Azure free tier, AWS or Google Cloud, which one to choose?

Google Cloud PlatformGoogle recently launched a free offer for the Google Cloud Platform, for users with small storage, database, and network needs. Providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure already offer some free levels of service. See below how to compare them.

Free Tier Google Cloud Platform

Google cloud free makes computing and storage available. The full list of free tier products covers just about everything you need to build modern cloud-based software, including the Container Engine and cloud features.

As it is only a Free Tier, it offers a small usage ceiling. On Compute Engine, for example, the user has limited to a single instance of F1-micro: 20% of a virtual CPU and 600MB of memory.

Already in the US, it is available with 30GB of persistent storage per month (5GB of instant storage) and 1GB of US network egress per month for each discrete egress destination (US, Asia, and Europe). For static sites or minimal apps, that’s a fine tune, but any more ambitious project is going to feel restricted.

What is necessary to understand is that with the Container Engine, which runs Kubernetes, you have just a basic cluster of five nodes while the cluster is free, each node of the cluster has the standard costs of the Compute Engine, that is, it is not possible to build large projects with a Free Tier.

Some advanced functionality is also included for free, such as the Cloud Vision, Speech, and Natural Language APIs, available primarily for testing and not for production use. These functionalities also have usage limits. Speech, for example, offers 60 minutes per month.

Google had already offered a limited set of free-use credits for new Google Cloud Platform customers. That offer continues to be valid for new enrollments, who can earn $300 credit, for the first 12 months (previously 60 days).

What’s totally new is Always Free, a no-cost utilization level available for many Cloud Platform products. It’s ideal for use when starting a startup, for developers to test their prototypes, or even for minimal public applications, such as low-bandwidth, static sites.

AWS Free Tier

Amazon has a free model with no expiration date and another free offer for the first twelve months. In the first option, if we compare with Google, they do not offer some resources such as virtual machines, for example, which are only found in the 12-month free offer.

But, the machines you get in the free 12-month window on AWS are a bit more robust than the ones offered by Google, with 1GB of RAM, and allow for Windows Server instances. With Google, Windows Server images are billed separately.

The free AWS layer without term also does not include bandwidth (available only in the 12-month offer, which also includes 15 GB of bandwidth, added to all services used). However, you get up to 1 million free AWS Lambda requests per month, plus 4,000 Step Functions, helping you deploy simple applications.

Other great development resources are available at the AWS level, including AWS CodeBuild, CodeCommit, and CodePipeline. However, they are all limited in terms of time and resources; CodeBuild for example only entitles you to consume 100 minutes per month.

AWS’s no-term free tier does not include access to any of its machine learning or AI APIs, such as Amazon Rekognition, Polly, or Lex for object detection, text conversion, and conversation, respectively.

They also have relatively low prices to start with: Rekognition, for example, starts at $1 per 1,000 images. Rekognition and Polly have a few free offers, but they are only available in the first twelve months after enrollment.

Azure Free Tier

Azure also has free credit for new customers and a free tier of service. But, as with Amazon, computing and bandwidth are not available in the free tier. Instead, you receive a myriad of lesser items, many of them geared towards developing rewards for higher-level users.

It is still possible to do reduced app development and planting in the free litter. The App Service offers up to 10 free apps and you can have up to five Visual Studio Team Services users with basic access to version control and CI at no cost.

It is possible to get virtual networks at no additional cost as long as you pay for the traffic itself. If you need Azure Active Directory, the free tier provides up to 500,000 directory objects for free.

When it comes to machine learning resources, Azure has some free, production-restricted layer options in Azure Machine Learning Studio but you get just 10GB of storage, a maximum of 100 modules, and an hour of execution per experiment.

Also, there is no SLA on the free layer for the Studio, so there are no guarantees that anything you run on it will be completed in business time.

For you who are starting your travel journey and want to test the use of the cloud, the 3 free tier options are good. It is important that your company choose which one is best suited to your project so you can clear up any doubts about which cloud is the best option for your business.

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