Amazon Web Services, known as AWS, and Azure are two of the most important names in cloud computing. Each service provider offers an amazing range of features. This includes computing power and data storage; resources that help businesses grow. Over the years, both services have continued to grow as more users see the need to take their business to the cloud.
If you are not familiar with both services, making a choice can be tricky. This article provides some insights that may help point you in the right direction. It compares AWS and Azure and highlights the pros and cons of each service.
The Article Compares The Cloud Service Provider Using The Following 10 Criteria:
1. Compute Power
A computer’s primary responsibility is to calculate, compute, or process information. Organizations that need the best tools to perform these functions use cloud services.
AWS offers users some flexibility. It allows them to choose and configure their virtual machines. Their specifications come into play when making the choice. They can also choose some machine images already pre configured for them if they wish.
Users can also choose some features such as power and size. They can also decide on the number of virtual machines and memory capacity they want. The customization opportunity helps them to decide what is best for their business. Users are not restricted to a specific zone or region too. They can choose from a wide range of launching options.
The cloud service provider offers a wide range of services. They include AWS Lambda, EC2 container service, and Autoscaling. It also offers a wide range of applications. These are designed to serve different purposes. This includes analytics, management tools, storage, security, IoT, and enterprise.
Azure users can also make some choices too and get customized services. They are not restricted to a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) but can choose from the options at their disposal. The VHD is an alternative to Machine Instance they can use for creating a virtual machine. A third party, Microsoft, pre-configures the VHD. The user is responsible for the memory size and cores they need. They specify this in advance for Microsoft.
2. Storage Capabilities
Another important use of cloud service is storage. From time to time, you may need to store important data.
Both services support an array of relational databases. If you support a NoSQL or relational database, you can get storage services from either of them.
AWS provides temporary storage services. It is initialized once you start an instance. The storage is automatically destroyed once you stop the instance.
The temporary storage is not its only feature. It also offers block storage that performs the same functions as hard disks. You can separate the disk from an instance or attach it to it.
Through its S3 feature, it offers Object storage. This type doesn’t treat data as a file but as objects. You only need to take a glance at it to get any information about your stored data. It’s that simple.
Big Data and NoSQL databases are other storage facilities. The cloud service provider supports them fully.
Similarly, Azure’s storage is temporary too. It combines the temporary storage with page blobs. This enables it to handle high volume data.
Azure offers three major blob storage classes. These are:
- Hot: This storage type allows you to have access to data you store in the blob storage account. It offers some basic storage options. It enables you to accept files from your customers or store some files. Easy access to whatever data you store is also guaranteed. Of course, you can perform other functions such as reading and writing to the storage too.
- Archive: Archive offers a permanent storage option. Once you put your data in it, you can’t read it. You can only write to it. The write-only feature has several applications. It is great for disaster discovery. You can also count on it if you want to store data for a couple of years without the fear of losing it. You can only retrieve the data by changing the account type.
- Cool: This is the most affordable storage option. Azure created it to provide businesses with a low budget platform for their cloud computing needs. You will find it ideal for storing any data you don’t need regular access to. Note that you can get easy access to your data whenever you need it. You must be ready to cover the retrieval cost though.
Apart from the storage, Azure supports some relational databases too. It does this through HDInsight and Azure Table, two of its features. Notable ones it supports are Big Data and No SQL. It also possesses Cortana Intelligence Suite and other storage facilities. The suite comes fully equipped with Spark, Hadoop, HBase, and Storm. These are powerful databases.
Since you can use Amazon’s relational database on both platforms, you will also have access to some of the database engines it supports. They are Amazon Aurora, MariaDB, PostgresQL, MySQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL.
A cloud service provider must offer its users some networking opportunities and facilities. It gives them access to partners and networks. These are the media through which data centers are interconnected throughout the world.
AWS offers users Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). This is a great platform where they can leverage the power of the cloud to create networks for their business. As a user, you can create private IP address ranges, route tables, network gateways, and subnets, all within the VPC.
While AWS offers VPC, Azure offers another networking tool: Virtual Network (VNET). You can’t build a private or isolated network without VNET.
