Google Cloud for Azure professionals

Updated Dec 03, 2020

This set of articles is designed to help professionals who are familiar with Microsoft Azure familiarize themselves with the key concepts required in order to get started with Google Cloud. The guide compares Google Cloud with Azure and highlights the similarities and differences between the two. In addition, the guide provides quick-reference mappings of Azure products, concepts, and terminology to the corresponding products, concepts, and terminology on Google Cloud.

This document doesn't attempt to compare the syntax and semantics of the SDK, APIs, or command-line tools provided by Azure and Google Cloud.

Why Google Cloud?

For over 20 years, Google has been building one of the fastest, most powerful, and highest-quality cloud infrastructures on the planet. Internally, Google uses this infrastructure for several high-traffic and global-scale services, including Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Search. Because of the size and scale of these services, Google has put a lot of work into optimizing its infrastructure and creating a suite of tools and services to manage it effectively. Google Cloud puts this infrastructure and these management resources at your fingertips.

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Regions and zones

As with Azure, Google Cloud products are deployed within regions located around the world. Each region consists of one or more data centers that are in geographical proximity to each other. Both Azure and Google Cloud further divide availability into zones, which are isolated locations within a region.

In addition, some Google Cloud services, such as App Engine and Cloud Storage Multi-Regional Storage, replicate and serve data at a multi-regional level rather than at the more granular region or zone levels. Google Cloud also provides a dual-region replication model for Cloud Storage and Compute Engine. As of April 2019, this feature is in beta.

For more details on zonal, regional, and multi-regional services, see Geography and regions.

Isolation and availability

By design, Azure pairs regions that are in the same continent and that are physically isolated from each other by at least 300 miles into availability zones. Azure encourages users to architect their systems and applications around these pairs, creating an active-active recovery setup for availability and isolation purposes. In addition, some Azure services, such as Blob Storage, have replication options that automatically replicate data across paired regions.

Google Cloud employs a similar strategy for isolation and availability, isolating regions from each other for availability reasons. Google Cloud does not prescribe specific regional pairings. However, as with Azure, you must architect your application across multiple regions if you want to achieve high availability. Also as with Azure, some Google Cloud services such as Cloud Storage Multi-Regional Storage and Cloud Storage dual-regional storage classes have built-in multi-region synchronization.

Accounts and quotas

To use an Azure service, you must either sign up for an Azure account or add Azure to your existing Microsoft Account. After you set up your Azure account, you can create a subscription within the account, and then launch services within that subscription. Each Azure account can support multiple subscriptions, and each subscription can use its own billing account if needed.

The Google Cloud model is similar to that of Azure. You get access to Google Cloud services by setting up a Google Account. An account is part of an organization, which is similar to a tenant in Azure.

You deploy resources that share the same management lifecycle within projects, which are functionally similar to resource groups in Azure. Projects often contain core common network or storage resources shared across the organization, or used to group resources for a set of common services or applications.

Folders are an additional grouping mechanism on top of projects, which are all mapped under the organization resource. For more information, see Cloud platform resource hierarchy.

Azure and Google Cloud both have default soft limits on their services for new accounts. These soft limits are not tied to technical limitations for a given service. Instead, they help prevent fraudulent accounts from using excessive resources. These soft limits also help limit risk for new users, keeping them from spending more than intended as they explore the platform. If you find that your application has outgrown these limits, Azure and Google Cloud provide ways to get in touch with the appropriate teams to raise the limits on their services.

Pricing

Because pricing tends to change more often than core features or services, this set of articles avoids pricing specifics where possible. However, each article discusses the pricing model behind each service wherever that's helpful. For up-to-date price comparisons for your solution, use the Azure pricing calculator and Google Cloud price calculator to see which configuration provides the best value in terms of flexibility, scalability, and cost.

Discount pricing

Both Azure and Google Cloud provide discounts for a subset of their respective services, but through different mechanisms.

You can get discounts on some Azure services through your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement by committing to a base-wide installation of one or more Microsoft Server or Cloud components with full Software Assurance coverage. If you don't have a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, you might also be able to get discounted rates through a reseller.

Google Cloud provides sustained-use discounts on a per-service basis based on your monthly usage. For example, Google Compute Engine offers sustained-use discounts based on the cumulative number of hours that a given virtual machine runs in a given month. If your resource usage is steady and predictable, you can also get heavily discounted rates through committed-use discounts. Committed-use discounts allow you to purchase a specific number of virtual CPUs (vCPUs) and a specific amount of memory at a discount over full prices, depending on the duration you commit to.

