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Differences between Google Cloud Storage and Amazon S3

Most companies are on the market for cloud services or are actively migrating their entire infrastructure to the cloud. From scalability to improved security and from reduced costs and better flexibility, the advantages of cloud computing cannot be overstated. More and more companies have ventured into providing cloud computing services, but Google and Amazon are the ones worth looking into.


However, choosing between the two cloud giants can be difficult, and this article will equip you with all the knowledge necessary to make an educated choice.

CloudMounter is a Google Drive solution

What is Amazon S3?

Amazon’s Simple Storage Service or Amazon S3 offers object storage services with impressive scalability, security, and increased performance. The service was launched back in 2006 as the first cloud computing service, with competition only appearing a few years later. Amazon S3 quickly attracted businesses through its high functionality and scalability, dominating the market. We wrote in much more detail in our Amazon S3 definition article, and we invite you to check it out for an in-depth look into the service.

Amazon’s Simple Storage Service

What is Google Cloud Storage?

Google Cloud Storage was launched in 2012 to serve as direct competition to Amazon S3. As soon as they hit the market, they could challenge previous assumptions on cloud storage by offering 15GB of space free of charge. This move showed that anyone could have access to cloud computing if they had access to the internet. The Google Drive service was launched simultaneously as Google Cloud Storage, and you can check our mount Google Drive tutorial for more information.

Google Cloud Storage

Basic distinction between the two tools: Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage

The first aspect we need to address when comparing Amazon S3 to Google Cloud Storage is their storage system. There are two different principles under which the platforms offer storage: file and object. A better understanding of the two principles is required to choose between the two products.

Amazon S3 offers object storage, meaning that data is manipulated into units stored in a flat environment without any organization or hierarchy. Files and their metadata will form a single object. The object will have a unique name or ID number to help the user navigate the data once it is stored. You upload documents, images, or videos, and they will be transformed into an object that will remain stored in S3.

Google Cloud Storage has implemented an easier to understand principle that has data organized under a hierarchy model. The information is stored using files that are moved into folders, and the folders themselves are later organized in directories and subdirectories. This method allows users to upload files from their devices that can be later retrieved by navigating the folders. Surprisingly, the file storage method is newer than Amazon S3’s object storage. Google Cloud Storage uses the FUSE adapter to store files in buckets, later converting them to the file system.

Amazon S3 vs Google Cloud Storage, which is better?

Equipped with a better knowledge of the storage system implemented by the two services, we can better focus on their advantages and disadvantages. However, we won’t be simply listing the pros and cons. Instead, we will take a direct comparing approach to answer most of your common questions regarding the comparation between Google LLC and Amazon Web Services.

Why is Amazon S3 better than Google Cloud Storage?

Let’s take a closer look at the main benefits of the storage solution offered by Amazon when compared to their Google counterparts.

High Scalability

The next topic when discussing the difference between S3 and Google Cloud Storage is scalability. Scalability means that the services will continue to function as advertised even if you change the size or volume of your files. In layman’s terms, Amazon S3 performance will not be affected if you store more and more files on the platform; instead, it will grow accordingly.

Durability

Other services will find it hard to compete with the Amazon S3 service regarding durability. Their services were designed to offer upwards of 99,99% durability, meaning that they have reduced the risk of data loss to almost nothing.

Cheap Prices

When you first check the prices of Amazon S3, you won’t find significant differences compared to Google Cloud Storage. However, the flexibility offered by their “pay-as-you-go” approach makes the services far more affordable over the long run. The Amazon S3 services will set you back approximately 3 cents per GB stored, and the price will lower as you store more data on the cloud. This pricing scheme makes Amazon S3 the leading choice for large corporations. Companies with an immense number of assets will find it far more financially viable to pay only when they need access to specific assets. Another important aspect worth considering is that Amazon S3 does not have extra charges for each separate feature, unlike Google Cloud Storage.

Service Variety

Amazon S3 is only of the services provided by Amazon, among 175 others at the time of writing this article. This impressive number of fully-fledged services gave them the reputation of a mature cloud provider, best suited for enterprise level. It goes without saying that Amazon S3 is fully compatible with most of the other services provided by the company. For example, your development team can benefit from app deployment AWS services, or they could directly configure the storage infrastructure as required. Overall, the variety of the services offered by Amazon dramatically improves flexibility.

Versioning

You want to avoid clutter at all costs, and version control is mandatory to ensure that your storage won’t turn into a total mess. The Amazon S3 client version control will allow retrieving both older revisions as we all deleted files, meaning that all revisions will be available in one place. Google Cloud Storage also supports versioning, but Amazon won’t charge you for using this feature.

Automatic Data Migration

Another critical advantage Amazon S3 has over Google Cloud Storage is the sheer number of data migration options. The migration can be completed using Rsync or the Glacier interface resulting in a transition that won’t cause so many issues for your business and can best assist with large data transfers. Additionally, the automatic import and export features will save time and money.

