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AWS Vs Azure: Which Cloud Computing Platform is Right For You?

The cloud market landscape has long been dominated by the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. If you chance a glance at the market shares of the two cloud computing platforms, you will find that AWS tops that chart and is closely followed by Azure in the second place.

But what are the statistics when it comes to their respective pricing models, support plans, data transfer loss rate, compute power, etc.? In this article, we will find answers to these questions. We shall be taking these key factors into consideration to conduct a side by side comparison between AWS and Azure. So, let’s get started !

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The Rise of AWS and Azure

Amazon entered the game of cloud computing in 2002, years before any other company stepped into the field. This gave AWS an unprecedented advantage over other cloud platforms that arrived in 2009 (Google Cloud Platform) and 2010 (Microsoft Azure).

But this was not always so with Amazon’s development platform that was in a state of utter mess until the early 2000s. However, Amazon cleaned up its act, restructured its infrastructure with documented APIs and put forward an all-inclusive solution that promised unmatched scalability, customizability and efficiency.

Azure’s journey to success was not without its own challenges; on top of being late to the field, they struggled to make optimised use of existing infrastructures and economies to increase scalability.

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Not long after that, they managed to do so by ditching Linus and adding support for a number of popular programming languages. Today, as AWS sits on the top as the leading provider of cloud solutions, it is closely followed by Azure.

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What are AWS and Azure Pricing Models Like ?

AWS has a pay-as-you-go pricing model where you are charged by the hour. There are three such models for purchasing: on demand, reserved, and spot.

Based on these three models, you purchase an instance by paying only for what you are using (there are no upfront costs included), paying an upfront cost to reserve an instance for up to 3 years from a minimum of 1 year, and finally, bidding for extra capacity using the Spot model.

Like Amazon, Microsoft also follows a pay-as-you-go pricing model but it is chargeable on the basis of minutes instead of hours. This results in prices being more exact.

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They also offer prepaid or monthly plans in case you plan to commit for a short term only.

Azure’s plans are fixed whereas AWS charges you in case of heavy usage on an existing plan.

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How Does AWS’ Market Share Compare With Azure’s?

AWS and Azure have their own formats when it comes to reporting earnings but what we know for certain is that the growth rates of both AWS and Azure have been diminishing over the last few years.

Both continue to announce increased year over year revenues (AWS earned US $11.6 billion in Q3 2020 as compared to US $8.9 billion in Q3 in 2019; 29% growth rate), but the quarter by quarter rates have declined.

It is also interesting to note that Azure has announced higher percentage growth rates in the last four years (Q3 2020: 48% growth rate) as compared to AWS (Q3 2020: 30.3%).

However, Azure’s growth is declining (60%) at a faster rate as compared to AWS (50%).

This goes to say that AWS is clearly ahead in the market which is now saturated with plenty of new players like Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba, among others.

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Azure Vs AWS: Network, Compute Power And Storage.

In order to create VMs, Azure users rely on Virtual Hard Disk (VHD), while AWS users can either choose to configure their own, customize existing MIs or take their pick from pre-configured machines images.

Azure users can also choose pre-configured VHD by specifying their requirements.

When it comes to the network, AWS has Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) which supports isolated networks created inside the cloud. Azure, on the other hand, has Virtual Network (VNET) which also allows users to create isolated networks.

Both AWS and Azure’s networks support creation of subnets, and route tables within the clouds. This extends to private IP address ranges and network gateways as well. Both AWS and Azure have temporary storage and block storage. In case of Azure, it is enabled through the D drive and Page Blobs for VMs respectively.

Both platforms are compatible with NoSQL databases and Big Data.  There are ample provisions in place for backup, archive and recovery. When AWS partnered with VMware, it made way for a hybrid cloud environment. Further, its Snowball Edge offers a 100TB hard drive to take care of heavy loading between data centres.

However, Amazon is new to this domain as compared to Microsoft that has long-standing relationships in the IT world. Thus, it offers seamless support with Azure StorSimple and Hybrid SQL Server. It also offers Azure Stack, a relatively new entrant in the hybrid platform that supports heavy functionality between cloud and clients’ data servers.

How Do AWS and Azure Fare When it Comes To User-Friendliness?

Since AWS is built for non-Windows platforms, there is a steeper learning curve to it as compared to Azure which wouldn’t require you to learn something new if you are a Windows admin. Apart from that, AWS is extremely customizable and flexible with a truckload of features and configurations.

It also supports integrations with most popular third-party platforms. Azure makes way for a hybrid environment with on-premise server integrations with cloud instances. SQL database and Active Directory are some tools that are compatible with Azure.

Is an AWS Certification Worth More Than an Azure Certification?

An AWS certification is considered extremely valuable primarily because of the many companies that use the cloud platform. Further,  an AWS certification puts you in between the elite AWS Certified community of LinkedIn and gives you access to other professionals.

You can choose from the following certifications:

  1. AWS Developer Associate
  2. AWS DevOps Associate
  3. Cloud Architect
  4. AWS Solution Architect Associate
  5. AWS SysOps Associate

With the Azure certification, you would have the backing of Microsoft, and the likelihood of landing a job in the existing Azure-based companies as well as the 365,000 new companies that get added to its clientele every year.

You can choose from the following certifications:

  1. Architect Microsoft Azure
  2. Implementing Microsoft Azure
  3. Cloud Architect
  4. Cloud Solution Architect
  5. Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

AWS and Azure have likewise contributed in the revolutionization of some of the leading industries in the world with their innovative ideas and out of the box concepts.

