AWS vs. Azure – Which is better?

AWS was always considered as the best storage solution and leads as a cloud platform. AWS is slowly being replaced by a newbie in town and that is none other than another cloud storage platform – Azure. Though Azure entered the market late but it has been successful in leaving a mark in the cloud computing market.  Azure  is gradually becoming famous among IT pros, thanks to its wide arrays of tools.

It is important to understand the differences as well as the similarities that they possess if one wishes to opt for any one of them.

Compute

AWS gives users the freedom to create their own Virtual Machines. They choose size, power, memory capacity etc. themselves, whereas Azure allows users to choose a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) to create a Virtual Machine. The users are required to specify the amount of cores and memory while choosing a VHD.

Storing Capabilities

AWS allows temporary storage allocated once the instance is created and demolished when it is terminated. AWS supports relational and NoSQL databases as well as Big Data.

On the other hand, Azure provides temporary storage through D Drive and block storage through Page Blobs for Virtual Machines. Like AWS, Azure also supports relational databases, NOSQL and Big Data but through Azure Table and HDInsight. Azure is also capable of conducting site recovery and Import Export and taking Azure Backup for archiving and recovery options.

Networking Capabilities

Since Amazon offers Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), users are able to create isolated networks within the cloud. A VPC allows users to create subnets, route tables, private IP address changes and network gateways. The same can be accomplished via the Virtual Network (VNET) offered by Azure.

Pricing Methods

Both the solutions offer pay-as-you-go service. The only difference lies in the rate at which they charge. AWS charges per hour while Azure charges per minute basis. Charging per minute provides an accurate pricing model.

Open Source Integrations

Amazon offers a good number of open source integrations including Jenkins and GitHub.

Azure offers native integrations for Windows development tools such as VBS, SQL database and Active Directory. Though Microsoft hasn’t always been keen on embracing the open source model, Azure has managed to update itself. For example, companies are now able to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Apache Hadoop clusters in Azure.

Containers and Orchestration Support

Amazon and Microsoft both have kept themselves up-to-date with the new services and offerings.

While Amazon has added machine learning tools and features targeted at IoT, Microsoft offers Hadoop support with Azure Insight.

They both have been able to retain their competition in this area of meeting new demands and offering the latest services and technologies.

Compliance

AWS and Azure, both adhere to the government compliance offerings. Both the platforms possess certifications in ITAR, DISA, HIPAA, CJIS and FIPS, among many others. They allow only screened persons to access the cloud, which is essential and primary for security reasons, specially for organizations handling sensitive information.

User friendliness Levels

Though AWS offers more features and configurations, it requires a lot more learning as compared to Azure. Azure makes it easy for users to integrate on-premises Windows servers with cloud instances to create a hybrid environment while  AWS demands a lot of learning and training  to use the power, flexibility and customization that it offers.

Hybrid Cloud Capabilities

Amazon has recently involved itself in building hybrid cloud capabilities while Microsoft has always had a strong support for hybrid cloud services with platforms like Azure StorSimple, Hybrid SQL Server and Azure Stack.

Looking at all the domains, it is quite difficult to decipher which one is better. Choosing any one of them mainly depends upon the requirement and suitability of a user or business. It is very obvious that cloud computing is here to stay and the cloud war will drag on. Thus, the two will continue to inculcate superior capabilities and keep themselves at par with each other.