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Azure Vs AWS: What You Need To Know

totalcloudio profile image Totalcloud.io ・6 min read

Companies that have jumped the gun with cloud migration during this time of crisis have committed a fatal mistake. The knowledge gap among businesses that seek to migrate is often underestimated, leading to devastating expenditures and operational inefficiencies. The rise of the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the demand for companies to opt for cloud migration. If you belong to such a group, you should read further to better prepare.

It might be tempting to start with the most popular platform out there to avoid hours of research but I say that would cause problems for you in the future. Learning and familiarizing with leading service providers is essential so you can pick one that best suits your goal, your budget, and your commitment.

How do I choose a public cloud provider?

Of the popular picks, AWS and Azure are among the lead performers. The year of 2020 notices the ever-decreasing gap between AWS and Azure. Additional growth in services like multi-cloud and containers makes the choice between the two merit discussions.

Both come with their distinct advantages and exclusive features. When it comes down to choosing between these two, the verdict is dependent on the requirement on your business end. For example, if an organization is in need of a strong Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider or needs Windows integration, Azure would be the preferable choice while if an enterprise is looking for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS ) or diverse set of tools then AWS might be the best solution.

When it comes to the essential technical and hardware capabilities, Azure and AWS are neck and neck in their offerings. Whether it be storage, networking, pricing, compute; the differences are scarce. They also share similar features such as on-demand payment model, autoscaling, IAM features, elasticity, security, and service provisions.

If we look at the sheer size of the user base, then AWS is noticeably superior to its competition. A million customers, 2 million servers, 100,000 computer cores and $10 billion annual revenue. AWS alone holds a 40% market share for cloud computing. You can add the shares of the next big three platforms and it still wouldn’t match it. It also is the oldest cloud service with 11 years of a successful business.

Meanwhile, growing at a rate of 120K new customers per month, 5 million organizations using Azure Active directory, nearly 5 million developers registered with visual studio team services, 1.4 million cloud databases, and 40% of revenue generated from start-ups and ISVs- Azure is on the verge of dominating AWS cloud services.

So, for the comparisons to be made, there are certain essentials to look into and see what your organization prioritises. Let’s look at what each of these services excels in so you can reach your own verdict.

AWS vs Azure: What to look for?

Pricing Model:

AWS has a pay-per-use model where you are charged hourly. You have three pricing plans to purchase an instance with

On demand: Pay per use with a fixed rate for each machine
Reserved: Commit to an instance for 1 or 3 years with fixed rate based on use
Spot: Bid for extra instance capacity available

Azure too has a pay-per-use model but it charges you per minute. Azure also offers short term commitments on machines with prepaid or monthly charges. AWS has a similar model for its support plans whereas Azure charges a fixed monthly rate.

AWS so far has more flexible pricing options and could come out to be the least expensive option of the two if used adequately.

Ease of Use:

Amazon offers more features and configurations but it has a learning curve. Power, customization, flexibility and several integration compatibilities make the learning curve justified.

Azure users familiar with Windows will have a far easier time with making full use of the platform. There is very little learning curve and has simple means of setting up a hybrid server by integrating with on-premise Windows servers. Many third party tools are also compatible.

Platform as a Service Functions

Azure and AWS offer similar PaaS capabilities for virtual networking, storage, and machines. However, Azure has an edge as it offers stronger and faster PaaS services.

Microsoft Azure PaaS provides application developers with the environment and tools, thus giving them building blocks that they need to build and establish new cloud services quickly. It also provides essential ‘DevOps’ connections which are important for managing, monitoring, and continuously fine-tuning those apps. With Azure PaaS, much of the infrastructure management is taken care of behind the scenes by Microsoft. Thus, you have a 100% focus on innovation if you develop Azure PaaS solutions.

Integrated Environment:

Azure has a noticeable advantage in offering an integrated environment for setting up a development pipeline which involves testing and deployment. Clients get to choose the framework and the addition of open development languages helps with Azure cloud migration. Migration and development pipeline integrations are a complicated process and a source of many complaints within its consumer base.

However, AWS has a higher range of services offered and AWS services integrate seamlessly with other Amazon services. On a global level, AWS also has many more servers; but this may not be an important consideration for your organization.

Container as a Service capabilities:

Amazon EC2 Container Service supports Docker containers, you can start and stop container-enabled applications with simple API calls, query the state of your cluster from a centralized service, and integrate other Amazon EC2 features like security groups, EBS volumes, and IAM roles.

Offers:

  • Compatibility with Docker
  • Managed Container Clusters
  • Programmed Control

Azure Container Service lets you deploy and manage containers using the tools you choose. ACS optimizes the configuration of popular open-source tools and technologies specifically for Azure. You are awarded portability for both your containers and your application configuration. Choose the size, quantity of hosts, and types of orchestrator tools, and ACS handles everything else.

Offers:

Create a Azure-optimized container hosting solution
Compatibility with Apache Mesos/Docker Swarm
Integrate other open-source, client-side tooling
Both AWS and Azure offer Kubernetes as a service with Azure having more flexible pricing options. Azure Kubernetes service has its own resource monitoring feature whereas you need to employ a third party with AWS. AWS has auto-scaling of nodes and allows managing node groups.

Security Features:

Azure currently utilizes a security model based on the Security Development Lifecycle. It contains security at its base and private data and all the services stay protected and protected while they are on Azure Cloud. Azure has an edge in the security department because Microsoft was the very first cloud vendor. They had continued approvals on their security policies and have adapted according to changing standards.

Developer Tools:

Both platforms offer their own set of developer tools. AWS has its developer tools offered by Amazon’s internal engineering team. These tools and processes, the AWS suite of Dev tools aim to support DevOps engineers.The tools include CodeCommit, which is used to store code in private Git repositories; CodeDeploy, which automates code deployments; and CodePipeline for a Continuous Delivery. In addition to this, AWS also offers a (CLI) Command Line Interface for controlling AWS services and writing automation scripts.

Azure, on the other hand, has an IoT suite designed to provide solutions for situations like predictive maintenance and remote monitoring. It also offers core for push notifications, monitoring IoT deployments, streaming analytics, and machine learning capabilities that combine with its cloud-based IoT services.

AWS vs Azure in 2020

We’ve heard users preferring AWS for its range of services that benefit them in maintaining large scale infrastructures, especially with SAP. Some users have found Azure to be cheaper, and are actually migrating to Azure. It has also gained more following with Covid-19 as its several SaaS cloud solutions became in demand. Azure users favor the windows experience and also claim much more stable services. The superior PaaS options are a bonus to users that would prefer more automated provisions. These two cloud providers continue to evolve and so do other competitors, it's also important to keep watch for their upcoming features and updates.

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TotalCloud helps cloud engineers build their own cloud management platform using smart workflows for automating cloud management & team collaboration tasks.

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