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GCE vs EC2: Comparison Between Google Compute Engine & Amazon EC2

By September 1, 2022May 18th, 2023No Comments

The cloud market is constantly changing. More and more businesses are recognizing the need for the right cloud computing service to help their business thrive on cloud. There are multiple cloud service providers that make identifying the best option for your business quite challenging. Two of the major services in the cloud market are Amazon EC2 and Google Compute Engine. Both of these can be used for a variety of tasks. Here we will look at a comparative analysis on GCE vs EC2 and help you decide what works best for your business.

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GCP Compute Engine and Amazon EC2 are two cloud providers that offer a similar service – virtual machines. But are they the same? The answer is no. They both offer different pricing, different available operating systems, and even different features. 

Google Compute Engine vs Amazon EC2: The differences & the similarities 

Amazon EC2

Amazon EC2 is a cloud-based computing service that allows developers to provision virtual machines to run their computing on the cloud. Described as a “scalable, pay-as-you-go compute capacity in the cloud”, it is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers by providing scalability and on-demand capacity.

Google Compute Engine

Google Compute Engine is the GCP equivalent of EC2. Google Compute Engine or GCE is a cloud computing service that provides virtual machines that run on Google Cloud infrastructure.  It offers scale, performance, and value that allows users to easily launch large compute clusters on Google’s infrastructure. With no upfront investments, such as the case with on-prem solutions, it allows businesses to run up to thousands of virtual CPUs on a system that is fast, and offers reliable consistency of performance.

GCE and EC2 are both used by developers and businesses to run their applications in the cloud. These can help you build your applications on top of a server instance and pay only for the resources you need. Both GCE and EC2 are simple to use, and you can start using them without any previous experience. 

The difference between the two engines can be seen in their specific key features, pricing models and even in the use cases that best suit them.

Features of GCE and EC2 

Google Compute Engine provides the following key features:

  • Compute Engine’s virtual machines offer high performance, scalability, security and reliability. You can choose from a variety of supported distros, including Linux & Windows. Whether you need a micro-VM or a large instance, Compute Engine has you covered. 
  • You can also rightsize your VMs, before running the instances, by choosing from sets of predefined number of vCPUs and amount of memory, and get charged at a set price. This allows you to rightsize your VMs easily and you don’t have to pay for resources that you won’t use.  
  • Google’s global network provides the power and connectivity needed to create large, efficient compute clusters. By using Google’s private global fiber network, you can connect to machines in other data centers and take advantage of Google’s vast resources.
  • You only pay for the computing time that you use with Google- which is billed in minute-level increments (with a 10-minute minimum charge). This way, you’re never paying for time that you don’t use. 

Some of the features offered by Amazon EC2 are:

  • Amazon EC2’s elasticity enables you to increase or decrease capacity faster – in minutes rather than hours or days, in comparison to on-prem. With EC2, you can also commission one, hundreds, or even thousands of server instances, all at the same time.
  • EC2 allows complete control of your instances. You will have root access to each one, and you can use them however you would use any other machine. This gives businesses considerable power and flexibility when it comes to using the service.
  • Amazon EC2 gives you the freedom to choose what you need – be it an instance type, operating system, and software package that best suits your needs. With Amazon EC2, you can choose from a variety of memory, CPU, instance storage, and boot partition size configurations.

Load balancing 

Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) allows you to balance incoming traffic among your backend instances in multiple availability zones (within a single region). 

Google Compute Engine also offers a load balancer. In addition to distributing incoming traffic between backend instances, unlike AWS, it allows balancing between regions, supports content-based routing, and does not require pre-warming. 


Amazon EC2 and GCE both provide similar security offerings with features such as shielded and confidential VMs to protect and secure your cloud operations. 

AWS instances offer the benefits of both Security Groups and Network ACLs, and are now provisioned within VPCs. Security Groups control incoming and outgoing traffic at the instance level, while Network ACLs allow or deny specific IP addresses or networks, at the subnet level.  

Google Compute Engine regulates traffic by implementing firewalls at the instance level. Every GCE Operation can be mapped to a service account which also has credentials to authenticate against other Google Cloud services and to limit firewall rules, as well. It also helps to define traffic flow using service accounts as well. Identity-Aware Proxy, a feature of GCE, also carries the TCP forwarding feature which lets you control who can access administrative services. This feature shields services from exposure to the public internet. With these features, service requests must first be verified and authorized before reaching their target resource.

Uptime guarantees

GCE provides better service guarantees for uptime, even up to 50% service credits. 

Google Compute Engine’s uptime percentage is guaranteed to be at least 99.95%. If your monthly uptime is anywhere between 99% to 99.95%, then you’ll receive a 10% financial credit. However, if it falls between 95% to 99%, you’ll get a 25% financial credit. And finally, if your uptime is less than 95%, you’ll get a 50% financial credit.

Amazon EC2 guarantees at least 99.95% monthly uptime. If your actual monthly uptime percentage is lower than that, or at least 99.0%, you’ll get a 10% service credit. Anything lower than that and you get 30% service credit.

GCE vs Amazon EC2: Pricing difference

Choosing the right pricing model between EC2 and GCE depends on the use case specific to your business.

Amazon EC2 offers three types of pricing models:

  • On-demand – payment billed for compute capacity used by the hour with no long term commitments
  • Reserved instances with EC2 are a great way to save money on long-term business needs. Prices for reserved instances are determined by four factors: term length (1 or 3 years), operating system, region, and payment options (no upfront, partial upfront, all upfront).
  • Spot instances allows businesses to bid for instances via a supply and demand model.

GCE on the other hand also has a three way model based on the use of the machines.

  • Google Compute Engine charges for machine types for 10-minutes of use post which it bills with 1 minutes increments, with prices rounded up to the nearest minute. 
  • GCE provides both on-demand and sustained usage pricing models, with the latter providing discounts for sustained use of an instance for over 25% of a month. 
  • In addition, GCE offers inferred instances, which combine multiple non-overlapping instances of the same type in the same zone into a single instance for licensed OS.

While EC2 and GCE have considerable pros each, opting for the right provider would depend on your use case and what suits your business best. We hope this has been helpful in your quest to know more about EC2 and GCE. Contact us today at to learn how GCP can bring additional benefits to your business with its virtual computing services.

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Omkar Nadkarni

Author Omkar Nadkarni

Omkar Nadkarni is a Senior Cloud Architect from the Infrastructure modernization team. His extensive work in bringing infrastructure solutions for business modernization has made him a key driver for migrating large enterprises.

More posts by Omkar Nadkarni

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