Cloud computing is a growing industry with several corporate enterprises and websites looking for a cloud domain. However, when it comes to picking the right cloud-based platform, users can get into quite a dilemma. Currently, there are two platforms ruling the market, namely- AWS and AZURE.
With over a million customers, 2 million servers, 100,000 Weather-Forecasting Computer Cores and $10 billion in annual revenue, AWS is one of the major cloud computing platforms. The platform has powered about 40% of the cloud computing market and is the oldest most experienced cloud player. AWS has been around for 11 years in operation, providing a widespread list of computing services, mobile networking features, deployments functions, machine learning and more. AZURE, on the other hand, is a relatively new and growing cloud-based platform that is slowly taking over the market. The platform is expanding at a rate of 120K new customers per month and already has an extensive user base of 5 million organizations and 4 million developers registered worldwide.
Making a choice between these two impressive platforms is not an easy task. The user needs to be aware of the different features and functionalities of these two options before they make an informed choice. This is where we come to help. We have listed some of the major points of difference between these two platforms;
These are some of the areas that we will be focusing on;
However, before we begin, let us first try to understand what AWS and AZURE are all about.
Amazon Web Services aka AWS is a cloud service platform established and operated by Amazon. Amazon is a versatile and multipurpose platform that offers a varied range of services in different sectors such as computation, storage, delivery, and other services that aid businesses grow and expand their profits. These domains have widened into different industries and are used to improve the scalability of a wide range of small scale and established businesses. AWS is also used to create and deploy diverse kinds of applications on the cloud platform. These services are designed in such a way that they develop a holistic and organic working environment and perfectly complement each other.
AWS offering services can be sorted into 3 categories- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). Launched in 2006, AWS soon rose to become the best cloud platform among those currently available. Some of the advantages that give AWS an edge over the others is great management skills, overhead reduction solutions and effective cost minimization.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud service platform by Microsoft, which caters to different departments such as cloud computation, creating storage, database management, building networking solutions, developer tools among other features to help an organization become more scalable and expansive in its reach and performance. The services offered by Azure can be categorized into 3 main types- the platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). With these 3 services at their disposal, developers and software engineers can now create, organize and manage services and applications through the cloud.
Microsoft Azure was launched in 2010 and in a surprisingly short time, it has grown into one of the best and leading cloud-based systems in the market. It has emerged as one of the biggest commercial cloud service providers. It offers a wide range of integrated cloud services and functionalities such as analytics, computing, networking, database, storage, mobile and web applications that seamlessly integrate with your environment in order to achieve efficiency and scalability.
Cloud-based platforms usually offer excellent computation features that take care of all your business needs. The two aforementioned platforms are equally competent when it comes to cloud computation. Developers can configure their own VMs or go for readymade machine images, or customize using the latest AWS EC2 version. With AWS, one can also customize the size, power, and capacity of the VMs, and pick different locations and zones to store and launch them from.
Azure, on the other hand, allows users to pick Virtual Hard Disk (VHD), which is very similar to a Machine Instance, to generate a VM. VHD can be customized by Microsoft, a third party or the user. But for that, you have to specify the memory, amount and location of the VMs.
Contrary to popular belief, cloud storage is not always unlimited. AWS, for instance, has a temporary storage system that is created and allocated only after the instance starts. The memory is automatically deleted after the instance is destroyed. AWS also offers block storage options which are the same as hard disks. Users can separate or attach different storage locations to an instance. The S3 version offers object storage options, while data archiving services are provided with Glacier. AWS also supports relational and NoSQL databases and Big Data.
Azure, on the other hand, has temporary storage that is offered through the D drive and the block storage features are executed through Page Blobs for VMs. Block Blobs and Files also used as object storage in the AZURE systems. The platform also supports relational databases like NoSQL and Big Data through Azure Table and HDInsight platforms. Azure also offers site recovery, Import-Export, and Azure Backup. This allows users to add extra archiving and recovery options to their database.
Cloud services are great for improving the networking capabilities of the business enterprise. It helps enterprises establish a solid and transparent communication channel that allows greater flexibility and design to developers. AWS offers a service called Amazon offers Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) that allows users to create isolated networks within the cloud. With Microsoft’s AZURE, users get a Virtual Network (VNET) that allows people to produce remote networks as well as subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges, and network gateways. Both these platforms offer virtual networking capabilities to widen the on-premise data center and convert it into the cloud and firewall option.
Both AWS and AZURE are available for all business models and offers affordable pricing schemes. People can pick from a wide range of options, customize their plans and get optimized services. Amazon has a pay-as-you-go model where the AWS customer is charged on an hourly basis. Plus, the Instances can be purchased either on-demand where the user pays only for what they use and no upfront charges. The next option is the reserved option where the user can reserve an instance for 1-3 years after paying an upfront cost. The Spot option is where the customers bid for extra capacity available.
