, each company has a unique strength that can help in determining which service to choose.
- Microsoft Azure strength—its simple and user-friendly built-in backup solution and recovery solution for all Azure resources.
- AWS Backup strength—automated centralized configuration of backup solutions for all AWS cloud services.
- GCP strength—low-cost solutions for archiving large amounts of data and easy integration with third-party providers.
Alternatively, organizations can utilize the strengths of more than one cloud provider by creating a multi-cloud infrastructure.
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