Google Cloud Storage is much slower than S3

Google Cloud Storage has some advantages that we will cover later in the article through their file storage method. However, latency is not one of them. This is mainly because a new HTTP connection needs to be established for each file resulting in speeds three times slower than Amazon S3.

And why is Google Cloud Storage better than Amazon S3?

Is Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service better than Google Cloud Storage from all aspects? That is not the case, as plenty of companies prefer GCS. Let’s find out why.

15 GB Free of Charge

Large companies won’t even blink twice when they receive 15 GB of space. However, the individual user or a startup might use this offer as a building block for their future endeavors, especially if they don’t have to pay for the service.

Maximum File Size

Google Cloud Storage might just be the ideal service if you want to store large amounts of data. While Amazon S3 is better at transferring data, they cannot compete with Google regarding storage. The maximum file size accepted by Amazon S3 is 5GB which is only a fraction compared to the whopping 5TB offered by Google.

Market Share

Amazon S3 has better geographical availability when compared to Google Cloud Storage, covering an additional zone. However, the market share is skewed in favor of Google that has almost triple the user base.

Getting started with GD is much easier

The Amazon S3 signup process is far more tedious and complicated when compared to Google Drive. Before you even get access to the storage, you will have to create a new AWS account, tweak the management console, and update yourself on the differences between IAM and root. Google Drive only requires that you have access to a Google account, which almost everyone does, and you can start using the storage functions. Through Google Drive, you can work on a project that your entire team can access without creating separate AWS accounts.

User-Friendly Interface

Similar to getting started, you need to allocate time before familiarizing yourself with the Amazon S3 web interface. First-time users will find the interface highly confusing as they browse through different buckets or objects. On the other hand, the Google Drive interface is highly intuitive, thanks to its great UI/UX design.

Innovation

Both companies have departments working relentlessly to keep everything modern and updated according to industry standards. However, Google has been more successful in implementing innovations in recent years. They are developing machine learning, AI and allowing users access to powerful data analytics.

Effortless Public Sharing

Both cloud computing services allow users to share files with the public. However, the process is far more tedious for Amazon S3. With Google Drive, you can easily create an URL that anyone with the link can access. To share the same files through Amazon S3, you will need to put in considerably more effort, going over the bucket settings and tweaking public permissions. The whole process might appear intimidating, especially to newer users. Google Cloud Storage also fully encrypts the data when you share it with the public, while Amazon S3 opts for a more general data encryption format.

Data Retention

The last important feature featured on Google Cloud Storage services and not by Amazon S3 is data retention. Google allows users to keep their files permanently after tweaking the retention rules. This feature can come in handy if you want to figure out when files have been created or modified.

AWS S3 vs Google Cloud Storage: Pricing and Storage

Pricing is the most challenging aspect when comparing the services from Amazon and Google. Both providers implement different pricing methodologies that feature many variables. So, figuring out what service is the best choice for your business or project requires thorough research.

As previously mentioned, if you go with the cloud storage offered by Google, you get 15 GB for free right from the start. However, if you’re running a large operation, you’ll probably need a lot more than that. From here, you have several plans to expand your storage space, depending on your needs and budget.

  • Business Starter – offers 30 GB cloud storage for €4.68 per month for each user
  • Business Standard – 2 TB storage at €9.36 monthly per user
  • Business Plus – 5 TB at a price tag of €15.60 per month
  • Enterprise – there’s basically no storage limit on this plan

On the other hand, Amazon S3 also offers you several free tier plans to go for if you don’t have to upgrade to a paid version. These free plans can offer up to 100GB such as the AWS Storage Gateway which can be enough for a small business. However, if your needs exceed this storage space, you’ll need to choose one of the following services that charge by GB:

  • S3 Standard – General Purpose Storage
  • $0.023 / GB for the first 50 TB
  • $0.022 / GB for the next 450 TB
  • $0.021 / GB for everything over 500 TB

Amazon S3 vs Google Cloud Storage: Security

When talking about cloud storage services, security is crucial. It’s expected from tech giants like Google and Amazon to offer the best security features to their customers. However, when it comes to uploading sensitive data on the cloud, it’s better to have a clear idea of what security features each platform displays.

Google Cloud Storage

Google decided to go for several intertwining security layers to make sure customers get the best possible data protection. We’ll break them down for you:

  • Transport Layer Security – through HTTPS transport-layer encryption, Google makes sure you are fully protected against any data leakage over shared links. On top of that, the platform uses bearer tokens for OAuth2 authentication to protect your data from being reused or being eavesdropped. Finally, there’s the mutual TLS for the Cloud Storage API, which enables the client to always verify the server certificate and vice-versa.
  • Local File Security – your locally stored files are protected through file protection mode 600 on the configuration files generated. This means that only the user, or superuser, will be able to read it.

Amazon S3

Amazon’s S3 equivalent security protocols deliver the same cutting-edge protection for all data stored online. However, their approach is a bit different and more thorough, if we’re honest.