It is reassuring that both Azure and AWS also offer users firewall solutions and options. This is a security measure to ensure your private connections are secure.
4. Pricing Model
When an enterprise is considering cloud service, it shouldn’t overlook pricing.
Both services offer free trials for new customers. Although there is a usage limit, you can take advantage of this to try out a service before subscribing to it.
AWS and Azure handle their pricing differently. AWS charges per hour on its pay-as-you-go pricing model. As a user, you are only charged per usage every hour. Increased usage attracts less pay though.
They encourage users to use the flexible pricing to the fullest. It helps to reduce their cost while enjoying the huge benefits the service provider offers.
You have three AWS instances to choose from. These are:
- Reserved Instances: This instance offers a very simple and cost-effective option. Its subscribers will only pay an upfront cost on whatever they use. You can reserve your instance for up to three years if you wish.
- On-demand Instances: As the name implies, you are paying for whatever you use only. You won’t be charged any extra cost.
- Spot Instances: If extra capacity is available, you are free to bid for it.
To its credit, Azure has two plans: monthly and prepaid charges. Both are short-term services. As a user, you are free to make your choice. When it comes to pricing, Azure offers more flexibility than AWS.
5. User Experience
Another important factor for comparison for aws vs azure is how user-friendly they are. This attribute determines how comfortable a user will be using a service.
AWS offers more configurations and features. Individuals who wish to understand the system better will appreciate its configurations.
If your primary focus is on its features, you are going to like it. It is flexible, powerful, and gives enough room for customizations. You can incorporate a third-party service into AWS effortlessly. You must be willing to learn how it works to understand how user-friendly it is.
Azure is the easier of the two for new users. Windows admins don’t have to learn how to use it. It is a Windows-based cloud tool.
6. Compliance with Government Agencies
Governments regulate cloud services. They want to ensure that they don’t abuse the confidential and personal information in their possession. So, the compliance of these cloud service providers deserves a look into.
Amazon enjoys a robust relationship with the agencies. So, its activities are certified by the government. Some of the notable agencies that recognize their operations and certified okay for users are HIPAA, ITAR, FIPS, DISA, and CJIS.
The company also provides adequate security for its users. It ensures that only screened people have access to the cloud. This is a directive from the government for agencies in possession of very sensitive information.
Microsoft is also compliant with the government’s directives. It also shares some certifications with Amazon. This includes DISA, FIPS, ITAR, CJIS, and HIPAA too.
The company doesn’t allow unscreened personnel to have access to sensitive information in its possession. It is safe to say that both providers take the security of information in their disposal seriously.
7. Hybrid Cloud Capabilities
Another important factor for consideration is their hybrid cloud capabilities. How does each cloud service provider fare in this regard?
Recently, AWS released its Snowball Edge. This is a hard drive with 100 TB of space. It is used for transferring workloads between clients’ data centers and cloud. There is more to it than its storage capabilities. It can also perform edge-computing workloads and local processing.
It also supports AWS Lambda or serverless computing, Simple Storage Service (S3), and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). These are crucial to hybrid cloud computing.
Its partnership with VMware also boosts its hybrid cloud capabilities. The alliance opened the way for VMWare’s customers to use its cloud environment. It is interesting to know that Amazon is working on boosting its hybrid cloud capability.
Microsoft has been providing legacy IT for years. So, it can boast of better hybrid cloud services than its competitors. Hybrid SQL Server, Azure StorSimple, and Azure Stack are some of its platforms that support this service.
A cloud provider’s relationship with third parties may bear on their performance and acceptance too.
Over the years, Amazon has developed a robust relationship with the third party. The open source community has made itself available for AWS support. GitHub and Jenkins lead this team. AWS also supports Linux servers better than Azure.
Individuals using some Windows-based development tools will receive native integration from Azure. These include SQL database, VBS, and Active Directory. With your existing AD accounts, you can sign in to Azure SQL instances and Office 365. This supports its integration claims.
