In the cloud computing field, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are the two most well-known names. AWS now has a larger revenue base, while Azure has a larger user base. Here, we'll try to figure out the differences between the two and help you determine which is better over 'AWS vs. Azure'.
AWS and Azure are the top two cloud platforms available today and the majority of the organizations across the globe and using either of these two platforms. So, before selecting any one of these, it is essential for businesses to get familiarized with their features and services.
If you are in a confused state to choose between AWS vs Azure for your business requirements, then you are in the right place.
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This blog provides you with an insight into AWS and Azure and compares all their features and services. Thus, it gives you a clear idea of which of these cloud platforms is best for your organization.
Here are the top key features that we are going to consider in the comparison between AWS vs Azure:
Before going to the key factors’ comparison part, let us provide a brief introduction to AWS and Azure.
AWS is a cloud computing service created by Amazon, and it provides services in the form of building blocks; these services can be used to create and deploy any application in the cloud.
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Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for deploying, building, testing, and managing services and applications through Microsoft data centers. It supports different programming languages, frameworks, and tools including third party and Microsoft-specific software and systems
[Related Article: What is Azure]
Now, let’s dive into the key elements that we are going to consider to make a comparison between Azure vs AWS.
A content delivery network [CDN] is a distributed network of servers that delivers efficient content to the users. The content is temporarily stored on servers in the nearest local regions. Now, let's check how Azure and AWS are providing the CDN services to their users.
Microsoft Azure CDN provides a solution to the developers to deliver fast and high-bandwidth content to users with high security and real-time analytics. It can also speed up dynamic content which cannot be cached by various network optimizations using CDN POPs.
CloudFront is the Content Delivery Network for AWS which is easy to get started and integrates using a Simple storage service. AWS is providing CDN for less price and it suits best for startups.
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In terms of storage, AWS has a better offering than Azure.
Azure: Azure supports import-export, site recovery, and additional backup for archival and retrieval options. The primary storage of Azure is Microsoft's cloud, and it is designed to resolve your current data storage issues. Azure stores your temporary data using disk drives, blocks, and file system services.
AWS: AWS has a Simple Storage Service which can be used for object storage and delivery. It allocates the storage once an instance gets started and the storage gets destroyed when the instance is terminated.
It has block storage (same as a hard disk) that can be attached or separated by the instance. Object storage provides S3 and archival data services with Glacier. It fully supports Big Data, relational and NoSQL databases.
The next factor is computed or computation services; it is the core feature offered by most cloud computing platforms.
Azure: Azure is one of the major cloud computing service providers. It provides several infrastructures, including App services, functions, VMs, container services, etc.
The Azure Marketplace has various templates to choose from like Windows Server, SharePoint Server, SQL Server, Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu, NextGen WebApp Firewall, etc. Users can select the availability region and standard VM size which is available in the Marketplace.
AWS: AWS provides various virtual compute services for effective computing. Some of the leading computing infrastructures include Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2, Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Lambda, etc.
Amazon Machine Images (AMI) are available in the marketplace to choose between different operating systems. Users can configure their machines with templates and specify memory and cores.
Cloud networking is also a part of the cloud computing infrastructure to interconnect with cloud-based applications, solutions, and services.
Azure: By offering a virtual network (VNET), Azure enables the users to create separate networks as well as route tables, network gateways, private IP addresses, and subnets.
AWS: By offering a virtual private cloud(VPC), AWS allows users to create separate networks, subnets, network gateways, private IP addresses, and route tables under the cloud umbrella.
Both enterprises have solutions to extend the on-premise data centers into the firewall and cloud options as well.
Since databases consist of data in huge amounts and various formats, users are facing problems accessing the data. To overcome this, both Azure and AWS provide different kinds of databases to handle both structured and unstructured data.
Azure: Azure uses SQL database, PostgreSQL and MySQL for the relational database, Cosmos database for NoSQL solutions, and Redis Cache for caching purposes.
AWS: AWS uses relational databases for durability, and it supports different database engines like Amazon Aurora, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB. It also provides DynamoDB for NoSQL solutions and Elastic Cache for caching purposes.
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Azure and AWS data centers are highly secured firms and strong physical security is present in each data center. Trust agencies certify data security and compliance.
As cloud providers store sensitive business information, they provide high-end encryption and strong password policies for VMs, Databases, and Applications.
Amazon EC2 uses a modified version of the Xen hypervisor which can significantly improve the performance of virtual machines through Paravirtualization. Besides, access to the CPU comes with separate privileges.
Azure and AWS use multifactor authentication and mutual SSL authentication. All firewall ports are closed and users must give access to the incoming traffic. Amazon provides the ability to split the levels of access groups.
Comparing the price of AWS and Azure is a complicated thing because computing power units vary between Azure and AWS.
Azure: Azure has a PAYG (pay as of you-go) but they charge per minute. It provides exact pricing models and short-term commitments with monthly plans and prepaid services.
AWS: Similar to Azure, AWS also follows the PAYG model, but they charge per second. Purchase instances are based on the following conditions. Find here how do you pay for AWS?
You can use Azure and AWS calculators to estimate the cost according to your cloud requirements. Both vendors are providing trial versions for new users. Try it once and choose the best one which meets your needs.
