Choosing between AWS and Azure (AWS vs Azure)
AWS vs Azure which is better?
AWS and Azure are both top-tier cloud services providers, but they differ in their approach to pricing, features, and target markets. Many organisations use both AWS and Azure as a cloud service in their cloud deployments so that they are not restricted to one supplier.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service. It offers a wide range of services, including compute, storage, networking, and many more. Azure also offers a wide variety of SDKs and tools to make developing on Azure a powerful option for a development team.
What is Amazon web services AWS?
AWS is a cloud platform offered by Amazon. It offers a wide range of services, including compute, storage, networking, and many more. AWS also offers a wide variety of SDKs and tools to make developing on AWS easy.
AWS vs Azure how do they compare?
Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure are the most used cloud platforms with a combined market share that dwarfs the rest of the major suppliers including Google. Of the two, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the most used platform, with Azure showing fast growth, particularly amongst enterprise businesses.
As cloud procurement and technologies have improved, there have been trends in which organisations have moved all their infrastructure to a single cloud provider to simplify their IT systems while others have used the flexibility of multiple cloud providers platforms to use a combination of cloud providers based on the best individual solutions that they offer – for example, taking advantage of lower storage costs for archiving with one provider whilst utilising a higher class of virtual machine elsewhere to maximise application performance.
There are competing benefits between the services and facilities offered by the major cloud providers, but there are also similarities and in some cases, the choice of which platform is best will come down to one or two factors such as cost, or perceived compatibility. It can even be a decision that is made based on the preferences of the consultant who developed the virtualisation strategy.
There are some key aspects of the market that are worth considering when comparing Azure vs AWS:
- Familiarity – As a Microsoft product, Azure offers a familiar means of usage that, whilst not a reason on its own to choose a platform, should also not be underestimated. Users can employ the same coding languages they are familiar with in other Apps meaning that the learning curve for experienced Windows apps developers is shallower.
- Support – In the UK, there is an extensive network of Microsoft Gold Partners who can manage Azure, and there are also many reliable sources online including TechNet and the Developers Network. Amazon too has the same range of local and online resources to support businesses who are choosing to move to the cloud. There is also an expanding AWS Partner network. On balance, both cloud providers have a similar mature partner network.
- Hybrid cloud - Both Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web services AWS offer the capability to set up connections between your on-premise infrastructure and their cloud services.
- Virtual Machines - Both platforms offer VMs with Azure they are part of the 'compute' whereas AWS cloud refers to them as an 'EC2'. Both Azure and AWS offer VMs with Windows or Linux as the O/S.
- Cloud Storage - Each cloud platform offers multiple types of cloud storage services from blob storage, object storage, and virtual hard drives with different service levels and speeds with temporary storage and persistent storage options as well. Both platforms also offer multiple relational database solutions from open source platforms like MySQL to Microsoft SQL.
- Cloud Platform - Both AWS and Azure offer software as a service SaaS, Platform as a service PaaS and Infrastructure as a service. For more background on this please read our article about SaaS, PaaS and IaaS in AWS.
- Marketplace – Amazon’s services marketplace is extensive, offering access to consulting partners around the world with specialisms in different areas as well as applications and plug-ins for the platform that support management and maintenance. Azure offers a similar range of products. So AWS and Azure both have marketplaces with similar cloud services from the cloud provider or certified partners.
- Container Service - Both platforms offer a container service using Kubernetes. For more details on this please read our article about Kubernetes monitoring.
- Global Public Cloud Solutions - Azure and AWS have multiple regions across the globe including multiple data centres with options for resilient failover between data centres within the same region. Both offer cloud computing services across the globe, although for both AWS and Azure the services offered in regions or data centres can vary.
- Software Development Kit (SDK) – The Azure SDK allows users to run a version of it on their own machines as Azure Stack – provided that those machines meet the specifications. This allows for a unique virtual private cloud VPC/public cloud environment to be created with the same systems running on both. Amazon also offers a variety of SDKs and programming tool kits for AWS. But when comparing Azure and AWS SDKs only Microsoft Azure offers an SKD for the native cloud technology stack.
- Cost & Pricing Model AWS vs Azure – A key consideration for anyone choosing between AWS vs Azure is the cost of using the platform for the long term. In fact, like for like comparisons between resource and subscriptions show that the costs are remarkably similar – the market has become commoditised. Both cloud providers offer a range of options from a pay as you go pricing model all the way up to long term reserved instances.
- Also for Azure specifically there are Azure CSP agreements which are agreements with partners directly reselling Microsoft cloud services, for more background on this please read an overview and explanation here. The procurement model should be decided as it can impact your options to move/redefine your relationship with your cloud provider later on.
- Cloud Management Software - Both service providers have cloud management tools which can be set up for their cloud services, however, they are native tools like the AWS Cost Explorer. A lot of businesses use a third-party cloud management solution like CloudOps to manage their cloud deployments across providers and regions.
- AWS VS Azure Market Share - In an article on The register, as of 2 May 2022 AWS, Microsoft and Google collectively have 65% of the global cloud market outside of China. Amazon are estimated to have 33%, Microsoft 22% and google 10% with the next 10 companies having 21% collectively and others 14%. The advantage of choosing from the top two cloud providers is obvious.
- Other services - When considering AWS vs Azure you might also be looking for other services such as Machine learning, Artificial intelligence or an environment for big data. Both cloud providers have offerings in these areas including platform as a service and infrastructure as a service offerings.
AWS vs Azure Conclusion
There’s no doubt that Amazon is the main player in the cloud market – but Microsoft and Google have been late entrants to the market by comparison. Furthermore, they both have experience chasing down competitors and they both have the money to do so. We can expect to see the market become more competitive, but in the meantime, organisations should still ensure they have a strong understanding of their needs before choosing between cloud providers – for the time being, this is still an industry of niche offerings.
AWS and Azure are two of the most popular cloud providers on the market. They both offer a wide range of services, but AWS has a slight edge over Azure when it comes to global reach. AWS also offers more pricing options, while Azure has more features in its SDK. In the end, it's up to the individual business to decide which provider is best for them.
IG CloudOps work with both the Amazon (AWS) and the Microsoft Azure cloud platforms and cloud services so can work with you to find the best fit for your requirements. To find out more about our services please have a look at AWS services and Azure services.
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