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Azure vs AWS: Which cloud packs the biggest clout?

With more than half of financial services adopting the cloud in the UK, it’s no longer news to hear that cloud computing is the new normal.

With its unparalleled cost savings, business transformation benefits and flexible foundations, companies from all sectors are comfortably dipping their toes in what the cloud has to offer.

The question is not whether or not to use cloud services, but which provider brings the most benefits?

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing AWS versus Azure. By outlining the key differences between Amazon’s cloud services and the Microsoft cloud, we hope to simplify your cloud choices.

Azure vs AWS: market share

The infrastructure-as-a-service market is projected to be worth over $40 billion by the end of 2018..

By what share of this is attributed to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and Amazon cloud services?

As it currently stands, Amazon Web Services is still dominating the cloud computing sphere, with a revenue growth of 49 percent in the second quarter of 2018. However, that doesn’t mean Azure isn’t quickly closing the gap.

In the last year, Microsoft’s revenue growth has doubled that of Amazon’s, growing at a rate of 89 percent from 2017. The reason for this substantial growth may be down to Microsoft’s rising application workloads.

What’s more, as a firm favourite with Fortune 500 companies, it’s fair to say that Microsoft holds the market for the most trusted cloud provider on the market, particularly for enterprises.

Security and compliance

With countless malware scares and data breaches plaguing the headlines, it’s no surprise that IT security and compliance is at the forefront of every company’s priorities.

So, when it comes to choosing between Azure and AWS, which cloud platform offers the most watertight security?

Well, choosing a clear winner is a hard act to judge. On the surface, both platforms have relatively similar and paralleled security features, including:

  • Identity and access management
  • Key management
  • Network security
  • Security check
  • Storage security
  • Monitoring
  • Logging
  • Compliance

However, in terms of compliance, one competitor reigns victory. Although Amazon surmounts Azure in revenue and adoption rates, the Microsoft cloud is still the most trusted cloud provider on the market.

As well as providing more compliance offerings than Amazon cloud services, Microsoft was also one of the first cloud providers to commit to the GDPR. With countless features enabling users to ensure their processes are compliant, your business can tackle the new regulations with ease.

What’s more, the Azure cloud holds the seal of approval from 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies and is the cloud provider of choice for government organisations.  For companies that require watertight security and compliance, such as financial services, it’s clear that Azure is the firm favourite.

Cloud costs

Comparing the cost of cloud providers can be a difficult task. Understandably, as with any business, both Amazon and Microsoft want to attract as many customers as they can, resulting in them driving down prices.

AWS and Azure are both priced on a pay-as-you-go basis, ensuring that customers only ever pay for the services they’re using. These prices are calculated on a by-the-second rate.

Additionally, each vendor has free ‘introductory’ stages and trials, allowing customers to test out their differing services before committing to a payment.

Coverage and performance

In terms of coverage, Azure holds the highest number of data centres of any cloud provider, with a total of 54 regions available in 140 countries altogether. That said, Amazon’s cloud hosting follows closely behind – they plan to expand their data centre offerings in the near future.

In Microsoft’s own words: ‘a region is a set of data centres deployed within a latency-defined perimeter and connected through a dedicated regional low-latency network.’ Although the number of regions isn’t the be all and end all of performance, it does mean that you can choose a data centre that’s convenient for you. What’s more, in the event of an outage, your business can comfortably choose another backup region to keep your services running efficiently.

When it comes to the performance of key features and services, it’s difficult to pinpoint who wins the Azure vs AWS race. Both cloud providers offer a full range of compute, storage and security services.

Microsoft and Amazon’s cloud features

In such a competitive industry, it’s no surprise that Azure and AWS are neck and neck when it comes to their features and offerings.

The following brief overview of Azure vs AWS showcases the apparent similarities, as well as the small differences, between the two cloud provider’s offerings:

Although both platforms have similar virtual server and container instances features, Azure offers more microservices to help manage the orchestration of complex computes. What’s more, the Microsoft cloud also contains more scalability features.

Once again, both storage offerings are relatively similar. However, notably AWS does not offer any backup or disaster recovery features.

Analytics and big data. Both platforms offer features that cover the breadth of analytics and big data, however Azure offers more analytic and machine learning services than the Amazon cloud.

Comparatively, the Azure cloud platform holds significantly more voice and facial recognition features than Amazon.

By and large, Azure and AWS offer an equal amount of paralleled Internet of Things features.

Management and monitoring. Both cloud services hold a large range of equal management and monitoring tools.

Mobile services. Other than Amazon’s lack of enterprise mobility management services, both providers offer very similar features.

Security, identity and access. AWS and Azure hold a paralleled number of security, identity and access features.

Developer tools. The only notable difference in each platform’s offerings is AWS’s lack of application testing.

Enterprise integration. On this front, AWS lags behind Azure’s offerings, with no enterprise app integration or content management in the cloud.

Here’s a more in-depth overview of Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud features.

Azure vs AWS: Who will you choose?

We hope you’ve found this brief comparison of the two cloud providers useful.

Although both offerings may seem comparatively similar on the surface, there are some key differences between the two. When it comes to workloads, compliance, and services, we truly believe Azure is ahead of the pack.

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