AZURE VS. AWS
AWS has long been the leader in cloud computing, but Azure is gaining market share. This guide will help you compare these cloud providers.
How do these cloud platforms compare?
When it comes to choosing a cloud platform, many businesses decide between Amazon Web Services (AWS) vs. Microsoft Azure. Both cloud platforms are often considered as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), though they can be even broader than that.
IaaS, “also known as cloud infrastructure services, is a form of cloud computing in which IT infrastructure is provided to end users through the internet. IaaS is commonly associated with serverless computing,” explains software company Red Hat.
In other words, both AWS and Azure can serve as the foundation of a company’s cloud computing efforts, whether they want to build and run applications in the cloud, store data, operate virtual machines, and much more. And increasingly, cloud platforms are offering additional computing services, beyond basic infrastructure, such as machine learning services.
Companies can run everything within the public cloud offered by AWS or Azure, or they can operate a hybrid cloud environment with some on-premise resources coordinating with the infrastructure provided through AWS or Azure.
In many respects, both cloud providers are similar. However, as you get into the details of how you’re looking to use a cloud platform, you may find some differences in areas such as computing capabilities, integration with other applications, pricing, etc.
Choosing between AWS vs. Azure can also come down to simply your comfort with using these technologies, as you may find one feels more intuitive to your IT team than another or is easier to transfer to if you’re looking to do a cloud migration.
In this article, we’ll explore these two platforms in more detail, looking at their key offerings and differences to help you choose between AWS vs. Azure.
AWS vs. Azure Overview
Before getting too deep into the differences between AWS vs. Azure, it can help to take a step back and look at what each has to offer.
AWS is the largest cloud provider and got out to an early lead in the market.
As Amazon notes, AWS “is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centers globally. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—are using AWS to lower costs, become more agile, and innovate faster.”
Companies like Netflix, for example, use AWS as the backbone to deliver content to customers around the world. Netflix has also used AWS such as to create a visual effects studio in the cloud, enabling creators to use virtual workstations. In other words, these creators can still use their own computers to access complex graphics applications, rather than needing a separate, physical computer to handle this workload.
Azure may not be as big as AWS, but as the second-largest cloud provider, it’s catching up, finds Synergy Research Group.
As Microsoft explains, “The Azure cloud platform is more than 200 products and cloud services designed to help you bring new solutions to life—to solve today’s challenges and create the future. Build, run, and manage applications across multiple clouds, on-premises, and at the edge, with the tools and frameworks of your choice.”
Azure also can easily integrate with other Microsoft products. Toyota, for example, has used the mixed reality glasses Microsoft HoloLens 2 along with other Microsoft offerings such as Azure, to help technicians see 3D electrical diagrams superimposed directly onto physical cars.
Key differences between AWS vs. Azure
Although AWS and Azure have many similarities, there are a few key differences that can help you choose the right cloud provider for your needs.
As one indicator, technology publication CRN conducted a survey on satisfaction with IaaS platforms, with Azure coming out on top overall and AWS ranking second. Specifically, Azure received top rankings in the categories of “product capabilities, profitability and maturity of pricing. AWS won two categories—ease of integration and support for demand generation.”
Still, your experience with these cloud providers may differ depending on your needs and the circumstances of your business. Look at the specifics of each cloud platform across categories like:
Both AWS and Azure have tons of integrations with other systems that can help you get more out of these cloud platforms. However, AWS arguably stands out for features such as the AWS Partner Network. There, AWS users can connect with thousands of other software vendors that can help them get the most out of the platform, whether you need assistance with cloud migration, analytics, machine learning, etc.
Azure has integrations with other systems and partners too, but the cloud platform can be particularly useful to those who already run several other Microsoft systems and want to keep everything integrated with the same provider.
“Microsoft on the other hand tends to be a popular choice with C-level executives that have long-standing relationships with the vendor and know that they can consume a great deal of their enterprise computing needs all in one place,” notes a Computerworld article.
Both AWS and Azure also have global infrastructure, with data centers located around the world to help you use the platforms efficiently, essentially wherever you’re located. However, AWS claims to offer cloud infrastructure in more regions than any other cloud provider.
Still, Azure has extensive infrastructure too, and one advantage is that Microsoft is arguably ahead of Amazon when it comes to sustainability. Yet both are quickly working to become more energy efficient.
The specific pricing for AWS and Azure can vary based on how you use these pay-as-you-go cloud platforms, but in general, Azure is the less expensive option. In fact, Microsoft claims that “AWS is 5 times more expensive than Azure for Windows Server and SQL Server.” Azure also offers price matching for comparable services with AWS.
Choosing Between AWS and Azure
AWS and Azure each have their advantages, but in general, both can be good options for those looking for a cloud provider. The choice depends on factors like your budget, your infrastructure needs, your familiarity with different cloud platforms, etc.
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