Today most of the businesses and startups use on-demand cloud services rather than physical storage devices. Public clouds offer various resources to these companies over the Internet which can be accessed remotely on a pay-as-you-go basis. It is a much more feasible alternative to purchasing a physical desktop since the company can purchase a virtual desktop environment. This virtual environment can be instantly created and can be deactivated after its use. Top vendors of these public clouds are AWS (i.e, Amazon Web Services) provided by Amazon and Azure Cloud provided by Microsoft.
AWS is a child company of Amazon which was officially launched within the year 2006. AWS provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to various individuals, companies, and organizations including governments on a charged subscription basis. As of 2020, it owns a dominant 33% of all the cloud, which is the highest in the market. Customers who access the AWS services on a regular basis can pay for an individual virtual AWS system, a physical computer, or clusters of either of the two. Fees are based on a combination of usage, hardware, operating system, software, or networking features chosen by the subscriber required availability, redundancy, security, and service options.
The Azure Cloud was announced in the year 2008 and was soon released in the year 2010 as Windows Azure. It was later renamed to Microsoft Azure in the year 2014. It is a cloud service created, managed, and maintained by Microsoft for building, testing, and deploying applications and services through data centers that are directly managed by Microsoft. It provides assistance for a huge number of programming languages, tools, and frameworks. These tools and frameworks include both Microsoft-specific and other third-party software and systems. Microsoft lists over 600 Azure services and it the next most commonly used cloud after AWS with a market percentage of 18%.
AWS v/s Azure
Since AWS started much earlier than Azure, it has more experience in the cloud domain than any other cloud service provider. Even when AWS has met the needs of enterprises, Azure has been a consistent competitor to AWS and is quite a competent cloud service for businesses. AWS has a remarkable number of 77 availability zones in the world whereas, Azure has 54 availability zones worldwide.
Both AWS and Azure have solutions to extend the on-premise data center into the cloud and firewall options as well. In networking services, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) enables users to create subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges, and network gateways as compared to Microsoft Virtual Network, which lets users do whatever VPC does. In compute services, AWS has services like EC2, Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Lambda, ECS, etc. Azure has similar services like Azure Virtual Machine, App Service, Azure Functions and Container service, etc.
In storage services, AWS has temporary storage that is allocated once an instance is started and destroyed when the instance is terminated. They provide block storage that can be separate or attached to an instance. Whereas storage services in the case of Azure, Blob and Disk Storage, and Standard Archives are present. Azure also supports relational databases such as NoSQL and Big Data through Azure Table and HDInsight.
On comparing the popularity index of AWS and Azure on Google Trends over the past 12 months, it is clearly visible that AWS is at the top.
AWS has bigger community support and trust across its customers and therefore possesses high profile clients like Netflix, Twitch, LinkedIn, Facebook, BBC, etc. Azure is not much behind with a lot of fortune 500 hundred companies as it’s customers which include Samsung, eBay, Boeing, BMW, etc. When AWS is clearly seen as influencing the cloud market, Azure is also seeing catching up progressively.
4. Open-Source Integration
Amazon supports the Open-Source community on a huge level which in turn leads to open-source integration with AWS using tools like Ansible, Jenkins, Docker, and GitHub. Whereas, in the case of Azure, it offers native integration for windows development tools such as VBS, Active Directory, and SQL databases. Even when Microsoft doesn’t support open-source as much as Amazon does, recently they’ve made changes such that organizations can run RHEL and Hadoop clusters in Azure. AWS works better with Linux servers whereas Azure is friendly for .NET developers.
Amazon has a pay-as-you-go model, where they charge per hour in comparison to Azure, which charges per minute. In the case of AWS, a very basic instance that comprises 2 virtual CPUs and 8GB RAM costs around $0.092/hour. In a similar instance, Azure costs around $0.096/hour. Azure tends to be costlier than AWS when the architecture starts growing upwards. When a bigger instance with 256GB RAM and 64vPCU is considered, AWS charges $3.20/hour whereas Azure will charge around $6.76/hour for the same specifications.
Even when both the vendors support the hybrid cloud, Azure outperforms AWS, and supports hybrid cloud better. Azure machines are grouped into cloud services i.e, the AD model, and respond to the same domain name with different ports whereas the AWS machine can be accessed separately. In AWS, security is provided through user-defined roles with exceptional permission controls as compared to Azure, which provides security by enabling permissions on the whole account.
On comparing the two on various factors, it is clearly visible that both AWS and Azure are tough competitors and cannot be labeled as the best on a single feature. When AWS is seen as a larger cloud provider with lower cost and more developer-friendly, Azure seems to be more compatible with large firms who already rely on Microsoft products. Both the vendors are increasing innovation and advancing towards a better cloud service.