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Microsoft Azure vs AWS

21 Nov 2022

Microsoft Azure vs AWS

Azure Microsoft, and AWS (Amazon Web Services) provide a largely similar set of features and capabilities. This means that, from a business perspective, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two for your use, and which provider makes more sense for you. They do differ in some essential aspects, so in this article we will clarify the differences between the two, to help cloud prospects determine which provider they should ascend to the cloud with. Microsoft Azure vs AWS isn’t about who is better in the industry, it’s about who is better for you.

Microsoft Azure vs AWS

Now what is cloud computing? Cloud Computing is the on-demand distribution of computing services, accessed over the internet, from remote data centres (the cloud) to drive innovation faster, increase resource flexibility and help drive the availability of benefits from economies of scale. Cloud providers, such as Azure and AWS, have functions and services distributed across data centres. Cloud computing also relies on two different methods to enable cost efficiency and standardisations – the resource-sharing model, and a ‘pay-as-you-go’ ideal.

Simply put, Cloud Computing allows for the rent of, rather than the purchase and responsibility of, IT infrastructure. Users choose to access computational power offered by providers, pay for it as and when they need and use it, and avoid the need to invest extensively in infrastructural necessities such as data storage, applications & software, and hardware. With Cloud Computing, customers can scale their needs with total flexibility based on workloads in the present, without the need to extensively plan, purchase and maintain physical on-prem hardware.

In terms of providers, AWS and Azure resemble each other with regards to basic features and functionalities, but they show differences in other aspects. So let’s dive into Microsoft Azure vs AWS.

  • Key Differences between AWS & AZURE

    • Approach to computing

    The big issue in computing is scalability. AWS uses elastic cloud computing (EC2) to address this, in which you can increase and shrink provisioning on-demand, for dynamic and flexible storage.

    In EC2, users can construct Virtual Machines (VMs), and pick Machine Images (MIs) that are pre-configured, or modify MIs and change power, size and memory required. They can choose the number of machines needed as well. Now, Azure users are given the option of creating a VM from a Virtual Hard Disc (VHD), which use virtual scale sets to provide load balancing and scalability. Azure VMs work in tandem with other cloud tools as-is, however EC2 allows customisation for various uses.

    • Cloud Storage

    Cloud Storage from AWS & Azure are almost identically strong, with AWS offering S3, elastic block store and glacier, and Azure running blob storage, disk storage, and standard archive.

    Using AWS S3, customers utilise a scalable secure storage solution for a range of data use cases. In contrast, azure offers data storage in blogs, queues, disks, tables, and files, with both offering an infinite number of permissible objects, however AWS has a 5TB object size restriction, to Azure’s 4.75TB limit.

    • Security & Data Privacy

    AWS performs an excellent job of ensuring enhanced privacy by selecting secure alternatives & settings by default, whereas Azure utilises Microsoft Cloud Defender for security & data privacy – an AI-powered solution rated to protect against new and emerging threats. Azure services are not, however, 100% secure by default, as VM instances deploy with all ports open unless otherwise configured.

    • Docs & Simplicity

    For first time adoption, AWS offers greater accessibility, sporting a user-friendly, feature-rich dashboard, and extensive documentation for services.

    Azure’s documentation and recommendation systems is less intuitive and search-friendly, and the learn platform is difficult to traverse, however it offers the addition of users and access rules more easily than in AWS, as it houses user accounts & info in one location, beating the complexity of AWS.

    • Database Capabilities

    The two solutions offer a wide range of database services to handle both structured and unstructured information or big data. In terms of durability in data management, AWS users can gain from Amazon RDS, whereas Azure has the Azure SQL server database option. 

    Amazon’s relational database service (RDS) is compatible with six database engines: MariaDB, Amazon Aurora, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.

    In comparison to Azure, AWS provides a relatively mature environment for big data handling. Both systems are compatible with relational and NoSQL databases. They’re widely available, long-lasting, and provide simple, automatic replication. Although AWS offers additional instance kinds, Azure’s tooling and interface are incredibly easy to use, making it straightforward to complete numerous database operations.

    • Cloud market growth

    For the first quarter of 2021, Amazon reported revenues of $13.5 billion, higher than expert expectations of $13.1 billion. This is significantly higher than the first quarter of 2020 when AWS brought in revenues of $10.33 billion. AWS revenue increased by 32% in the quarter, up from 28% in the previous quarter. AWS revenue represented approximately 12% of Amazon’s total revenue in that quarter and nearly 47% of Amazon’s overall operating profits. AWS’s growing profitability is a major driver of Amazon’s growth.

    While Amazon discloses AWS revenue, Microsoft discloses the growth rate of Azure. This accounted for a 50% revenue increase during the previous quarter in Q2 of 2021, higher than the 46% growth predicted by analysts. Growth was reported at 59% this time last year. However, the data regarding the revenue that Microsoft does provide is from the “Intelligence Cloud” division, of which Azure is a part. It had a 23% increase in revenue to $15.1 billion. Server goods and cloud services are also included in the functional group of its quarterly reports, which saw 26% growth.

    Pricing model

    In terms of pricing, AWS and Azure both offer reasonable pricing and a pay-as-you-go pricing model. Moreover, both provide free introductory packages to give users an idea about how their systems can be integrated with on-premise software. AWS is billed on an hourly basis, with instances purchasable: 

    • On-demand:Pay only for the resources and services you use
    • Spot:Bid for extra capacity availability
    • Reserved:Reserve an instance for up to three years with an upfront payment

    Meanwhile, Azure is billed on a per-minute basis, which means users can gain from a more exact pricing component than AWS. It also allows you to enter short-term commitments to choose from prepaid or monthly charges. Short-term subscription plans on Azure provide more flexibility. Furthermore, pricing for Microsoft Azure using BT MPLS ExpressRoute is available, allowing you to improve private corporate networks into the cloud with appropriate functionality. 

    However, when the two are compared, Azure usually turns out to be the more expensive option and can add to a company’s cloud costs. This can be demonstrated in the example of Azure instances, which get more expensive as they grow in size. Azure will cost nearly twice as much as AWS for a 256GB RAM and 64vPCU configuration.

Microsoft Azure vs AWS – Takeaways

Azure and AWS offer similar features to their customers, and both cloud products are incredibly comprehensive. Users will be able to host various applications, learn about the cloud offering, use AI and ML, and gain from open-source contributions. However, a few key differences remain, mainly in the pricing model and documentation approach.

Most Azure adopters are influenced by the availability of the larger Microsoft ecosystem, including various productivity tools, business apps, and, of course, Windows. On the other hand, AWS can be more affordable and is often the better choice for first-time adopters. 

Secure IT Consult, or SITC, are proud to be Microsoft, and AWS partners. This means that we can provide you with licensing and professional service across both vendor portfolios to get you in the very best position for your cloud ascension. Whether you need Microsoft Azure, or AWS for your cloud computing solutions, choose SITC for your projects, for the very best in Cloud partnership.