A certification in either would prove to be a valuable addition to your resume.

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Applications of AWS and Azure.

AWS and Azure are both cloud providers to some of the most prominent companies of today. Netflix, Grofers, OLX, Hulu, Spotify, Siemens, Ubisoft and Expedia are among AWS’ many partners of AWS. Whereas, Azure’s roster includes the likes of Samsung, eBay, BMW, Accenture and Vodafone.

Apart from this, each technology has carved its own space in society welfare. AWS has contributed to NASA’S massive repository that allows people a glimpse at far-away galaxies. Azure has been on the forefront to provide solutions to the freshwater crisis shadowing the world.

Azure’s services are spent on finding solutions to reusing and recycling resources.

Also Read: Google Cloud Vs AWS

Main Differences Between AWS vs Azure

A simple AWS and Azure services comparison will give you an overview of the main differences between the two computing platforms.

Criteria Azure AWS
Open Source Less open to the open-source community Supported open source from the beginning
User Friendliness Has a less intuitive UI Steep learning curve but is customizable and full of features
VM Users need a virtual hard disk to create a VM. Users can use pre-configured images, customize existing MI, or configure VMs themselves.
Hybrid Cloud Systems It connects with private and public clouds. Still improving its hybrid cloud system.
Temporary Storage Offers temporary storage through block storage with block blobs for objects and page blobs for VMs. Offers temporary storage upon the launch of an instance and deletes it when the instance is terminated.
Pricing Charges per minute Charges per hour
Flexibility Less flexible Highly flexible
Encryption Level Low encryption High encryption

Advantages and Disadvantages of AWS and Azure

If you are wondering – Azure or AWS which is best? Then the answer depends on personal needs, but looking at both platforms’ main pros and cons will give you more clarity. 

Advantages of AWS

  • It has enhanced security measures in place, such as using Identity and Access Management to block unauthorized access or using Transport Layer Security to prevent any threat. 
  • AWS console has various features, customization options, and comprehensive documentation, making its services much more valuable. 
  • AWS S3 buckets simplify storing data, while high storage offers data backup and archival options.

Disadvantages of AWS

  • The platform can be intimidating for beginners since it requires a little training before becoming proficient. 
  • Resources have a default limit set which varies for regions. It means users can launch only a restricted number of instances in an area.
  • Users might face some general cloud computing problems, including limited control, downtime, backup and protection. However, the issues are temporary and can be resolved. 

Advantages of Azure

  • Microsoft service integration and migration are easy, and Azure has several pre-built tools that users can use to reduce deployment time. Thus architects do not have to develop from scratch.
  • Azure has high-speed operability since the data centers are spread out worldwide. Users can upgrade service plans to scale existing infrastructure.
  • From managing code to delivering the final product, all is done in one place without disrupting other functionalities. 

Disadvantages of Azure

  • The platform offers fewer service options and features than AWS.
  • Azure’s complicated pricing involves combining multiple factors, making it difficult to estimate the exact cost. It also has hidden costs, such as data transfer fees.

Azure Vs AWS: Is One Better Than The Other ?

AWS rules the cloud computing domain but Azure is rapidly catching on. Over 55% of the Fortune 500 companies have adopted Azure as their cloud service provider.

It has proven its capabilities over and again by providing uninterrupted infrastructure and support, and solving social and logistical issues for some of the top industries in the world.

Azure and AWS are top players in the cloud computing space and will remain so in the foreseeable future. Both come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages and certifications in both Azure and AWS are worth big money today.

When it comes to selecting one of the two, take into consideration your business needs, pricing, performance, and the variety of benefits available to you. No matter which you decide to go ahead with, you can rest assured your needs will be met.

Conclusion

There’s no clear winner here – both Azure and AWS are excellent cloud platforms with distinct pros and cons.

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What are the various services provided by AWS?

AWS provides various services for managing containers, storage, compute, application integration, finances, customer engagement, IoT, machine learning, etc. It provides database services like Amazon Redshift, DynamoDB, and Amazon S3. Compute engines include Amazon EC2, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Wavelength, etc. The container services include Amazon ECS Anywhere, AWS CoPilot, and Amazon Elastic Container Registry. The IoT services provided by Amazon are AWS IoT Core, AWS IoT events, etc. All these services help various organisations scale, manage, and deploy multiple applications. The pricing follows a pay-as-you-go model; hence, it is cost-effective too.

What is meant by Amazon VPC and Azure VNet?

Amazon VPC is some part of the Cloud isolated from the rest of the Cloud. This is private to a particular organisation. In this environment, various AWS services can be deployed, and one can choose their IP address range, create subnets, configure route tables and gateways, establish VPNs, etc. Azure VNets use IPV4 and IPV6 to communicate and connect virtual machines and the private network to the Internet. VNet admins can integrate the web with Azure services, filter, route network traffic, and communicate with other Azure services and resources.

What is the pricing model of AWS services?

The AWS pricing plan consists of 3 models. The first pricing plan is based on a “Pay-as-you-go” model. This means one needs to pay based on the services and the time he/she has used that service. The second one is the saving plan model in which some offers are given on AWS Machine Learning and Compute. This plan is offered only if there is a commitment to using the service for a certain period. The payment needs to be done based on unit currency per hour. The third pricing model is based on the storage used. This model is based on the size of the objects, the time for which it is stored, and the storage class used.

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