Comparing Microsoft Azure Cloud Services With AWS

Whether they’re on a migration path or are looking at cloud services for the first time, prospects often ask us about the difference between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

In many regards, AWS and Azure are comparable. Both support the expectations of services from a public cloud: self-service and instant provisioning, autoscaling, security, compliance, and intelligent management features – including smart analytics. And both Microsoft and Amazon have the “completeness of vision” that will allow IT pros to feel very secure in selecting them for public, hybrid or private cloud use.

However, as you look at how each will support your critical processes, the difference becomes clear. Let’s do a deep dive on how the Microsoft Azure cloud service differs from AWS and explore which option might be best for you and your enterprise.

Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

Azure is less than 10 years old, but it has matured quickly. It supports thousands of users and has key advantages when it comes to enterprise adoption.

Here are five benefits to Azure’s cloud services:

  • Enterprise IT is familiar with Microsoft’s extensible infrastructure
  • Microsoft has always had a PaaS-first perspective
  • Azure has much more comprehensive compliance coverage for our compliance-centric customers
  • Azure has more mature security and identity protocols
  • Microsoft offers robust partner programs, ecosystem, and infrastructure

Any IT professional with experience in Microsoft enterprise products will easily grasp Azure as they look to implement or extend cloud-based services. Azure links well with key Microsoft on-premise systems such as Windows Server, System Center and Active Directory. It also provides extensive support for open-source products and frameworks to meet the needs of most companies.

Another advantage: Azure started from the PaaS perspective and built toward the IaaS world, while AWS started from the IaaS perspective and built toward the PaaS world. We believe that PaaS is the future, and we recommend Azure based on Microsoft’s functionality and support of PaaS.

The statistics are strong for Azure. According to Microsoft, more than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Azure. In fact, in the spring of 2017, Computerworld reported that Azure had overtaken AWS as the public cloud of choice for enterprise IT organizations. Azure is also generally 4-12% cheaper than AWS, according to SMBNation. 

AWS Cloud Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the original players in the cloud market, launching in 2006. AWS is a key driver of revenue for Amazon, as many big “web-scale” services such as Netflix and Airbnb support millions of users via AWS.

According to McAfee, Amazon Web Services still owned the largest share of the public cloud market in Q2 of 2018. However, according to Seeking Alpha, Microsoft’s growth rate is outperforming Amazon’s as of October 2018. Both Azure and Google are gaining on AWS.

One important difference between Azure and AWS is how the cloud providers approach developer tools. The AWS suite focuses on supporting DevOps, while Azure uses an IoT suite that provides solutions for its cloud-based IoT services.

Cloud Services: Naming Conventions

In terms of services, here’s a table that quickly defines how AWS and Azure Services are named and how their offerings relate to each other:

Compliance and Security

In their “Clouds Are Secure: Are You Using Them Securely?” report, Gartner stated: “The cloud business model and the realities of Internet visibility provide huge market incentives for service providers to put a higher priority on security than is typical of end-user organizations, including their technical and process approach, and their undertaking of formal third-party security evaluations…”

Compliance and security are areas where Azure has a distinct advantage over AWS. We have customers in the healthcare and financial services markets, where compliance is a big issue in addition to security. Azure has more comprehensive compliance coverage, with 50 compliance offerings listed in the Microsoft Trust Center.

From a security perspective, Azure is more flexible than AWS. For example, in configuring security protocols, AWS’s approach is to whitelist only. Azure offers both Allow and Deny rules.

Only Azure offers information protection – to control and secure email, documents, and sensitive data that you share outside a company’s walls. And only Azure supports Active Directory (AD) services for B2C, allowing application developers to leverage this global standard for consumer-facing apps.

It’s important to note that the default setting for some Azure elements is more open than companies would want. Atmosera clients have appreciated our help in ensuring they have configurations that don’t create unwanted exposures.

Ready to take the next step?
Wondering how to migrate from AWS to Azure? Or are you interested in moving some of your business assets or applications to the cloud? Learn more about our Managed Azure services.

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