In AZURE, the pricing options are pretty much the same. Microsoft’s pricing is also pay-as-you-go, but the difference is that while at AWS the cost is charged hourly, here, they charge per minute. This accounts for a more meticulous pricing model. Azure also bids short term pledges that can be paid in monthly charges. Also, while AWS pricing is calculated on usage, the AZURE pricing occurs at a fixed monthly rate. AWS can hence be a slightly expensive option if you use cloud services a lot.
Amazon has had a healthier association with the open-source community in the past few years. This gives AWS an added advantage, users will find better open-source integrations on the platform, including some big shot names like Jenkins and GitHub. AWS is also compatible with Linux servers making things a lot easier for developers.
AZURE is a relatively new platform and therefore not as extensive as AWS when it comes to open-source networks. The platform offers local development tools like VBS, SQL database and Active directory to people who are familiar with Windows development framework. Azure is an ideal option for .net developers. It sure is catching up with AWS and can now support Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Apache Hadoop clusters in Azure.
Amazon frequently participates in completing and delivering demands by launching innovative services in the industry. Armed with the experience and expertise of working as a cloud-based platform for many years, AWS is a far more mature space that offers analytics supports like Hadoop which if offered by AWS Elastic Map Reduce. AWS has even added machine learning tools and structures focused at IoT systems. This allows customers to build mobile apps or produce high-performance computing settings as per their needs. AWS even offers support for Docker.
With Microsoft’s AZURE, the platform has a good track record for meeting extensive demands and offering unique services. AZURE comes with Hadoop support and a special feature called Azure HDInsight. The Windows Server 2016 can be connected with Docker and is compatible with both Windows containers and Hyper-V containers. AZURE runs great on both Windows and Linux containers.
Amazon has always adhered to the restrictions and terms laid down by government agencies. AWS was designed in a way so as to comply with all the certifications laid down in ITAR, DISA, HIPAA, CJIS, FIPS, and more. AWS is, therefore, a more credible platform of the two as it provides proper protection against online threats. Also, AWS has a stronger screening process that only allows authorized users to access the sensitive and protected filed in the cloud.
When it comes to legal certifications though, even AZURE is not far behind. Microsoft deems to have over 50 compliant offerings, including ITAR, DISA, HIPAA, CJIS, FIPS under its name. The platform is on par with Amazon when it comes to offering web security to its users. Like, AWS, even AZURE users can protect their information with passwords and encryptions. Thus, these files are only screened on government-level cloud systems and accessible to authorized users.
Both AWS and AZURE are user-friendly, and yet both also have their own complications. AWS, in particular, has a steeper learning curve, but it’s easier once you’re accustomed to it. The first-time user can get very confused with the sheer range of features and configurations. Developers and IT experts will love working with the platform as it offers a great deal of flexibility and freedom to the user when it comes to customization and integration of third-party extensions.
AZURE, in comparison, is simpler, even easy for people who are used to working with Windows platform. The interface is intuitive but not innovative enough though. Also, integrating new servers, cloud instances and generating hybrid environments are not as challenging. Users who are familiar with tools such as SQL database and Active Directory would love working with AZURE.
On Amazon, users can avail licenses from multiple options. The first is where customers can acquire new licenses which will be bundled with EC2 or Relational Database Services instances. Another way is to renew or regain their previous licenses (BYOL) and include them in their new collaboration with Microsoft. For this, users can use Dedicated Hosts or Software Assurance to transfer their certificates to the cloud. However, before you move a license from one location to another, ensure that all the Microsoft Server application products are also moved to cloud Service provider with the License Mobility through Software Assurance program. This feature is usually covered with active Software Assurance (SA). The server requests must also be on the list of qualified products, like SharePoint Server, SQL Server Enterprise Edition, and Exchange Server.
In AZURE, Microsoft offers license flexibility for succeeding servers, although it is the user who has to decide the credibility and accessibility of the servers. Users can check if the servers are appropriate for moving to a different location and if it can happen without paying an extra charge.
AWS and Azure are very similar in many ways and different in several others. And in all honesty, it would be an unfair comparison to put these two platforms against one another. After all your choice of a cloud platform depends on your business needs. Both these platforms have their share of pros and cons, benefits and disadvantages that users have to deal with. And choosing either of these two will work wonders for the business and your online reputation.
In this article, we compared two of the most popular and commonly used cloud service providers. Both of their advantages and disadvantages. For more information related to this, you can check out the courses offered by KnowledgeHut, Microsoft Azure Fundamentals and AWS Certification.
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