  • Block Public Access – you can easily activate the Block Public Access to any bucket in the account. This setting overrides any S3 permissions that allowed public access in the first place and it makes it easier to administrate your sensitive data.
  • Object Lock – through Object Lock, Amazon S3 offers users the possibility to prevent object version deletion during a chosen period. This way, you can enforce a retention policy for extra security and prevent any unwanted modification or access.
  • Amazon Macie and AWS Trusted Advisor – by automatically offering a full inventory of all S3 buckets, Macie helps you discover and protect sensitive files. On top of that, the AWS Trusted Advisor is like a security assistant that gives you constant updates and suggests actions to maintain a high level of security.

Transfer Files Between Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage

If you have accounts on both these cloud storage solutions, or you decide to migrate from one to another, there are several ways to do so. First of all, you should rest assured knowing that both services come with complete documentation and tools when it comes to transferring files from one to the other.

Google Cloud Storage offers the VPC Service Controls and Storage Transfer Service while the Amazon S3 alternative is called Amazon EMR. However, if you’re not familiar with databases and have considerable computer knowledge, there’s a big chance you’ll have a hard time using any of these tools. Both require some coding skills and a long series of commands and actions that can take lots of time to implement.

If you’re determined to use the native transfer tools you can check out these pages that contain full instructions – Google Cloud Storage and Amazon S3. However, if you want a user-friendly alternative that doesn’t require any programming skills or advanced computer knowledge and doesn’t come with any sort of file size limit, you can just use CloudMounter.

An Application that Makes Working with Cloud Storage Even More Convenient and Secure

Using CloudMounter to transfer data from Google Cloud Storage to Amazon S3 and vice-versa is, by far, the easiest, most secure, and user-friendly way. The app allows you to mount Amazon S3 cloud and Google Cloud Service as local disks and then make any modifications just like you would move files and folders on your hard drive.

Not only that you will be able to mount both cloud storage solutions and simplify the data transfer between them, but you’ll also get features like bucket selection for Amazon S3, or complete Finder integration for the Google equivalent service.

Furthermore, on top of the security protocols offered by both online storage space providers, CloudMounter adds another encryption layer. It will be impossible for anyone else to access your data without being given access. The app also offers Keychain support you all your credentials will be stored safely in the macOS keychain while navigating through the cloud-stored data is possible from Finder or File Explorer.

CloudMounter

Price: $44.99
Free version: Download
Mac App Store version: Available here
Cloudmounter - Google Drive client manager

Mount Amazon S3 on Your Computer using CloudMounter

1

Download and install the app from the official website.

2

Open Cloud Mounter and select Amazon S3 from the list of supported services.

3

Choose a name for the new connection.

4

Insert the access key and secret key in the fields requesting this information.

5

Insert the server endpoint.

6

Choose a specific bucket by inserting its name or just use the root directory by typing “/” in the “Bucket” field.

7

Once all the data is filled in, CloudMounter automatically detects the region.

8

Press “Mount” and you’re good to go.

Use Google Cloud Services as a Local Drive with CloudMounter

1

Download CloudMounter and install it on your computer.

2

Choose Google Drive from the list of available services.

3

Insert the Google Drive credentials.

4

Click “Mount”.

Our Conclusion

After going through all the features for each cloud storage service and a thorough comparison on crucial aspects like rates, speed uploading, security, or storage space, it’s time to draw a conclusion.

When you compare Amazon S3 to Google Cloud Services, the first observation is that Amazon’s cloud storage solution is a better fit for large corporations that require massive storage space and fast operations. Also, S3 is more flexible and works best with other Amazon services.

On the other hand, Google Drive is a tool that serves small businesses and individual users better. The fees for using the Google Cloud Services are also lower in comparation to Amazon S3. If you’re not tech-savvy and are looking for speed uploading and ease of navigation through data from any device, Google is your best bet.

However, why choose between the two services when you can simply combine their power and benefits? CloudMounter enables you to enjoy the best of both worlds – Amazon S3 and Google Drive. You can choose to mount one one account or both at the same time and transfer files with ease through copy/paste or drag and drop. The app is constantly updated by its developers so you won’t have to worry about outdated versioning or anything else.

Frequently Asked Questions
Of course, the Amazon S3 is a dedicated cloud storage solution offered by the American tech giant. It offers storage various storage solutions that are free or come with versatile price plans, according to your needs.
While Google Cloud Storage and Amazon S3 have some similarities, it’s hard to say that the two services are the same. This article thoroughly analyzes the solutions by comparing crucial aspects and features so you’ll find all your answers above!
Google Drive or any other Google Cloud Services solution can be considered the equivalent of Amazon’s S3 platform. However, the Amazon S3 Bucket and Object functionality aren’t offered by any of the Google online storage solutions.
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CloudMounter

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  • Requirements: Mac (Mac OS X) macOS 10.12 49.65MB of free space.
  • Version 3.11.698. (). Release notes
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Also available for Windows