Amazon Web Services vs. Azure – The Basics

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure – two key players in the industry have pioneered the latest and greatest cloud computing services. These two vendors dominate with 40% of the cloud infrastructure market share. They’ve both established and grown to a point where it’s hard to rank them, and organizations often consider opting for a mix of AWS and Azure to address specific technology and business requirements. To pursue the right mix, it’s essential to understand the basics that set each vendor apart.

The Players

Amazon Web Services pioneered the technology and naturally leads the industry with over $7 billion revenue last year. The Amazon network infrastructure was primarily used for its e-commerce store, Amazon.com. Its growing pool of resources later presented the company with an unprecedented new opportunity to expand business by sharing its infrastructure, and so the AWS cloud was born in 2006. For many years, AWS was the only IaaS cloud provider available in the market.

Microsoft Azure started off as a PaaS solutions provider but has since expanded its IaaS technology to attract customers that largely depend on existing Microsoft technology and developer skills. The company’s core services have gradually transformed into cloud-enabled solutions in recent years – think Office 365! The Microsoft product suite runs on the Azure infrastructure.

For this reason, both companies should not be treated as upstart companies focused solely on cloud services and have already developed a strong financial foundation to expand and innovate. Similarly, both companies have been plagued with the typical problems associated with cloud technology such as service outages; though AWS may seem to have hit the hardest because they have been around for so long.

Global Infrastructure Deployment

Both companies have invested significantly to ensure reliable and secure service offerings to their entire user-base. From a business continuity perspective, global datacenter deployment correlates with the vendor’s capability to maintain service uptime during natural disasters and technical issues that impact specific geographic Regions.

Azure is available in the most regions at 26 and has announced to add eight more regions to the growing list. AWS comes in second with 13 global regions and expects four more to come online throughout the next year. Currently, Azure and AWS have announced five new regions each. A new region for AWS in China makes it the first IaaS solution provider in the country. Azure has opened India.

Amazon Web Services and Azure report over one million servers spread across dozens of datacenters globally. AWS tends to build smaller datacenters containing 50,000-80,000 servers each, while Azure generally operates larger datacenters. While the size of the datacenter has no direct bearing on service performance, the number of datacenters providing the same services does as each datacenter will focus on servicing customers in the same geographical area.

With the information available, Amazon Web Services is the clear winner for international companies with multiple global sites or branches. As the competition heats up between the two companies, look for AWS growing further in expanding into markets currently not supported by any IaaS solution provider. Still, Azure should not be discounted as it promises strong plans for growth to expand market share.

The Best Choice: Both vendors have established their reputation as pioneering, innovative and competitive technology brands. Pricing and organizational requirements should determine the best fit, regardless of your business size and industry vertical. Additionally, when you layer HOSTING Unified Cloud on top of Amazon Web Services and Azure you can leverage hundreds of the industry’s most experienced sys admins, architects, DBAs and security professionals to fortify your resources.

The beauty of the HOSTING Unified Cloud is that it unites the industry’s top security compliance, cloud management and database management with the platforms that you decide are best for your business. No long do you have to sacrifice service for performance or performance for service. To learn more about the requirements necessary when choosing a managed service provider, download the white paper Caveat Emptor: 10 Questions to Ask a Managed Service Provider Before You Sign. 

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