The world is moving towards cloud technology, and with new innovations, there is a massive competition between top cloud service providers. To engage new users with the services, every cloud provider even offers a free tier, but only a few provide better services than others. Today, we are going to compare the free tier of three major cloud service providers – AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

Choosing amongst these three cloud vendors is a bit complicated, as all of them are known for providing excellent cloud services. But, the free tier service provided by them is a lot different than each other. Though the free tier is not enough for full production work, it’s enough to get an idea about how the services work without purchasing the subscription.

We also believe that testing free tiers can be great for organisations to check their capabilities before investing in one cloud service. For example, AWS has been a great successor in its early days due to its Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. But, now Google Cloud and Azure are also providing free access to their growing range of cloud tools and services. Thus, it becomes challenging for businesses to choose the best cloud service.

So, which cloud provider offers the most generous free tier today?

There are two categories of free tier for Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud:

  • The “limited-time for free” tier that offers specific services for 12 months on the first sign-up or registration, but in limited quantities only. Once the 12 months period is complete, you will be charged for the services according to usual rates.
  • The “Always free” tier that provides services available always for free, but there is a particular storage amount per month that you shouldn’t exceed.Now, let’s have a detailed look at all the free tiers.

Amazon AWS Free Tier

With AWS free tier, you will get 18 products and best services for free of cost with certain usage limits. The highlights of AWS free tier are as follows:

  • Amazon DynamoDB – With NoSQL database, you get 25GB of storage and 25 free units/month for reading and writing.
  • Amazon Glacier – You will get up to 10GB of free data from Amazon’s long-term data storage service.
  • AWS CodeBuild – Users can access free 100 build minutes/month on the build.general1.small instance type.
  • AWS CodePipeline – One free active pipeline/month.
  • AWS CodeCommit – Up to 5 users can access 50GB/month and 10,000 Git requests.

Microsoft Azure Free Tier

Microsoft Azure is known for delivering free credit to the new customers along with free service tier. With Azure free tier, you can avail £150 offers to explore services within 30 days. The highlights of Azure free tier are as follows:

  • Azure Active Directory – Avail up to 500,000 objects and 50,000 monthly users for free.
  • Azure App Service – Create up to 10 web, mobile, or API apps for free.
  • Azure DevOps – Get unlimited free private Git repos for up to 5 users.
  • Azure Functions – Make up to 1 million free requests per month.

Microsoft Azure also offers 5GB monthly free outbound data.

Google Cloud Platform Free Tier

In March 2017, Google announced an “Always free” tier with Google Cloud platform for businesses that have diffident usage needs. The “Always free” tier provides up to 1GB of Google Cloud data storage capacity. Other highlights of the free tier are as follows:

  • Google App Engine – You can use up to 5GB of Google Cloud Storage/day and run up to 28 front-end and nine back-end instance-hours with 1 GB of outbound data.
  • Google Cloud Functions – Each month you get two million invocations, included with 5GB of outbound network data, and 200,000 GHz-seconds of computing time.
  • Google BigQuery – Get up to 1TB free querying and 10GB of storage/month.
  • Google Cloud Storage – Free 5GB of regional storage in the USA, 1GB of outbound data, and Class A and Class B operations.
  • Google Cloud Source Repositories – Free 50GB storage and 50GB of outbound data for up to 5 users.
  • Google Compute Engine – For U.S. regions, one free f1-micro VM is available with up to 30 GB of storage and 5 GB of snapshots/month. You also get 1 GB of outbound data for all regions except Australia or China.

Apart from that, you also get limited access to products like Cloud Vision API, Google Cloud Natural Language, Kubernetes Engine, etc.

Conclusion

We compared the free tier for all the three major cloud providers. Now, it entirely depends on your usage and what you’re looking for. Google provides some extensive limits for developers to do prototyping. Also, it provides the most full-featured “Always free” tier. On the other hand, Azure and AWS have their own products that most organisations need in today’s market, such as Lex for building voice interfaces, Microsoft’s Face API for facial recognition, etc. So, you can examine the needs of your business, and then choose the specific tier amongst the three.

By Adam

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