AWS Outposts vs. Google Cloud Anthos: Forging The Hybrid Cloud Future

September 16th, 2020 | Tech

By David “Mac” McDaniel

AWS Outposts and Google Cloud Anthos have reimagined the modern hybrid cloud strategy; bringing a world of possibilities to organizations that have workloads spread across public and on-prem environments.

The preference for hybrid is growing. The Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report found that 87 percent of organizations had already adopted a hybrid cloud strategy; 93 percent had a multi-cloud strategy. Growth is likely the result of increasing demands on IT leaders to ensure their environment is relentlessly compliant, agile, and cost-effective. The perfect balance is often markedly different depending on the organization.

The growing pains of this elusive search for balance became clear opportunities for public cloud providers. Each of the major players took great strides to bring stronger multi/hybrid-cloud solutions into the table. It’s left organizations with major opportunities, especially as offerings like AWS Outposts and Google Cloud Anthos mature.

While AWS Outposts and Google Cloud Anthos share a similar mission — give organizations greater power, simplicity, and control of their hybrid cloud environment — their approach varies dramatically. Let’s explore the differences between AWS Outposts and Google Cloud Anthos to help add context along a modern hybrid cloud journey.

The Main Difference Between AWS Outposts And Google Cloud Anthos

AWS delivers Outposts via a freight shipment and is made up of one or more full racks of servers, networking gear and various other required pieces.  Outposts come in different configurations, ranging from a single EC2 VM to 12 EC2 VMs with multiple terabytes of storage for between around $7,000 to over $25,000 per month.  Meanwhile, Anthos is delivered as a download and the subscription runs between $0.01233 per vCPU to $50 per vCPU per month.  There is also a free 30-day trial period (up to $900) for Anthos.

AWS Outposts and Google Cloud Anthos operate with a fundamentally different vision of what it means to empower organizations to get the most out of their hybrid cloud environment. There’s a similarity in their mission but that doesn’t extend to the methods they use to achieve the intended objective. 

AWS Outposts are physically installed in your data center and act as an AWS region. Since AWS hardware is a non-negotiable condition, it effectively eliminates multi-cloud environments as no competitor cloud can be used with an Outposts’ hardware. This limits flexibility for the organization that moves to Outposts as even its own hardware is rendered incompatible.

Organizations stand to benefit from the convenience that Outposts offers, though. It’s a fully managed service and all of the hardware and software is delivered pre-configured to the data center. This enables customers to quickly run their apps in a cloud-native manner without any cumbersome setup procedures.

Google Cloud Anthos takes a different approach. It’s important to understand that Anthos isn’t just one product. It’s basically an umbrella brand under which several services are offered, including but not limited to cloud migration, app modernization, and multi-cloud management.  It also includes commercially-supported versions of popular software components such as Kubernetes itself andAnthos Service Mesh (Istio) as well as software specific to Anthos like Anthos Configuration Management (think git workflow for cluster management).

Kubernetes is at the heart of Anthos. It’s a widely used open-source platform for handling containerized apps. The Google Kubernetes Engine is the main control center of Anthos. It’s what offers users a singular control plane to seamlessly manage the hybrid cloud environment across Google’s cloud, the on-premise data center and even competitor clouds.

Google does not set strict hardware conditions for Anthos. Organizations can utilize hardware from VMware OEMs, use Google’s cloud infrastructure or use any other cloud like AWS or Azure. According to Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, this approach is vital to solving the multi-cloud problem.

AWS Outposts

AWS took its first step toward embracing hybrid deployments with Outposts. It allowed customers to order racks with the same hardware that AWS uses in all of its regions. The racks came with AWS software and services on them like compute and storage. Unfortunately, only a limited number of AWS’s services are available on Outposts.

AWS Outposts aims to deliver a consistent hybrid experience by providing similar infrastructure, management and operations on-premises as it does in the cloud. Customers can always take advantage of the full range of AWS services that are available in the region to scale their on-premises applications. All AWS Outposts are connected to the nearest AWS Region and this provides customers with a familiar management and control plane across the on-premises and cloud environments.