Both cloud service providers offer a wide range of licensing options. Amazon allows users to choose a plan that meets their needs. A customer may decide to buy a new license with Relational Databases Services instant. Another option comes with the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance. You can also present licenses you purchased before (BYOL). Users can use the company’s Software Assurance to move their licenses to the cloud. Another option is the Dedicated Hosts.
Before you can make the transfer, move your Microsoft Server application products to the service provider. They can use the License Mobility through Software Assurance program for the migration.
The server application must be credible. It must make the list of eligible services and products. SQL Server Enterprise Edition, Exchange Server, and Sharepoint Server are some of them.
Azure users can also take advantage of Microsoft’s license mobility offer. This offer is for qualifying application servers only. You must determine whether your servers meet the mobility requirements set by the company or not. This is necessary if you want to avoid paying extra money for licensing.
The truth is that Windows server is ineligible. You will be charged double fees if you run a virtual machine in the cloud, especially if you are using the same stack. The charging method allows this. Users are not charged by eligibility for mobility but per usage. This makes it a bit expensive. Nonetheless, you can use the SQL license. It is eligible and ideal for running SQL server in the cloud.
10. Provision for New Features
Amazon has continued to invest in research to meet new demands from users. Over the years, this has had a positive impact in its offerings.
The company has added some features and machine learning tools. These devices are for the Internet of Things. So, it creates a platform where customers can build mobile apps to meet their needs. They can create a computing environment with high performance attributes.
Azure’s Microsoft also has a reputation for meeting increasing demands. Its Azure HDInsight and Hadoop show its support for new features.
Individuals and organizations using its Windows Server 2016 can testify to its support. It offers them Docker for Hyper-V and Windows containers. The flexible platform is also designed to run Linux and Windows containers effortlessly.
AWS Vs Azure: What Are The Differences?
To make the distinction between these services clearer, check the comparison table below:
|Microsoft owns this public cloud platform.
It is a great platform for Hybrid Cloud. Thus, it enables companies to combine their cloud instances with onsite servers.
|AWS is Amazon’s cloud computing platform.
It is not as strong as Azure in the Hybrid Cloud space.
|It has a lesser reach than AWS in Government cloud services||It is better than Azure in this aspect|
|It offers a less flexible pricing model||It provides a more flexible pricing model|
|A strong global presence in more than 36 regions across the globe||It focuses on numbers than increasing its presence in more regions|
|Better memory allowance||Less memory allowance|
|It is less mature for big data although there are signs of improvement||It is ideal for big data|
|It doesn’t offer long-term data archiving and retrieval||Long-term data retrieval and archiving are allowed|
|It offers security on the entire account||It offers security on with permission-controlled feature|
|It has fewer features and configurations.||It has more configurations and features such as power, flexibility, and customization|
|Its storage services include Blob Storage, Tables, Azure Drive, and Containers.||It uses S3, SQS, EBS, Buckets, and CloudFront storage devices.|
Pros Of Azure
The different features Azure offers come with tons of benefits. Some of these are:
- It supports Microsoft legacy apps.
- It supports both Windows and Linux environments.
- Simple migration with a single click.
- Fully scalable computing service.
- Easy application creation and development for both users and developers.
- Some great inbuilt tools such as Azure Stack.
- It is fully aware of enterprise needs.
Cons of Azure
Azure has the following drawbacks:
- Extra payment as you go.
- Global data hosting. This requires verification with Microsoft in countries with data restrictions order.
- It costs extra money to fix the glitches associated with its cloud-based services.
- It is less flexible with non-Windows platforms.
Pros of AWS
- Broad offerings.
- Better support.
- You can use a database of your choice.
- Licensing method is pretty simple.
- You can use an operating system of your choice.
- Stronger support for analytics and Bi.
- Minimal information loss during storage and server transfer.
Cons of AWS
- It is not as hybrid cloud-friendly as Azure.
- Too many products lead to a difficult selection process.
- It is not ideal for sensitive industries.
- No customer support.
- Confusing technology to non-tech savvy people.
Azure Vs AWS: Which Is Better?
Now you know the major differences between Azure and AWS. You’ve also learned the pros and cons of each service. The final decision lies with you. You can evaluate each and determine what will be the best fit for your business or organization.