A Comparative Guide to AWS Accounts, Azure Subscriptions, and GCP Projects

In the ever-evolving landscape of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) stand as the titans of the industry, offering a multitude of services to meet diverse business needs. Central to the structure of these cloud platforms are AWS Accounts, Azure Subscriptions, and GCP Projects, which serve as the foundational constructs for organizing and managing cloud resources. In this article, we will explore these fundamental concepts, highlighting their similarities and differences to help you make informed decisions when choosing a cloud provider.

  1. AWS Accounts

AWS Account is the top-level entity that governs access to AWS resources and services. It serves as the billing and identity boundary for an organization using AWS. Key aspects of AWS Accounts include:

a. Billing and Cost Management: Each AWS Account has its own billing and cost management, allowing organizations to track resource consumption and manage expenses independently.

b. Identity and Access Management (IAM): AWS Accounts provide identity management through IAM, enabling administrators to control access to resources by creating users, groups, and policies.

c. Resource Isolation: Resources within an AWS Account are logically isolated from those in other accounts. This isolation helps maintain security and separation between different projects or business units.

d. Consolidated Billing: Organizations can use AWS Organizations to consolidate billing across multiple AWS Accounts, making it easier to manage expenses across the entire organization.

e. AWS Organizations: AWS Accounts can be organized hierarchically using AWS Organizations, which allows for the creation of multiple AWS Accounts linked under a single management umbrella.

  1. Azure Subscriptions

In Microsoft Azure, the equivalent of AWS Accounts is called Azure Subscriptions. Azure Subscriptions are the foundational units for managing resources, and they come with their own characteristics:

a. Billing and Cost Management: Azure Subscriptions are also associated with billing and cost management. Each subscription is billed separately, and organizations can set spending limits and budgets for better financial control.

b. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Azure Subscriptions utilize RBAC to manage access to resources. This system assigns roles to users and groups, controlling their permissions within a subscription.

c. Resource Isolation: Just like in AWS Accounts, Azure Subscriptions provide logical resource isolation. Resources in one subscription are separate from resources in another, ensuring security and compliance.

d. Management Groups: Azure Management Groups are used to organize and manage multiple Azure Subscriptions, enabling hierarchical organization for larger enterprises.

e. Azure Policy and Blueprints: Azure provides Azure Policy and Blueprints to define and enforce governance policies and compliance standards across Azure Subscriptions.

  1. GCP Projects

Google Cloud Platform uses the term “Projects” to encapsulate resources and services within a single entity. GCP Projects offer similar features to AWS Accounts and Azure Subscriptions:

a. Billing and Cost Management: Each GCP Project has its own billing and cost tracking, allowing organizations to manage expenses for specific projects or teams.

b. Identity and Access Management (IAM): GCP Projects leverage IAM for access control, allowing administrators to define roles and permissions for users and service accounts.

c. Resource Isolation: Resources in one GCP Project are isolated from others, ensuring data and resource segregation for security and compliance purposes.

d. Resource Hierarchy: GCP provides a resource hierarchy that includes Organizations, Folders, and Projects, allowing for organized resource management across multiple Projects.

e. Resource Management APIs: GCP offers Resource Management APIs to programmatically manage Projects, making it easier to automate resource provisioning and management.

Comparative Analysis

Let’s compare these three foundational constructs across AWS, Azure, and GCP:

  1. Billing and Cost Management:
    • AWS Accounts, Azure Subscriptions, and GCP Projects all offer billing and cost management features for tracking expenses and setting budgets.
  2. Identity and Access Management (IAM):
    • AWS Accounts use IAM for user and resource access control.
    • Azure Subscriptions employ RBAC for similar purposes.
    • GCP Projects also use IAM to manage permissions.
  3. Resource Isolation:
    • All three cloud platforms provide logical isolation of resources within their respective constructs to ensure security and compliance.
  4. Hierarchical Organization:
    • AWS offers AWS Organizations for hierarchical organization of AWS Accounts.
    • Azure provides Azure Management Groups for organizing Azure Subscriptions.
    • GCP includes a resource hierarchy with Organizations, Folders, and Projects.
  5. Resource Management:
    • Each cloud provider offers APIs and tools for programmatic resource management within their constructs.


AWS Accounts, Azure Subscriptions, and GCP Projects are foundational constructs that enable organizations to organize and manage cloud resources efficiently. While they serve similar purposes across the three major cloud providers, there are differences in nomenclature and specific features. When choosing a cloud platform, it’s essential to consider your organization’s specific needs and requirements, including billing, access control, and resource management, to determine which cloud provider and construct align best with your objectives. Ultimately, the choice between AWS, Azure, and GCP will depend on your organization’s unique use cases and preferences.

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