Support plans

Azure and Google Cloud approach their support plans in different ways. Azure bundles their support levels into subscription tiers. For more information on the available Azure support plans, see Azure Support Plans. As with Azure, Google Cloud provides basic account support and online help resources free of charge. Additionally, you can purchase Google Cloud paid support services. For more information on available support plans, see Google Cloud support plans.

Resource management interfaces

Azure and Google Cloud each provide command-line interfaces (CLIs) for interacting with services and resources. Azure provides both the Azure CLI, which is a cross-platform tool, and a set of Azure PowerShell cmdlets that you can install and use through Windows PowerShell or PowerShell Core. Google Cloud provides a set of command-line tools and PowerShell cmdlets through the Cloud SDK, a cross-platform toolkit.

Azure and Google Cloud also provide web-based consoles. Each console allows users to create, manage, and monitor their resources. The console for Google Cloud is located at https://console.cloud.google.com/. You can also use the Cloud SDK in your web browser by using Google Cloud Shell.

Core services

Cloud platforms provide a set of core services such as compute, storage, networking, and database services. Some core services include the following examples:

Category Azure Google Cloud
Compute Azure virtual machines, Azure App Service, Azure Kubernetes Service Compute Engine, App Engine, Google Kubernetes Engine
Storage Azure Blob Storage, Azure Managed Disks Cloud Storage, Persistent Disk
Networking Azure Virtual Network (VNet) Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
Databases Azure SQL Database, Azure Synapse Analytics, CosmosDB Cloud SQL, Firestore, Cloud Bigtable, Cloud Spanner

Each platform then builds other offerings on top of these services. Typically, the higher-level services can be categorized as one of the following types:

Category Azure example Google Cloud example
Application services to help optimize applications in the cloud Azure Service Bus Pub/Sub
Big data and analytics, AI, and IoT services to help process, interpret, and derive insights from large amounts of data Azure HDInsight Dataflow
Management services to help you manage your application and track its performance Azure Application Insights Cloud Monitoring

Service comparisons

The following tables provide a side-by-side comparison of the services available on Azure and Google Cloud.

For a detailed listing of Google Cloud products, visit Products and services.

AI and Machine Learning

Category Azure Google Cloud
Application integration Azure Cognitive Services AI building blocks
Auto-generated models Azure Machine Learning AI Platform
Notebooks Azure Notebooks AI Platform Notebooks
Vision Computer Vision AutoML Vision
VMs Data Science Virtual Machines AI Platform Deep Learning VM Image
GPUs GPU support on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) AI Platform Deep Learning Containers
Natural language processing Language Understanding (LUIS) Cloud Natural Language API
Bots Microsoft Bot Service Dialogflow
Recommendations Personalizer Recommendations AI
Speech Speech to Text Speech-to-Text
Text Text to Speech Text-to-Speech
Translation Translator AutoML Translation
Video intelligence Video Indexer Video Intelligence API

Compute

Category Azure Google Cloud
PaaS App Service, Cloud Services App Engine
IaaS Azure Dedicated Host Sole-Tenant Nodes
IaaS Azure GPU optimized VMs Cloud GPUs
Containers Azure Container Instances Cloud Run
Serverless functions Azure Functions Cloud Functions
IaaS Virtual Machines Compute Engine
IaaS Virtual Machines Scale Sets Instance groups
IaaS Azure Migrate Migrate for Compute Engine
IaaS Azure Batch, Azure Spot VMs Preemptible VMs
PaaS Azure SQL Cloud SQL for SQL Server
IaaS Azure VMware Solution Google Cloud VMware Engine

Containers

Category Azure Google Cloud
Registry Azure Container Registry Artifact Registry, Container Registry
Builds Azure Container Registry Tasks - build Cloud Build
Instances Azure Container Instances Cloud Run
Orchestration Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Google Kubernetes Engine

Data Analytics

Category Azure Google Cloud
Stream and batch processing Azure Databricks Dataflow
Discovery and metadata management Azure Datacatalog Data Catalog
Data integration Azure Data Factory Cloud Data Fusion
Stream data ingestion Event Hubs, Service Bus Pub/Sub
Batch data processing HDInsight, Batch Dataproc, Dataflow
Analytics Power BI Looker, Google Data Studio
Stream data processing Stream Analytics Dataflow
Analytics Synapse Analytics, Data Lake Store BigQuery

