By Roman Davydov, Itransition
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are both leading cloud platforms that offer a wide range of enterprise-grade capabilities. However, there are some differences between both solutions, so Azure and AWS may bring varying business value depending on the needs of a particular team and use case. This article will compare AWS and Azure from a business perspective and tell which platform may fit enterprise-scale projects better.
AWS Vs. Azure: 5 Criteria
Both Azure and AWS provide users with features for data storing, networking, and computation, including autoscaling, compliance management, and instant provisioning. At first glance, the difference between both is not so noticeable; however, if we drill down to particular parameters, we will see a more complex picture.
Flexible and straightforward development and management of mobile and web apps are among the core capabilities of both cloud platforms. AWS and Azure provide users with a convenient infrastructure for developing, hosting, and running apps in the cloud through various services and features.
AWS offers Amazon Elastic Container Service for microservices development. Using it, engineers can build apps as separate services, applying the most relevant and appropriate technology for each service. AWS users also can build serverless apps using Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda, and Amazon S3. These technologies allow users to utilize the optimal amount of computing resources, exactly as much as needed to run software in the AWS cloud environment efficiently.
Azure also provides users with multiple app deployment solutions, such as container services, app services, batch deployment, etc. The main difference from Amazon is that Azure offers Virtual Machine, a computing resource that helps to provision and configure instances quickly. Azure also provides a range of features similar to those offered by Amazon: Azure Batch, Virtual Machine Scale Sets, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), and so on.
It isn't easy to name a winner in this category since both platforms are powerful; both support many languages and frameworks, so the final choice should depend on the specifics of a particular project and organization. For this purpose, it’s a common practice to engage an AWS consulting company or that specializing in Azure to choose the appropriate solution corresponding to the project requirements.
The AWS storage is known as Simple Storage Service (S3), and Azure’s is often referred to as Blob. Both data storages are robust and reliable and offer a set of standard features such as server-side data encryption, REST API, and disaster recovery. While both vendors offer powerful backup services, Azure, with its built-in backup and one-click support, is often considered more enterprise-focused. On the other hand, AWS is more customizable and better operates natively within the vendor’s cloud ecosystem.
When it comes to accessibility for non-techies, AWS is often seen as a more comprehensible and convenient platform, as Amazon offers user training and certifications along with detailed documentation for each of its services.
In its turn, utilizing Azure requires deep Microsoft-related experience and specific skills. Therefore, enterprises often must spend additional resources on hiring and maintaining professionals who can manage the platform while monitoring, handling, and patching the organizational cloud infrastructure.
Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are known for their high security standards; both vendors constantly provide cybersecurity research and implement innovative security solutions and protocols to resist the increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tactics. Still, 95% of Fortune 500 companies and a range of government organizations prefer Azure, which confirms Microsoft’s reputation as the most trusted vendor on the cloud market.
The prices of both services vary depending on the services and products required by a particular company. Since AWS and Azure offer a pay-as-you-go model, customers only pay for the services they’re using; hence, there is no precise gradation in the costs of both platforms. Besides, both companies offer free trial periods and discounts to attract new customers. Therefore, each service may cost differently.
It’s still possible to calculate the platforms’ cost-effectiveness. Enterprise managers can use official pricing calculators (here for AWS and here for Azure) and roughly estimate how much it would cost to use a particular platform depending on the selected functionality.
Also, for companies that have already implemented Microsoft products, choosing Azure may be a more suitable option since the vendor offers discounts for existing enterprise partners.
Which Is The Winner?
There seems to be no definite answer. Microsoft Azure and AWS are very popular among enterprises; both vendors are constantly introducing new services and features, making their products more valuable from a business point of view. Therefore, enterprises should select based on their digital growth strategies and business requirements of the moment.
For example, if your company already uses Microsoft solutions and the organizational infrastructure is closely tied to Microsoft software, it’s probably better to consider Azure. AWS will likely be a better fit for enterprises looking for a user-friendly platform with a broad range of services.
Sometimes combining several cloud platforms at the same time may be the best option of all. For example, it’s possible to utilize Azure for development and testing and use AWS for running production environments.
Azure and AWS both offer robust functionality for enterprises, which makes both valuable from a business standpoint. Nevertheless, upon closer examination, there are some differences between these two platforms that might influence the final choice. So, if security is a crucial parameter, it might make sense for an enterprise to consider Azure. If talent availability and ease of use are top priorities, then AWS might be a better choice. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-it-all solution, and enterprises should always consider their specific needs and particular use cases.
About The Author
Roman Davydov is a Technology Observer at Itransition. With over four years of experience in the IT industry, Roman follows and analyzes digital transformation trends to guide businesses in making informed software buying choices.