Cloud computing is becoming more prevalent in today’s IT infrastructure environment. Before cloud computing, you needed to buy physical servers if you wanted commercial infrastructure to host your web application or database. Today, things are much different, and cloud computing makes it possible to rent rather than purchase your IT infrastructure.

Two of the biggest providers of cloud computing services are AWS and Azure. Both providers offer comprehensive services in the form of infrastructure-on-demand, machine learning models, and distributed processing.

In today’s article, we’ll dive deep into how these two services work and what sets them apart. Finally, we’ll help you determine which cloud service best suits your specific situation, AWS or Azure. Let’s get started!

AWS vs. Azure: A Side-by-Side Comparison

AWSAzure
DeveloperAmazonMicrosoft
Pricing StructurePay per hourPay-as-you-go
Release Date20062010
Cloud TypeVirtual private cloudVirtual network
Storage OfferedSimple storage service, elastic block storage, elastic file systemBlob storage, table storage, queue storage, file storage
SecurityCentralized access for permissionsRole-based access control
Machine LearningSagemaker, Alexa Skills Set, Lex speech-to-textAzure machine learning, BOT Framework, Speech services
Quantum ComputingAmazon BraketAzure Quantum

AWS vs. Azure: Overview

As cloud computing becomes more popular, more businesses are switching their infrastructure to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) models. This allows businesses to save money on IT equipment and only pay for what they need. As you can guess, the cost savings alone provide substantial encouragement for more businesses to join the cloud.

If you’re in charge of your company’s IT infrastructure, you may be considering two of the biggest cloud service providers on the planet: AWS or Azure. We’ll discuss each provider in more detail to help you better understand each one.

What is AWS?

While Amazon initially started as an electronic book store founded by Jeff Bezos, it quickly became a multifaceted company with a wide range of specialties. As Amazon grew, constant infrastructure upgrades led to bottlenecks. As a means of survival, Amazon needed to develop its own cloud platform.

AWS, short for Amazon Web Services, got its start in 2006. AWS has been a major player in the cloud computing industry for well over a decade, and a significantly higher market share reflects that popularity. As of 2021, AWS has a whopping 32% market share. While this figure is astounding, some key benefits make AWS more popular.

Amazon continued adding more features, tools, and services for customers. If a customer requested a service, Amazon quickly reacted and added it to the available offerings. This attention to customer needs led AWS to become the number one provider of cloud computing services.

What is Azure?

Azure is Microsoft’s response to AWS. Initially launched in 2010, Azure is the new kid on the block in cloud computing. Despite this, Azure has grown to take over 19% of the cloud computing market share as of 2021. Whereas Amazon started AWS to support its growing online store, Azure was more carefully planned.

Microsoft has been in the software industry for decades. While the company has a history of being a first mover and innovator, its foray into cloud computing didn’t come until the industry had already been started. As a result, Azure did not have as much time to capture early cloud computing market share.

Nonetheless, the meticulous planning and carefully orchestrated launch of Azure led to rapid growth for Microsoft’s new service. Development began in 2008 with the original announcement of the platform. By 2010, the service was already commercially available and offered various services from a content delivery network (CDN), .Net Framework, OS versioning, and SQL Azure relational database.

Microsoft Azure
Azure is ideal for those who are already integrated with the Microsoft ecosystem.

AWS vs. Azure: What’s the Difference?

More companies are switching to Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service models in response to the growing popularity of cloud computing. The battle between two of the biggest cloud service providers rages on, with AWS and Azure paving the way for increased innovation. But, what are the key differences between these two IT giants?

When discussing the differences between cloud computing platforms, you should look at both the similarities and the differences. Both companies offer very similar services regarding virtual processing, object storage, and containerization. Additionally, you get similar freedom of choice regarding operating systems and relational databases.

However, the similarities stop there. You should pay attention to the fundamental differences when comparing AWS and Azure. Each one offers something unique that could benefit your business in different ways. Let’s talk about what makes AWS and Azure unique.

Computing Power Provisioning

One of the most significant differences between AWS and Azure is how they approach computing power provisioning. AWS takes a unique approach using elastic cloud computing, also called EC2. With EC2, the computing power available will shrink or grow on demand as resources are called for.

In contrast, Azure focuses on virtual machines, also known as VMs, which rely on virtual scale sets. Virtual scale sets are better at enabling scalability and load balancing. Cloud-deployment tools like Azure VMs work in conjunction with EC2, but EC2 can be customized for different uses.

Cloud Privacy and Security

Both AWS and Azure are famed for their security and privacy features, but there are a few key differences. In order to ensure enhanced privacy, Amazon Web Services selects secure alternatives and settings by default when configuring your cloud instance.

Azure offers similar security and privacy benefits. In order to maintain the security and privacy of Azure data, Microsoft uses Cloud Defender. Cloud Defender is Microsoft’s own patented artificial intelligence-powered solution that offers protection against the most common threats. Although Azure services are generally secure, certain features may not be so, such as the deployment of virtual machines with all ports open if they are not configured otherwise.

