These days if your business isn’t using a public cloud vendor then you’re likely to be behind. The role public cloud providers play in shaping the enterprise IT landscape cannot be understated. They provide infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service solutions in addition to any number of cloud based products. According to Gartner, the worldwide public cloud market is forecasted to grow to $411 billion by 2020. One strategy companies use is to leverage multiple cloud vendors in order to take advantage of each platform’s capabilities. Deciding on which platform to use can be daunting but as Scott Carey notes, the three largest providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offer a free tier that allows you to give them a test run before sinking a portion of your budget into one.
Since last year, Google Cloud Platform has offered a free tier. Always free offers a $300 free credit to get started with any GCP product within the first 12 months. Limited use of products includes 28 instance hours per day and five GB of cloud storage for Google App Engine, one GB of storage for Google Cloud Datastore, and no cluster management fee for clusters of all sizes on Google Kubernetes Engine. Other products and services include Google Compute Engine, Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud Vision API, Google Cloud Speech API and more.
Microsoft Azure also offers free credit though only for $200 to explore services for 30 days. Additionally you get 12 months of free services, with limits, These free products include Linux and Windows Virtual Machines capped at 750 hours, five GB of file or blob storage, 250GB of SQL database storage and 15 GB of networking bandwidth. Along with the limited services, Microsoft offers free access to more than two dozen Azure services such as Machine Learning Studio, Bing Speech API, Security Center and Container Service.
Carey notes that the free tier on AWS is similarly limited to Google Cloud Platform both in duration and limits placed on the services. The always free portion includes access to products such as 1 million monthly requests to Lambda, but misses out several core services. The 12 month tier features these core services such as 750 hours per month of EC2, 5,000 speech requests per month for Lex, and five GB of storage on S3.
In the end a single winner can’t be chosen because each company’s needs will be unique. Google is singled out for having higher limits than its competitors allowing developers a chance to create more fully realized prototypes. Azure and AWS are noted for offering unique products such as Lex or the Face API.