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Pricing Database Hosting Services — Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud

Author: Eric Russo | 5 min read | May 25, 2017

The movement of data centers into warehouses in the cloud is one of the great tech stories of our time. Giant database providers Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform have dramatically reduced the cost of data storage, making the gathering and analysis of Big Data a possibility for even small and medium enterprises. To help enterprises make those cloud computing decisions, Datavail has just released a white paper: Comparing Database Services Within the Leading Public Clouds. This post is a summary of the pricing information in the white paper.

Pricing cloud database hosting is not a clear-cut proposition. While gigantic savings are there compared with building and maintaining your own data centers, cloud pricing is structured so differently for each of the providers that it is difficult to compare. For example, Amazon AWS rewards customers for reserving instances years in advance and paying for them in advance. Google Cloud, on the other hand, builds the discounts in automatically, so that the greater your runtime, the deeper your discount. It’s not easy to compare those two pricing systems, but that hasn’t kept us from trying.

Below is a guide to key variables in pricing Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. We’ve also included some of the lesser variables that come into play based on your specific configuration and the software you plan to use. There are many more issues to look at besides base pricing in a full assessment of costs and benefits of migrating databases to the cloud. Download the white paper from Datavail for a detailed comparison of these three database-hosting services.

Pricing Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon prices cloud storage based on “Reserved Instances,” or RIs. You aren’t reserving the instance but you are establishing the price you will pay for the instance when used.

Pricing is based on many factors, including how long in advance you reserve and whether you pay for it upfront or not:

  • Duration Discounts. Instances may be reserved for periods of one year in advance or three years in advance. For a one-year advance RI, the base discount is 29%. For a three-year RI, the base discount is 35%.
  • Advance Payment Discounts. Payment for reserved instances can be nothing upfront, partial upfront, or all upfront. There is no added discount unless some or all the RI is paid for in advance. Payment in full upfront adds 10% to the duration discount.

Pricing Microsoft Azure

Microsoft offers discounts to customers with a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) resulting in discounts of 15% to 45%. EA customers add Azure to their agreements, along with upfront payment, in exchange for a variety of discounts and services.

Azure offers five size categories for your virtual machine:

Size Cores Memory
Extra Small




Extra Large






768 MB

1.75 GB

3.5 GB

7 GB

14 GB


Pricing Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Google offers “Sustained Usage Discounts” (SUDs) that are reductions based on the runtime for the instance. Longer runtimes earn deeper discounts. If an instance were running 60% of the month, for example, the discount would be 40%.

Here’s the breakdown:

Runtime Discount




60% off

40% off

20% off

0% off


Other Factors in Pricing AWS, Azure and Google Cloud

How big is an instance? It varies from provider to provider and based on the characteristics of the specific instance being used. Memory size can vary by as much as 100% between providers. You could end up paying half the stated rate with GCP but if you get only 50% of the memory in an instance, it’s not a discount.

On-demand rates from Amazon, Microsoft and Google do not include any of these pricing discounts. On-demand rates between the three providers can vary by more than triple depending on the CPU and SSD. For example, a U.S. East Region instance for a Linux server is only $0.076/hour from Google if it’s on a HighCPU 2 vCPU with no SSD. For HighMem 2 vCPU with SSD, the rate is $0.238/hour, or more than three times as much.

Other factors affecting pricing include:

1. Billing Increment: AWS bills in hours used, Azure in minutes used, and Google in 10-minutes increments.

2. Regions: The rates for AWS and Azure vary by regions, with Asian regions costing up to 50% more. Google charges the same for all U.S. regions and 10% surcharge for European or Asian regions.


Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud have made Big Data computing more readily available to enterprises large and small with inexpensive database hosting services in the cloud. Comparing the pricing between them is not easy. It requires understanding quite a few characteristics of your current system and your desired improvements to tailor a cloud hosting solution and then calculate the pricing. You can use free trials to work up a configuration and price it out. But price is just one element of comparison and not the most important.

For a thorough comparison of Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS, including computational muscle, storage options, networking capabilities, analytics available — and pricing — download the white paper from Datavail. For assistance assessing and migrating your databases to the cloud, contact Datavail today.

Datavail is a specialized IT services company focused on Data Management with solutions in BI/DW, analytics, database administration, custom application development, and enterprise applications. We provide both professional and managed services delivered via our global delivery model, focused on Microsoft, Oracle and other leading technologies.


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