Cloud Storage Options

Storage is one of the most essential aspects to consider when determining the best cloud computing platform. Both AWS and Azure offer a variety of standard features for storage configuration, but each one provides a different approach.

AWS offers a plethora of storage solutions, such as Amazon’s simple storage service, elastic block store, and Glacier. With AWS, users can take advantage of both structured and unstructured data storage. On the other hand, Azure provides plenty of storage options to choose from as well. With services like blob storage, disk storage, and a standard archive, you have similar freedom to configure your own unique storage solution. 

Another area to consider when determining which provider offers better storage options is the limitations on object size. Although both platforms provide an infinite number of objects, AWS caps object size at a strict 5TB limit. This is still better than Microsoft, which limits object size to 4.75TB in Azure. 

Machine Learning Features

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are growing in popularity with each passing year due to the numerous advantages for business users. With machine learning models, businesses can adapt and grow their infrastructure using the latest technology. Both AWS and Azure offer their own solutions for machine learning.

AWS is less beginner-friendly due to the need to have sufficient data science and coding skills. However, with proper guidance and technical expertise, users can take advantage of the freedom and flexibility provided by AWS’s Sagemaker model. 

In contrast, Azure is more suitable for beginners who aren’t well-versed in coding and data science. In fact, Azure’s ML Studio is intended to provide a straightforward “no code” experience. With drag-and-drop functionality, users are able to build extensive machine learning models with relatively little technical expertise.

AWS Amazon Web Services
AWS requires a bit more of a learning curve for machine learning capabilities, but AWS is great for smaller companies looking to scale without spending a lot.

Content Delivery Options

AWS and Azure both take a unique approach to networking and content delivery. With AWS, users can take advantage of a virtual private cloud to generate isolated private networks. Cross-premise connectivity is enhanced with the use of native APIs or application programming interfaces. This makes AWS ideal for creating private IP ranges, network gateways, and route tables.

On the other hand, Azure uses virtual networks instead of virtual private clouds. This brings a few advantages, namely that you are able to use a virtual private network (VPN) for cross-network communication. 

Cloud Computing Pricing Structure

If you’re on a budget, pricing is the first thing you’ll consider when choosing a cloud computing platform. Luckily, AWS and Azure are both highly transparent in the pricing structure. However, each one has benefits and drawbacks.

AWS is typically the more cost-effective option. With an hourly pricing structure, you can purchase an instance on-demand and pay for only the necessary resources. You can also bid for extra capacity and reserve an instance for up to three years with an upfront payment.

In contrast, Azure uses a per-minute pricing structure instead of an hourly one. This means you can dial in a more precise pricing component than AWS. However, Azure instances typically get more expensive as they get larger. If your business is rapidly scaling its cloud computing infrastructure, Azure can prove to be less cost-effective than AWS.

AWS vs. Azure: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • AWS offers more open-source solutions, while Azure is more closely tied to Microsoft’s closed-source platform.
  • Both AWS and Azure allow you to run complex machine learning models.
  • AWS and Azure are two of the largest Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) providers.
  • Both platforms offer highly scalable pay-as-you-go pricing models.
  • Microsoft’s pricing structure is typically more expensive than AWS, which makes it less ideal for startups and small businesses.

AWS vs. Azure: Which One Should You Pick?

Cloud computing is here to stay, and with the growing popularity of Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service models, more companies are turning to the cloud to save money on their IT needs. With cloud services, businesses no longer have to rely on buying physical servers and managing their own data centers.

AWS leads the pack in terms of innovation, scalability, and pricing. On the other hand, Azure offers its own set of unique data storage and security features. If your company is more familiar with the Microsoft ecosystem, Azure is the ideal solution. Additionally, Azure offers easy-to-use machine learning features and extensive storage configurations.

However, if you manage a small company or startup with a limited budget, AWS is the ideal choice. Thanks to a more scalable pricing structure, AWS allows you to grow your infrastructure at a lower cost. Additionally, AWS provides competitive machine learning models, security features, and an extensive support network.

AWS vs. Azure: Which is Better? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which is more popular, Azure or AWS?

AWS has a 32% market share as of 2021, while Azure has a 19% market share. This makes it clear that AWS is the preferred choice for most businesses.

Does AWS require coding?

While it is not necessary to possess any coding knowledge to use AWS, some of the more advanced features, like machine learning, require advanced programming and data science expertise.

Which is cheaper, AWS or Azure? 

While the price differences are minor for smaller cloud instances, the difference becomes noticeable the more you scale. Azure is often considered the more expensive option for larger projects.

Which one has more jobs, Azure or AWS?

If you are hoping to get a job in cloud computing, you should pursue AWS certification. With a significantly higher market share, AWS is more in-demand in today’s job market.

Does Netflix run on AWS?

Yes. Netflix uses AWS for almost all of its computing needs, from storage, databases, and analytics, to its machine learning recommendation engines.

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