Cloud computing is the use of a virtual computer system for data storage and management. This eliminates the need for onsite servers and infrastructure. Cloud services provide on-demand access to your uploaded data at a cost. Companies are moving to the cloud in droves because it is convenient, secure, cost-effective, and scalable. The only question is: Amazon Web Services (AWS) vs Azure, which is better?
According to Statista, Azure and AWS are the top two players in the cloud computing space. These services are often used by large firms and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Both AWS and Azure offer comprehensive management services and are recognized for their cloud capabilities.
Considering their popularity, those looking into cloud computing jobs may be interested to know the differences between AWS and Azure. Read on as we take a look at Microsoft Azure vs AWS and see which of these skills would be a better fit for your career goals.
What Is Azure?
Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft in 2010. Azure makes it possible to build, test, deploy, and manage applications and services through Microsoft data centers. Azure has the second-highest market share, behind only AWS. Azure is available in more than 60 regions worldwide and 140 countries, offering more than 100 types of services.
Azure is unique because it has more data centers and delivery points when compared with other cloud services, allowing it to deliver faster content and a fantastic user experience. You can also store any type of data and share it across virtual machines (VMs).
What Is AWS?
AWS, which stands for Amazon Web Services, began back in 2006. It aims to provide cloud computing services to large enterprises but has had success with smaller businesses and individuals, making it the top-rated open source cloud platform.
Amazon’s service has the top market share and is available in more countries worldwide than Azure or any other platform. AWS offers more than 200 types of services to over a million people around the world.
AWS has an excellent track record. The services the platform provides offer many features and flexibility, especially in its secure cloud computing environment.
One notable feature is Elastic Beanstalk, a service for deploying applications that combine various AWS services. These include EC2, S3, Simple Notification Service, auto-scaling, and Elastic Load Balancers.
AWS vs Azure: The Most Important Differences and Similarities
Microsoft Azure and AWS are both top providers in the cloud computing industry, designed to offer similar features, such as essential capabilities, services, and security. However, there are also several features that set them apart. Let’s dig deeper into AWS vs Azure.
The Key Differences Between AWS and Azure
First, let’s start by doing an AWS vs Azure product comparison. The differences between AWS and Azure are their pricing models, developer tools, and network. Because both cloud service providers offer top-quality services, these differentiating details may be the most crucial factor when deciding whether to choose Azure or AWS.
Difference: Pricing Models
In terms of pricing, AWS and Azure both have pay-as-you-go models, but Azure is cheaper and far less complex than AWS. For example, if you were to choose an option that was on-demand for Windows, memory-optimized with four CPUs and 16 GB memory, it would cost $0.85 per hour for Azure and $0.95 for AWS.
In terms of pricing, Azure and Google Cloud are more similar than Azure and AWS. This is because they both try to match AWS at a lower price, while AWS, being the more popular option, does not. You can find full pricing details on the Azure and AWS websites.
Difference: Developer Tools
Developer tools are essentially kits that allow people working in DevOps to deploy software in a fast and secure way. When comparing Azure tools to AWS, it’s important to note that the former is a Microsoft product. As such, it’s more suited for platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers or Windows integration.
Meanwhile, AWS is created by Amazon, a tech giant with a large mobile application and website user base. AWS developer tools are designed to help you build software that can run on both platforms seamlessly. Therefore, if you are looking for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or a diverse set of tools, AWS is likely the better solution.
Amazon offers a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to create isolated networks within the cloud. Within a VPC, a user can create subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges, and network gateways. This is an important feature to note when we are doing an Azure-AWS network comparison.
Azure offers Virtual Network (VNET), which gives users the ability to create isolated networks and subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges, and network gateways. Both providers offer the ability to extend on-premises data centers within the cloud.
Difference: Computing Power
AWS’s main computing solution is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). It allows users to perform tasks such as deployment, monitoring, and maintenance of virtual servers easily. EC2 can also be tailored to specific user needs, allowing for maximum scalability and flexibility.
