Cloud is used widely nowadays. If you are in the field of tech, you would know the importance of a cloud platform. It is extremely important for one to familiarize themselves with the many leading cloud service providers and types of cloud services as it affects your business directly and is not something which you can easily switch between, although you can, if wanted to.
Among many, there are two most commonly used cloud platforms, AWS and Azure. Companies rely on both greatly and both offer excellent services but new companies or businesses, that want to adopt a new cloud platform, often want to know the comparison or differences between the two, this helps them to jot down which one is best suited for their data and their business.
Now, to fully understand the differences between AWS and Azure, it is first important to know exactly what are they and how do they work. So that you, as a business owner, can determine which cloud platform is best suited for your company.
What is AWS Cloud Storage?
AWS or Amazon Web Services is a cloud service platform by Amazon, which provides basic to advanced cloud computing services. These services include storage, delivery, compute and other services which may help a business to scale itself and grow accordingly.
These services can be used to create and deploy different types of applications in the cloud.
AWS services are categorized in three different types, which are, Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a Service (SaaS) and lastly, Platform as a Service (PaaS).
AWS was launched way back in 2006 and became the best cloud platform among all the available ones nowadays due to its early release.
It offers various advantages which we will discuss later but to name a few, it offers cost minimization and AWS Managed Services overhead reduction.
What is Azure Cloud Storage?
Having talked about what is AWS, let’s have a look at Azure cloud connect platform.
Azure or Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform by none other than Microsoft. It provides services in many different domains but are relatively similar to AWS cloud platform, such as, storage, database, compute, developer tools and other services which may help businesses to scale and grow.
Just like AWS, Azure services are also categorized into three different types, which are, Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Microsoft Azure was launched in 2010, 4 years after the launch of AWS, which gives AWS a little competitive edge since it was launched a bit earlier it is more well-known and recognized.
Having said this, it does not mean that Azure is not commonly preferred either, it has emerged as one of the biggest commercial cloud service providers and it is also very widely used.
The Azure cloud offers a wide range of services and functionalities like, networking, computing, analytics, storage, database, mobile and web applications that integrate with your business environment in order to achieve scalability and efficiency.
How are They Different?
Having discussed what AWS cloud platform is and what is Azure cloud platform, it is now time to talk about how exactly are they different from one another. This will help business owners decide which cloud platform is best suited for their business.
Storage-AWS Cloud Storage Vs Azure Cloud Storage
Storage is one of the key functionalities of cloud service providers or vendors. Both, AWS and Azure are very good and strong in this category. Azure cloud storage and AWS cloud storage, both are extremely reliable and are recommended by many users worldwide and offer many of the basic features like, REST API access and server-side data encryption.
In terms of storage mechanism, Azure storage is referred to as Blog storage, whereas AWS storage is referred to as Simple Storage Service or S3.
AWS cloud storage offers extremely high availability and automatic replication across many regions. Temporary storage in AWS works in a way that when an instance starts and stops, it can be attached to any EC2 instance or can be kept separate.
Azure on the other hand uses temporary storage in a way that it keeps separate page blobs for VM based volumes. It is safe to say that Azure Block Storage is similar to AWS S3 storage.
There are two main classes of storage offered by Azure, hot storage and cool storage. Hot storage is hot blob storage which is mostly used to store hot or sensitive data. Cool storage on the other hand is cool blob storage.
Cool storage is less pricy as compared to hot storage and businesses can use a combination of the two to gain maximum benefit from these.
The main and primary role of a computer or a computer program is to compute processes. Both AWS and Azure can provide the ability to scale up to 1000s of processing nodes in just a few minutes. Businesses that need better and faster processing, data analysis or graphics rendering can use services of AWS or Azure.
If we talk of AWS, in terms of computing, AWS solution or offering is its EC2 instances which are easily scalable and can be customized for different options accordingly to meet certain goals or objectives. This helps AWS to provide other services like EC2 container service, AWS Lambda, Auto-Scaling and Elastic Beanstalk for certain application development.
Azure however, offers compute abilities based on VMs with multiple tools such as Cloud Services and Resource Manager which helps greatly in deploying application to the cloud.
AWS and Azure both offer reliable database services. Amazon’s Relational Database Service or RDS and Microsoft’s SQL Server database, both are equally highly durable and available and also provide automatic replication.
AWS works great with NoSQL and other relational databases, providing a really mature cloud environment for big data.
Azure, on the other hand, also supports both NoSQL and relational databases and an additional Big Data through Azure HDInsight and Azure table.
Both, AWS and Azure, support all major popular data base engines and efficiently handle them in a very reliable manner.
Azure’s interface and tooling capability makes it easy to perform various DB operations while AWS, on the other hand, has more instances which can be provisioned to get a little extra control over the DB instances.
AWS and Azure, both offer multiple networks and partners that connect the data centers across the globe through many devise products. AWS, for instance, provides Virtual Private Cloud or VPC for users to create many isolated and standalone networks within the cloud.
Similarly, Azure offers many Virtual Networks or VNETs for users to create many isolated standalone networks.
AWS and Azure, both provide firewall options and solutions to extend on-site datacenter into the cloud.
AWS uses a virtual private cloud for networking and API gateway for any cross premises activity. Azure, on the other hand, uses a virtual network for networking and VPN gateway for cross-premises activity.
In terms of load balancing, AWS uses Elastic Load balancing for balancing load during networking, whereas Azure uses load balancer and application gateway for balancing load.
Price is a major factor in decision making, especially in the case of choosing a Cloud Platform. Due to a lot of competition in the cloud market, many competitors have reduced the prices to some extent in order to gain some sort of competitive advantage.
If we talk about AWS and Azure, both offer introductory free trials with restricted storage limits. This way, users can perform a ‘test run’ of the services and purchase all the features and instances if they like them.
Both, AWS and Azure provide a pay-as-you-go model which enables businesses to pay hourly, if they do not want a monthly subscription. This offers users flexibility in payments and can leverage all kinds of payment options, hourly, weekly or monthly and enjoy very low rates as both of the cloud service providers offer attractive pricings.
Pros & Cons
- AWS has many availability zones, so users can choose to store data close to them and potentially save money.
- Less amount of data is lost during server and storage transfer.
- AWS is less open to private clouds. This forces the companies to change their cloud infrastructure which makes it a bad storage option for industries with sensitive data like banks.
- AWS has a large and complex scale of offerings and to go through all these to choose the best suited option for your business can be a troublesome task.
- Azure is open to hybrid cloud systems which means it can be used with hybrid cloud deployments.
- Microsoft is widely used by many businesses and therefore, transition to the Azure cloud would be a lot easy as compared to AWS.
- Azure services are known for glitches and to fix these bugs users would have to spend additional money.
- Less flexibility to non-windows operating systems.
In this article, I have tried to explain the key difference between the two cloud platforms, AWS and Azure in a hope that it will provide a better understanding of the services offered by these two. Hopefully, it would help business owners to decide which cloud platform is best suited for their business and what exactly should they expect from it before implementation.