[Related Article: AWS Pricing]
Open source is the essential feature to discuss in the Azure and AWS battle. Let us check how they are providing the services.
Azure: Azure provides Windows development tools such as VBS, SQL database, and active directories for corporate users. To use the current active directory, a user needs to log in to the Azure cloud platform and run the .net framework on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
AWS: AWS is an excellent option for open source developers as it offers several integrations for various open-source applications.
Azure: Azure provides more than 50 agreements, including ITAR, HIPAA, FIPS, DISA, CJIS, and more. Azure provides security to the data so that it allows authorized persons to access the cloud.
AWS: AWS has a good and long relationship with the government agencies, and they are offering the compliances including CJIS, HIPAA, FIPS, DISA, and a lot more. AWS also provides security so that only authorized persons can access the cloud and handle sensitive agencies' information.
When it comes to security, AWS is neck to neck with Azure.
Azure: Azure is the most powerful and user-friendly cloud platform. Many organizations are migrating to this platform due to its ease-to-use nature and quick results. If you are a Windows admin, you can use Azure without learning anything new as it doesn’t require any new installations. You can integrate the Windows server with the cloud instances to create hybrid environments. Azure provides wonderful tools such as SQL database, Active Directory, etc., according to the user requirements.
[Related Article: Learn Azure Active Directory]
AWS: AWS is also a user-friendly cloud platform to users. But, it is a bit complex when compared to Azure because the user needs to learn new system configurations and features. Also, the user needs to install new installations and understand all the settings of a system.
Azure: To get the Azure license, a user needs to meet specific requirements. Azure offers license mobility only for the qualifying application servers. So, users need to check their server whether it is suitable for mobility to avoid extra paying.
Windows Server itself does not satisfy the license mobility eligibility list. So, if you are running the VM on the server, the Windows server pays only for the usage of the instance.
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Azure: Azure has long supported hybrid cloud services such as Azure Stack, Azure StorSimple, and Hybrid SQL Server. These services allow you to bring full Azure functionalities to your own premises data centers using the PAYG model for its public cloud.
AWS: Amazon recently launched a hybrid cloud service called Snowball Edge. It is a 100TB hard drive and allows the users to move workloads between the company's cloud and client data centers. Amazon is still developing its hybrid services.
Last but not least, let us discuss the market share of Azure and AWS.
According to the Canalys report, the market shares of Azure and AWS are increasing day by day. Canalys chief analyst Edwards has said that “Nowadays, the cloud infrastructure is moving into a new phase of hybrid, where IT was adopting these services to make the integration easier.”
Considering the global cloud infrastructure services market this year, AWS achieved the biggest gain with sales up to US$2.3 billion and Microsoft Azure is in the second position with sales up to US$ 1.4 billion.
Here is a table depicting the comparison between Azure vs AWS in a comprehensive manner:
|Microsoft Azure CDN provides a solution to the developers to deliver fast and high-bandwidth content to users with high security and real-time analytics.||CloudFront is the Content Delivery Network for AWS, which is easy to get started and integrates using a Simple storage service.|
|The primary storage of Azure is Microsoft's cloud which is designed to resolve your current data storage issues.||AWS has a Simple Storage Service which can be used for object storage and delivery.|
|Azure integrates with several infrastructures, including App services, functions, VMs, container services, etc.||AWS also integrates with computing infrastructures include Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2, Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Lambda, etc.|
|Azure offers a virtual network (VNET).||AWS provides a virtual private cloud (VPC).|
|Azure uses SQL database, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and a lot more.||AWS uses Amazon Aurora, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB.|
|Azure uses both multifactor authentication and mutual SSL authentication to avoid unauthorized users.||AWS also uses both multifactor authentication and mutual SSL authentication to avoid unauthorized users.|
|Azure has a PAYG (pay as of you-go), but they charge per minute.||Amazon also follows the PAYG model, but they charge per second.|
|Azure provides Windows development tools such as VBS, SQL database, and active directories for corporate users.||AWS is ideal for open source developers as it welcomes Linux users and offers several integrations for various open-source applications.|
|Azure provides more than 50 agreements, including ITAR, HIPAA, FIPS, DISA, CJIS, and more.||AWS also provides CJIS, HIPAA, FIPS, DISA, and lot more.|
|Azure is the most powerful and user-friendly platform for users.||Compared to Azure, AWS is not a user-friendly platform for users.|
|Azure provides a license to the user when they meet the requirements.||AWS provides the new license to users or they can renew the old license.|
|Azure offers hybrid cloud services such as Azure Stack, Azure StorSimple, and Hybrid SQL Server.||AWS recently launched a hybrid cloud service called Snowball Edge.|
|Azure market share value in dollars is US$1.4 billion.||AWS's market share value in dollars is US$2.3 billion.|
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We hope this article helps you to understand the key differences between the features and services of “Azure and AWS.” Both Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s AWS are powerful & dynamic cloud platforms.
AWS offers several features, and Azure is still growing and introducing new and exciting features. So it is difficult to pick a clear winner in this battle. Both providers can be used for different parts of operational needs according to your business requirements.
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Usha Sri Mendi is a Senior Content writer with more than three years of experience in writing for Mindmajix on various IT platforms such as Tableau, Linux, and Cloud Computing. She spends her precious time on researching various technologies, and startups. Reach out to her via LinkedIn and Twitter.
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