Outposts may not be a good fit for organizations that are heavily invested in their own hardware, as you would have to buy racks from AWS. Customers are also restricted from using any competitor cloud, they can only split their workload between Outposts on-premises and the AWS cloud. 

  • AWS Outposts allow customers to take advantage of AWS compute and storage services like AWS EC2 and EBS in their own data centers as long as they use the hardware provided by AWS. 
  • Outposts is an extension of the AWS infrastructure, services, APIs and tools to any datacenter or on-premises facility.
  • Customers are required to make an initial investment for hardware if they tend to shift to Outposts.

Google Cloud Anthos

Google Cloud Anthos takes a fundamentally different approach to the on-prem environment. This on-prem solution runs on top of VMware vSphere and supports all of the conventional VMware OEMs like Lenovo, Cisco and Dell. This makes the service a viable option for existing VMware customers as their administrators and developers don’t need to learn new environments and APIs. The Google Kubernetes Engine ensures a familiar development experience for engineering teams that are already using Google Cloud.  Also recently made available is the option to run Anthos on-prem on “bare metal” - servers with no hypervisor.  This helps customers retain investments they have made in their own servers while continuing the 

Since Anthos doesn’t lock customers into specific hardware, it provides organizations with a lot more flexibility on how they want to structure their multi-cloud environments. They’re free to split their workloads between on-premises hardware from conventional VMware OEMs, Google Cloud and even AWS or Azure. This interoperability eliminates the need for administrators and developers to learn many different environments and APIs.

Google Cloud Anthos also simplifies the process through which legacy applications running on physical servers can be brought to the cloud. Kubernetes allows for containerization of these applications so that they can easily be run on a cloud platform. Developers can minimize the manual effort required to move legacy apps into containers on Google Kubernetes Engine by using the Migrate for Anthos service.

  • Customers are not required to make investments for additional hardware when shifting to Anthos as it supports hardware from trusted VMware OEMs as well as using existing servers via Anthos bare metal.
  • Simplifies containerization for moving legacy applications to the cloud by leveraging the power of Kubernetes. 
  • These containers can then be run on-premises or in Google’s cloud infrastructure with comprehensive security controls. 

Choosing Between AWS Outposts vs Google Cloud Anthos

For AWS, the Outpost hybrid cloud is essentially a single vendor stack. By providing the hardware, AWS effectively prevents customers from using their own hardware. AWS Outposts may not be a viable option for organizations that are heavily invested in their own compute and storage hardware, as they may not be willing to replace it with AWS racks.

This is obviously not a problem for organizations that aren’t heavily invested in their own hardware. In those cases, Outposts becomes a compelling option for on-premise workload processing and with access to the full range of AWS services in the Region, it also simplifies scalability of on-prem applications.

Anthos allows customers to take full advantage of their existing on-prem hardware or public cloud investments. Google doesn’t supply any compute or storage hardware for Anthos. Customers are thus empowered to modernize legacy applications and build cloud-native applications which can then be maintained either on-premises or in a multi-cloud environment with simplified control from a management plane.

The simplicity that Google Cloud Anthos promises as well as the significantly lower costs involved make it a compelling option for both small startups and multinational corporations alike. It’s an added benefit that Anthos doesn’t limit organizations to just Google Cloud, they’re allowed to manage multi-cloud deployments across Google Cloud Platform, Azure, AWS and on-prem data centers.

[Webinar] Explore The Possibilities of a NextGen Hybrid Cloud

Learn key hybrid/multi-cloud strategies and see Anthos in action during Qwinix’s upcoming webinar. David “Mac” McDaniel, Director of Cloud Professional Services at Qwinix and a Google Cloud Certified Fellow in Hybrid Multi-Cloud (one of 26 in the world), will lead this in-depth discussion alongside Ed Mikuszewski, Customer Engineer at Google Cloud.

Register Now to See Anthos in Action

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