Google Says Its Cloud Prices Are Lower Even After AWS Cuts

Google claims that a spec-to-spec comparison shows its prices are between 15 and 41 percent lower than those of Amazon Web Services.

Google, AWS cloud prices

Days after Amazon Web Services announced price cuts on its cloud services, Google has responded, but not with price cuts of its own as some might have expected.

Instead, Google has released a comparison of its cloud prices with those of AWS. The comparison reflects what Google officials said are its lower prices, even after the Amazon cuts.

In a blog post, Miles Ward, global head of solutions for Google's Cloud Platform group cautioned the company's cloud platform customers about details in Amazon's pricing model that continue to make the AWS cloud more expensive than Google's own.

"While price cuts sound appealing on the surface, when you unpack the specifics of Amazon's pricing model, it can be an unpleasant surprise," he claimed. Customers locked into existing contracts with Amazon often are not eligible for the new prices or often get stuck with cloud instances that no longer are suitable for their needs, he said.

Amazon last week rolled back prices by up to 5 percent for certain cloud configurations running Linux. The cuts are available to customers in the United States, Europe and certain parts of the Asia-Pacific region that have signed up for Amazon's On-Demand, Reserved Instance or Dedicated Host service plans. The price reductions apply to what Amazon calls its C4, M4 and R3 cloud configurations.

Amazon said it has reduced prices, but by a smaller amount, for customers using the same instance type to run Windows, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux workloads. Some of the price reductions are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016, and will be reflected in the statements that customers receive at the end of the month.

"If you are keeping score, this is our 51st price reduction," Amazon AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr said in the blog post announcing the price cuts.

But, according to Google's Ward, comparable Google cloud instances are still between 15 percent and 41 percent less expensive than AWS.

Features like Google's automatic Sustained Usage Discounts and its new Custom Machine Types option allow users to acquire and pay for only the resources they actually use. So when an exact spec-to-spec comparison is made, the AWS Standard M4 configuration at $87.60 monthly is still 37 percent more expensive than Google's comparable instance type, which is available at $54.82 monthly, Ward said.

Similarly, at $102.20, Google's n1-standard-4 core instance is about 16 percent lower-priced than Amazon's comparable R3 HighMem instance, which costs $121.18. Meanwhile, Google's Custom 2 core, 3.75GB instance at $44.66 is as much as 41 percent cheaper than Amazon's C4 HighCPU instance at $76.65.

Google Cloud Platform pricing is flexible to accommodate different requirements, Wade claimed. Organizations are not required to commit to any specific price call, machine type or region ahead of time in order to get the best discounts. "Our combination of lower list prices, sustained use discounting, no prepaid lock-in, per-minute billing, Preemptible VM's and Custom Machine Types offers a structural price advantage that's unmatched in the industry."

Google's bid to play up its claimed price advantage needs to be viewed in the context of its overall position in the cloud market space. Though Google has been growing its presence here, Amazon continues to dominate the space. Numbers released by investment firm Market Realist last November, for instance, pegged Amazon's market share at 36.9 percent in the third-quarter of 2015 compared to Google's less than 5 percent stake.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.