Microsoft Azure users can achieve the same because they have the option to create their own Virtual Machines (VM) from a virtual hard disc. This affords them the same scalability as AWS. While some industry professionals recommend AWS for storage solutions and Azure for its computing power, it all boils down to your organizational needs.
There are several Azure and AWS certifications that you can take to demonstrate your cloud computing skills. Some of the most popular cloud certifications are Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals, Microsoft Certified: Cybersecurity Architect Expert, AWS Certified: Cloud Practitioner, and AWS Certified: DevOps Engineer.
The major difference between Azure and AWS certifications is that the latter has more resources to support learning. Because AWS has been around longer, it has built a bigger community of users and is able to provide around three times as many resources as its competitors. AWS also offers some free resources to help beginners ease into it faster.
In terms of features, the Azure vs AWS debate is a matter of user access. FAWS uses VPC, which means users can create isolated networks. As such, only those given defined roles can access certain features. Meanwhile, Azure users can inherit access when they become a member of the security group.
Amazon has established great relationships with government agencies, which makes AWS a great cloud provider for companies dealing with sensitive information. Microsoft, on the other hand, has around 50 compliant offerings. One area where Azure excels more is its phenomenal hybrid cloud support, which allows for smoother integration with onsite servers.
It’s time to compare AWS and Azure’s database support. Both offer relational and non-relational cloud databases. AWS has Amazon Aurora, Amazon RDS, and general-purpose NoSQL databases like Amazon DocumentDB. Meanwhile, Azure has Azure SQL, Azure Database for PostgreSQL, Azure Cosmos DB, and more.
Both AWS and Azure also offer comprehensive deployment guidance and license mobility for Microsoft SQL. However, Azure offers the added benefit of hybrid benefits with auto-backup features. AWS and Azure also provide some guidance for Oracle and MySQL.
The Key Similarities Between AWS and Azure
There are a few similarities between AWS and Azure which may make it confusing for those new to cloud computing. In this section, we will go over several crucial factors, such as their services, security, storage, reliability, and performance.
AWS and Azure services share the common elements of what a public cloud service should do, which is to offer self-service, security, compliance, auto-scaling, and identity management features.
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Azure and AWS provide software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (Paas), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). These services provide handy software, frameworks for developers, hardware, and networking. They both offer load balancers, which are software-defined, fully distributed, and managed services for your traffic.
An additional similarity is both have object storage capabilities, Amazon Simple Storage Service and Azure Blob Storage, which allow them to store and manage data as objects rather than blocks. They also offer hybrid cloud environments that mix public and private clouds.
Both AWS and Azure security features are top-notch. AWS and Azure provide similar high-quality security through their data centers and architected networks, which protect identities, information, applications, and devices.
AWS offers three types of storage: Simple Storage Service (S3), Elastic Block Storage (EBS), and Elastic File System (EFS). They allow users to store and access data through API, a single VM, or shared storage for multiple instances. If we were to do an Azure vs AWS storage features breakdown, Azure’s blob storage is the closest to AWS’ S3 and EBS.
Azure and AWS are popular for their reliability. AWS is the longest-running cloud service provider, and it has a huge user base. While Azure is newer, it’s also designed to prioritize reliability, security, and scalability. Both providers guarantee high availability rates of at least 99.9 percent for users of their subscription services.
A 2021 Cockroach Labs annual cloud report found that top cloud providers excel in different areas in tests against benchmarks that reflect important workloads. When looking at AWS and Azure performance comparisons, we find that AWS is superior in these tests: 16 Core CPU, network latency, storage I/O read latency, and $/TPM.
Meanwhile, Azure had better performance when tested against storage I/O read IOPS, storage I/O write IOPS, and storage I/O write latency. Depending on the workload that you intend to run, these performance metrics may be able to inform your AWS vs Azure decision.
Azure vs AWS: Pros and Cons
The main pros and cons of Microsoft Azure vs Amazon AWS involve a wide range of points, including integration, development options, management tools, management GUI, global reach, and costs.
- Easy integration. Many businesses are already using Microsoft applications and a Windows server, making it an easy integration option.
- Cost-effective. Compared with AWS, Azure is the cost-effective choice. But compared to Google Cloud Platform, Azure is not the cheapest option on the market.
- Better developer options. Developers can use Linux, Windows, SQL Server, and SQL Database. Azure also offers the ability to integrate machine learning algorithms into your apps.
- Incomplete management tooling. Although it has a good set of management tools, it is subpar compared to Google Cloud and AWS.
- Poor management GUI. The management GUI is browser-based for managing all aspects of your system. The interface provides features to help you troubleshoot problems. Azure’s management GUI is currently not up to par with AWS.
- Less support. Because of the money behind AWS, its online support is a huge pro. Azure will likely develop in this area in the coming years. However, for the time being, it is not as good as AWS’s active directory.
- Large market share. AWS has exceeded over a million users worldwide, with a market share of 33 percent. The majority of these users are mid-size companies.
- Global reach. AWS is in 190 countries and operates in over 77 availability zones, making its scale truly global.
- Great online support. AWS has, compared to other services, an outstanding technical support team. However, this comes at a price, which you can see in the cons section.
- Downtime. Compared to Azure and Google Cloud, AWS has more downtime.
- Support fee. Although AWS has excellent online support, this is not a free service, adding to AWS’s overall higher costs.
- Costs. Many professionals are confused by the cost metrics on AWS, receiving charges that they don’t understand. If you add this to the fact that it includes support fees, the price gap between AWS and Azure grows.
Should You Use Azure or AWS?
You cannot go wrong by choosing either Azure or AWS, the top two cloud services available today. Many business owners, developers, cloud engineers, and architects enlist the services of both companies.
Azure’s advantages over AWS include its hybrid cloud support and deployment guidance, but AWS excels over Azure in other areas. Ultimately, your decision depends on your career, what features and elements you need, and what you prefer.
If your company is switching to one of these two, then you should definitely stick to what the organization prefers. If you are a newcomer to the cloud, consider what your business needs are and which cloud service fulfills them. Below are some extra benefits of AWS vs Azure to help you make your decision.
Advantages of Choosing Azure
The advantages of choosing Azure involve its cost-effectiveness, flexibility, big data insights, and the popularity of Microsoft products. Azure, unlike other cloud service providers, has high availability and redundancy because of Microsoft’s global footprint. This means that, in the event of an IT disturbance in the operations, your business can continue as normal.
Advantages of Choosing AWS
AWS is the market leader and has been since its inception. It is ahead of both Azure and Google Cloud. AWS has a vast global reach and has helped to create thousands of more jobs than GCP. If you need many features for the work you do, there is no doubt that AWS will have the goods you need.
Another part of the AWS Global Infrastructure is Points of Presence (POPs). The POPs are used to deliver content to end users at high speeds. AWS also has VPC networks in different regions that can be linked using VPC Peering. The VPCs can then communicate with each other, just as if they were in the same private network.
AWS vs Azure FAQ
A lot of IT professionals have said that Azure is easier to learn than AWS due to the simplicity and flow of the learning material. However, AWS does have a bigger network of users with a few extra years under its belt, which means learners have access to a huge pool of resources and communities that can further facilitate their learning.
Which has more job opportunities, AWS or Azure?
Overall, there is a positive job outlook for cloud computing, and this includes AWS and Azure. If their relative market share is any indication, the number of jobs for Azure vs AWS is a close call. Suffice it to say that, as more companies head for cloud-first policies, you can expect both skills to become beneficial for tech career seekers.
Is Azure cheaper than AWS?
Depending on the solution you seek, Azure may be cheaper than AWS, especially if your organization has an existing Microsoft ecosystem. Any company that uses Windows, for example, is likely to find Azure more cost-effective than AWS.
Can I migrate from AWS to Azure?
Migration from AWS to Azure is possible, with the most recommended model types being Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). You can also use tools like the Migration Assessment Tool and the ASR Deployment Planner to assess how you can benefit from such a migration.
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