Databases

Category Azure Google Cloud
Cache Azure Cache for Redis Memorystore
NoSQL: indexed Cosmos DB Firestore
RDBMS SQL Database Cloud SQL, Cloud Spanner
NoSQL: key-value Table Storage Firestore, Cloud Bigtable

Developer Tools

Category Azure Google Cloud
Automated tasks Azure Automation Cloud Scheduler
SDK Azure SDK Cloud SDK
IDE Visual Studio Codespaces Cloud Code

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud

Category Azure Google Cloud
API management API Management Apigee, Cloud Endpoints
Management and orchestration Azure ARC Anthos
Connectivity Azure ExpressRoute Cloud Interconnect

Internet of Things (IoT)

Category Azure Google Cloud
IoT on Edge Azure IoT Edge Cloud IoT Edge TPU
Managed IoT Azure IoT Hub IoT Core

Management Tools

Category Azure Google Cloud
Billing Azure Billing API Cost Management
Shell Azure Cloud Shell Cloud Shell
Mobile management Azure mobile app Cloud Mobile App
Web management Azure Portal Google Cloud Console
Resource deployment Azure Resource Manager Cloud Deployment Manager

Media and Gaming

Category Azure Google Cloud
Encoding Azure Encoding Transcoder API
Gaming Azure PlayFab Game Servers

Migration

Category Azure Google Cloud
Data migration Azure Data Box Storage Transfer Service, Transfer Appliance
Database migration Azure Database Migration Service Database Migration Service
IaaS migration Azure Migrate Migrate for Compute Engine

Networking

Category Azure Google Cloud
CDN Azure CDN Cloud CDN
DDoS protection Azure DDoS Protection Google Cloud Armor
DNS Azure DNS Cloud DNS
Dedicated Interconnect ExpressRoute Cloud Interconnect
Load balancer Azure Load Balancer, Application Gateway Cloud Load Balancing
Traffic rules Azure Firewall, Network Security Groups Firewall Rules
Traffic management Azure Front Door, Azure Traffic Manager Traffic Director
Secure connectivity Azure Virtual Network Gateway Cloud VPN
NAT Azure Virtual Network NAT Cloud NAT
Traffic analysis Network Watcher Network Telemetry
Network security Web Application Firewall Google Cloud Armor
Virtual networks Azure Virtual Networks (VNets) Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)

Operations

Category Azure Google Cloud
Container monitoring Azure Monitor for containers Kubernetes Engine Monitoring
Monitoring Application Insights Cloud Monitoring
Logging Log Analytics Cloud Logging
Deployment Azure Resource Manager Cloud Deployment Manager

Security and Identity

Security

Category Azure Google Cloud
Data protection Azure Information Protection Cloud Data Loss Prevention
Secret management Azure Key Vault Secret Manager
Key encryption Azure Key Vault Cloud Key Management Service
Security management Azure Security Center Security Command Center
Security insights Azure Sentinel Chronicle
App verification Microsoft Azure Attestation Binary Authorization
Threat detection Microsoft Defender for Identity Event Threat Detection

Identity and Access

Category Azure Google Cloud
IAM Azure Active Directory, Azure AD B2C, Azure AD Domain Services Identity and Access Management (IAM), Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory
App access Azure AD Application Proxy Identity-Aware Proxy
MFA Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Titan Security Key
Policy Azure Policy Organization Policy Service, Policy Intelligence
Access control Azure Role-Based Access Control Identity and Access Management (IAM), Context-Aware Access

Serverless Computing

Category Azure Google Cloud
PaaS Azure App Service App Engine
Containers Azure Container Instances Cloud Run
Functions Azure Functions Cloud Functions
Workflows Azure Logic Apps Cloud Composer, Workflows

Storage

Category Azure Google Cloud
Archival storage Azure Archive Storage Cloud Storage Archive
Object storage Azure Blob Storage Cloud Storage
Reduced-availability storage Azure Cool Blob Storage Cloud Storage Nearline and Cloud Storage Coldline
Data transfer Azure Data Box Transfer Appliance
File storage Azure Files Filestore
Block storage Azure Managed Disks Persistent Disk, Local SSD

What's next?

Check out the Google Cloud for Azure Professionals articles for each service type: