AWS vs Azure

AWS and Azure are the two big cloud computing products in the market. AWS is a product of Amazon while azure is a product of a Microsoft corporation. In this blog, we are going to discuss its feature differences between these two big competitive products. Before proceeding, let us briefly discuss AWS and Azure.

What is AWS? 

AWS is a cloud platform which offers cloud computing solutions based on the features of reliability, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, easy usage and scalability. The AWS platform is a combination of three platform services. They are as follows.

  • Platform as a service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  • Packaged software as a service (SaaS)

The cloud functionalities of AWS helps in growing the business by providing the following services. 

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  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • Amazon DynamoDB
  • Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)
  • Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)
  • Amazon Lambda

Why AWS is used?

The AWS cloud platform saves time to plan for servers and IT infrastructure. The servers produce quick results in minutes. It is a cost-efficient service which allows you to pay only for what you use with no up-front expenses and long-term commitments. Here are the few business uses of AWS.

  • The ability to share large files online.
  • For sending the cost-effective and reliable transactional emails of large numbers.
  • To control the web traffic loads for better distribution and load times with a content delivery network (CDN).
  • Ability to host an app or website easily.
  • Storing and sharing the files that can be accessed remotely from any location.

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What is Azure? 

Azure is a set of cloud services which uses the tools and frameworks in building, managing and deploying the massive applications on a global network. It mainly provides the following four different services.

  • Compute.
  • Storage.
  • Network.
  • Database.

Why is Azure used?

Azure provides cost-effective solutions and scalability for improving the business. The Azure cloud services include analytics, storage and network that helps the business in meeting its demands with low cost and fewer time requirements. It is used for providing simple and reliable data storage on a huge scale.

  • It is used in building, managing and deploying the applications.
  • Offering the benefits and range of uses for organisations.
  • The ability to scale on demand.
  • The Azure platform is integrated with the DevOps tools.

Key differences between AWS and Azure 

It is difficult to give accurate predictions on AWS versus Azure which are based on revenues and growth. AWS was grown as the largest cloud services provider with a developer-friendly environment while Azure is preferred by the large organizations committed to Microsoft products by moving the existing infrastructure to the cloud.  The following are the key differences between AWS and Azure.

[Related Articles:Aws Tutorial]

1. Storage

AWS uses temporary storage to allocate when the instance is started and destroyed during the termination. It provides block storage to separate the instances. It uses S3 for Object storage, Glacier for data archiving services and provides full support for relational and NoSQL databases and Big data.

Azure uses D drive for offering temporary storage, block storage with Page Blobs for VMs. Block Blobs and Files will serve as object-store.  It supports relational databases, NoSQL and Big Data with Azure tables and HDInsight. It also offers import-export, site recovery, recovery, azure backup for archiving.  

2.  Power Computing

The AWS users can configure their own virtual machines. They can choose pre-configured images or can customize the images. The users can launch virtual machines from different regions and availability zones by choosing the size, memory, power, number of VMs.

To create the virtual machines the Azure users choose the Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) which is similar to machine instance. The VHD can be pre-configured by the Microsoft, users or third party. The user must specify the configuration details of cores and memory.

3. Models of Pricing

Amazon implements a pay-as-you-go model for AWS that charges per hour. The following models are used for purchasing the instances.

On-demand: Paying for what is used without an upfront cost.
Reserved: Reserving an instance for 1 or 3 days without upfront cost based on use.
Spot: Availability of extra capabilities upon customers bid.

Microsoft also implements a pay-as-you-go model for Azure that charges per minute. Azure offers short term commitment options with prepaid or monthly charges.

[Related Articles: MicroSoft Azure Tutorial]

4. Networking

AWS users can create isolated networks by using Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). It allows the users to create the subnets, private IP address ranges, route tables and network gateways within a VPC.

Azure users create isolated networks by using Virtual Network (VNET). It also allows the users to create the subnets, private IP address ranges, route tables and network gateways.

5. Open source and Integrations

Amazon provides many open source integration in the AWS platform including Jenkins and GitHub. It also acts friendly with Linux servers.

Azure offers native integration with Windows development tools such as VBS, SQL database, Active directory. Azure can now also run with the open-source platforms such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Apache Hadoop clusters.

6. Support

The pricing of AWS support plan is based on a sliding scale tied with a monthly usage. The bill will be much high for a heavy user.

The Azure users are billed on a flat monthly rate.

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7. Compliance

The compliance offerings of Amazon AWS includes the certifications in DISA, ITAR, FIPS, CJIS, HIPPA and more. It provides security by which only the screened persons are able to access the cloud. AWS is a must for agencies who handle sensitive information.

Microsoft Azure has more than 50 compliance offerings which include the certifications in DISA, ITAR, FIPS, CJIS, HIPAA. Azure also provides the same level of security as that of Amazon which sets up the permissions by which only the screened persons are able to access the government level cloud.

8. User Friendly

AWS offers many features and configurations. It offers power, customization and flexibility features with support for many third-party integrations. 

Azure windows admins can simply integrate on-premises windows server with cloud instances for creating a hybrid environment. SQL database and Active Directory tools work well with Azure.

9. Support for Orchestration and Containers

Amazon AWS invests upon demand for new services that offer the analytics and added machine learning tools and features of IoT. It allows the customer to build a high-performance computing environment for mobile apps depending on business needs. AWS also offers support for Docker.

