AWS vs AZURE - How To Choose The Right Cloud Service Provider

By AWS vs AZURE - How To Choose The Right Cloud Service Provider

These days, everybody is turning to the cloud for their computing needs. According to Forbes, cloud computing market is estimated to reach $411 billion by 2020. Various cloud computing vendors have gone head on to claim their supremacy in the Cloud Computing industry. Like any other new concept, there comes uncertainty out of unfamiliarity. And cloud computing is not an exception. Therefore, there many factors at play when choosing the right cloud service provider that suits your needs.

Choosing the right cloud service provider is very challenging. Especially when these vendors are competing to become a leader in their domain. We have AWS and Azure in this case, who have been fierce and taken the top honors for many years in a row. Closely catching up is Google Cloud Platform which is a newcomer in this game. The question which bothers people is which cloud service provider to choose.

In this article, we will compare AWS vs Azure, who are the giants in cloud computing. The article does not intend to be a battle between AWS and Azure by making one win over the other. Choosing either of the two actually depends on your data processing needs. This article can provide you with some criteria to keep in mind when making a choice for your cloud vendor.

Without further ado, let’s get started with AWS vs Azure comparison.

Comparison Factors

We will use the following criteria to compare the two cloud service providers:

  1. General Features
  2. Pricing
  3. Compute Services
  4. Storage
  5. Databases
  6. Networking Services
  7. Container and Orchestration Support
  8. Government Compliance

General Features

AWS is the market leader in this domain. This can be attributed to the depth and breadth of its services. AWS has more than 175 services ranging from storage, database, networking, developer tools, analytical tools, management tools, IoT, security, and ERP, etc. AWS made the first move into cloud computing and without a doubt, it controls the biggest market share. AWS was initiated in 2006 and controls 40% of the market share Therefore if you would like a cloud service where many people are, AWS is the best choice. It supports Linux platform extensively. It offers more licensing flexibility. When it comes to hybrid cloud, AWS is still in progress to have a compact hybrid cloud system. AWS works with open source communities more than Azure does.

Azure comes the second in market share commanding 30% of the market. Microsoft was reluctant to cloud computing when the concept was new. They entered the market in 2010. They were faced with a couple of challenges because they were competing with a well-developed AWS cloud service. One of the problems is the lack of Linux ecosystem which they are still building. Azure is also less open to open source community. Azure has an excellent hybrid cloud platform which is good for agility. Digital businesses need a way to adapt and change direction quickly, hence Azure is a better choice here.

Pricing

AWS and Azure pricing models offer a pay-as-you-go structure. AWS will charge you on an hourly basis while Azure will charge you on a minute basis. If you want short term subscription plans, then Azure is the best choice because it gives you more flexibility. When the architecture starts scaling up, Azure will become more expensive than AWS.

Compute Services

Now let’s discuss the compute factor. The primary focus when it comes to cloud computing is computation. There are huge amounts of data generated these days ranging from eCommerce, social media platforms, etc. Of course, there is a need to process this Big Data in a quick way. Compute services make sure you can traverse the data in minutes and scale up instantly if need be. Both AWS and Azure have service to ensure these needs are met.

AWS has services such as EC2, Elastic Beanstalk, and AWS Lambda, etc. Azure has services such as Azure Virtual Machine, App Service, Container service, and Azure Functions, etc.

So according to compute services, we can see that the two cloud service providers are neck to neck. However, when you compare the cost, azure instances tend to get more expensive as the size increases. When you consider an instance with 256GB RAM and 64vPCU, AWS will charge you $3.20/hour whereas Azure will charge around $6.76/hour.

Storage Services

The next big concern in cloud computing is storing the data. Both AWS and Azure provide reliable storage services. AWS has services such as AWS S3, EBS, and Glacier, etc. while Azure has services like Blob Storage, Standard Archive, and Disk Storage.

AWS S3 prides high availability and automatic replication across locations. AWS starts functioning when the instance starts and stops when it comes to temporary storage. Azure also uses temporary storage and page blobs for VM volume. To counter AWS S3, Azure has Block storage option. Azure provides both cold and hot storage.

Database Services

Today’s data comes in different formats therefore we need evolving databases to hold this data. AWS and Azure offer various database services to handle both structured and unstructured data.

AWS has Amazon RDS while Azure has Azure SQL Server Database. Azure SQL Server Database is based on SQL whereas Amazon RDS supports different database engines like MariaDB, Amazon Aurora, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.

Both tools have features to boast of. Azure provides a friendlier interface while AWS provides better facilities with more instances. Both have services for Big Data and analytics.  AWS has EMR while Azure has HD insights.

AWS provides a more mature environment for Big Data.

The next comparison factor of AWS vs Azure is Networking Services. Let’s see how each fare in this area.

Networking Services

Amazon has Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) that enables clients to create subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges, and network gateways by creating isolated networks under the Cloud umbrella. Azure has Azure Virtual Network to counter VPC. AVN lets you do everything VPC does.

Both the AWS and Azure have solutions to extend the on-premise data center into the cloud and firewall options as well.

Container and Orchestration Support

We have seen that AWS provides more stable Big Data and analytical tools. Its several services cover areas like IoT, mobile app development, etc. AWS also provides support for Docker.

Azure offers support for Hadoop alongside services such as Azure HD Insight. Windows Server 2016 offers integration with Docker for both Windows containers and Hyper-V containers. Azure also runs Windows or Linux containers.

We see that both service providers are equal in this part, however, Azure may go a step further because of Hadoop Support.

Government Compliance

The final comparison factor between AWS vs Azure is Compliance.

Amazon has a well-established relationship with government agencies to offer a better government cloud. Amazon ensures great security measures for the data. This is important especially to firms dealing with sensitive data.

On the other hand, Microsoft provides over 50 compliance like ITAR, DISA, HIPAA, CJIS, and FIPS. Azure is neck to neck with AWS when it comes to security.

Conclusion

It is difficult to pick the winner between the two Cloud platforms because as we have seen above, they all show formidable capabilities. When it comes to choosing a better it goes down to organizational requirements. AWS offers more flexibility and extra features and Azure is excellent when it comes to Hybrid Cloud and integrating with Microsoft products.

We hope our comparison will help you to choose the cloud service provider that best suits your needs. This would also help you choose one of AWS Certification or Azure Certification which holds immense value in the current Cloud market from a career perspective.

Some of the companies using Amazon Web Services include Netflix, Twitch, LinkedIn, Facebook, BBC, Baidu, ESPN, etc. Some of the companies using Microsoft Azure include Pixar, Apple iCloud, Samsung, Boeing, eBay, Easy jet, etc.

This brings us to the end of this article on ‘AWS vs Azure’, in case you have a different opinion than we let us know what you prefer more and why.

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Eric Murithi Muchenah

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