Microsoft Azure also meets the business requirements of new demands and offers Hadoop support with HDAzure Insight. Windows Server 2016 provides the integration support with Docker for both Hyper-V containers and Windows containers. The Azure platform can run both Windows and Linux containers which makes it as a competitor with Amazon. 

10. Capabilities of Hybrid cloud

AWS has announced a 100TB hard drive known as “Snowball Edge” for moving the workloads between its cloud and client’s data centres. AWS has also added a hybrid element with VMware to its portfolio. Amazon recently adopted this hybrid cloud banner and is still working on it for developing its hybrid story.

Azure has strong support for hybrid cloud services with platforms like Hybrid SQL Server, Azure StorSimple and Azure Stack. The Azure Stack is a new hybrid cloud platform which allows you to bring full public Azure functionality for your own on-premises data centres. This uses the same pay-as-you-go pricing model which offers for its public cloud.

11. Licensing

Amazon AWS offers different options for the customers to purchase new licenses. The users can use Dedicated Hosts or Software Assurance in moving their licenses to the cloud. In order to migrate the licenses to the cloud, the users must make sure that all the Microsoft Server applications which are migrated to cloud Service provider via the License Mobility through Software Assurance program have been covered with active Software Assurance (SA). The server applications which include SQL Server Enterprise Edition,  Exchange Server and Sharepoint Server must also appear on the list of eligible products.

Microsoft Azure offers license mobility for qualified application servers. The users have to determine whether their servers fit for mobility in order to avoid paying for the extra license. Even the windows server is not eligible and if you use the VM in the cloud running the same stack then you have to pay two windows server licenses as it is charged per usage and not eligible for mobility. You can use the SQL license for running SQL Server in the cloud that is eligible.

Advantages of AWS

  • AWS provides the options to choose the operating system, database, programming language.
  • According to the needs of the organization, the compute cloud allows for an increase or decrease the storage.
  • Provides strong support for BI and analytics.
  • AWS offers broad and deep services.

Advantages of Azure

  • It offers open access fully scalable cloud computing platform across multiple languages, frameworks and tools.
  • Provides the developing capabilities for users to create, maintain and deploy applications.
  • Offers the inbuilt Azure stack tool for delivering Azure services from its own data centre.
  • Azure provides support for mixed environments such as Linux/Windows.

Disadvantages of AWS

  • AWS elastic load balancer cannot handle many requests.
  • It provides less feature support for hybrid-cloud friendly.
  • The Hybrid Strategy is weak and is incompatible.
  • AWS is more suitable for a technically savvy group of consumers and the company which has its own inbuilt tech support team as it lacks customer support.

Disadvantages of Azure

  • There is no transparency for customer service and data is hosted globally.
  • You have to pay the extra charge for paying as you go.
  • Must spend extra money on fixing the bugs of cloud-based services which is full of glitches.
  • As compared to AWS, Azure is less flexible about non-windows server platforms.

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Which is better among AWS and Azure?

To speak about a few scenarios, Azure is much better than AWS. These scenarios are dependent on the size of the organization, infrastructure, commitment to products. Considering the pricing alone AWS is better than Azure in a few areas. In considering the areas such as governance, security, support and hybrid environments Azure is better than AWS.

Many may believe AWS is better than Azure for offering the range of services in having many more servers but on a global point of view, it is not an important consideration for all organisations.

The popularity of AWS and Azure with Market Share

Over the years AWS global-cloud infrastructure services are dominating and now it hits approximately $70 billion last year. The market share of AWS is now better than the top public cloud providers.

The above picture represents the trends between Azure and AWS from the past 5 years. The cloud adoption rate of Azure is 85% to that of AWS in the last year but now it is up from 70% last year.

Comparison of AWS and Azure parameters

Parameters AWS Azure
Market share 31% share of the global computing market.
11% share of the worldwide market.
Availability Zone Availability of 61 zones. Availability of 140 zones.
Pricing models
  • Free Tier.
  • Per hour.
  • Free Trial per minute.
  • No change for stopped.
  • Pay for EBS volume
  • Free Trial.
  • Per-minute.
Customers Novartis, Adobe, Airbnb, Yelp, Expedia, Netflix, Nokia. Pearson, Towers Watson, 3M, NBC, Serko, Essar, etc
Key features Digital monitoring, zero setups, auto-scaling groups. Low cost, High performance, Startup friendly.
Support for Hybrid cloud
Cannot offer the best hybrid cloud support.
Offers hybrid support for organizations that can integrate onsite services with cloud instances.
Government Cloud AWS has an edge as far as government cloud offerings There is a limit for reaching government cloud offerings.

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Both AWS and Azure have similar capabilities and it is not right to say that one provider is better and the other is worse. Depending on the growing business needs the benefit of services will be reaped accordingly that provides the hyper scalable cloud solution.

Related Aricles:

Azure App Service

Azure Traffic manager 

Azure poratal 

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Research Analyst
As a senior Technical Content Writer for HKR Trainings, Gayathri has a good comprehension of the present technical innovations, which incorporates perspectives like Business Intelligence and Analytics. She conveys advanced technical ideas precisely and vividly, as conceivable to the target group, guaranteeing that the content is available to clients. She writes qualitative content in the field of Data Warehousing & ETL, Big Data Analytics, and ERP Tools. Connect me on LinkedIn.