August 31, 2018

Which cloud, best suit my needs – Azure OR AWS

BY :     August 31, 2018

Based upon my experience of 5+ years on Azure and 1 year on AWS here I am sharing my view on major factors & cloud offerings which influence the cloud provider selection decision for any customer.

Organizations are looking at AWS and Azure as primary cloud providers and taking a cautious decision while they build new systems or migrate their existing landscapes to clouds. AWS started the cloud offering in 2006 well before any other cloud providers and has a very strong capability on the Infrastructure side. Microsoft started its cloud offering in the year 2010 and has grown very fast to become the second largest cloud provider after AWS. Microsoft is already running its software’s and products in most of the client portfolios which are easier to migrate to Azure due to its native support to all these systems. AWS, being an old cloud provider has a global reach and maturity in its offerings which is, the main reason for hosting and running business critical production systems on it. There has been a trend in the market where few customers choose a cloud initially and then make their mind to change based upon the comparison on below factors depending upon which services are more relevant for their scenario and who has an edge in that offering:

Compute

Compute capability of a cloud provider is measured in terms of a number of compute instances, number of CPUs, memory size, OS supported along with a number of images available in the market place on it. AWS has an edge on Azure in terms of price when it is compared cumulative for CPU, RAM, and SSD storage, there might not be exactly one to one mapping of machines from both the clouds but still, AWS is reasonable in this area.

Data Persistence

Storage is one of the critical offering needed by the clients to reduce their cost to maintain data backups at on-premise infrastructure. Azure offers Blobs and AWS has S3 to cater to this need of the customers. Main features which are needed to ease the use of these offering are batch imports of data, data encryption, redundancy reduction and size of the blob where again AWS has an edge on blob size, cost of persistence when data is in TB and auto archival & deletion feature which saves a lot of cost for customers.

Database is another main feature which is needed by all the applications irrespective of their size and business criticality. Azure and AWS both have a major focus in this area let it be RDBMS, NOSQL and Data Warehouse. Both cloud vendors are equally good in the features but again AWS wins barely in terms of maturity.

Support & Troubleshooting

AWS has a larger market share as compared to Azure or any other clouds. AWS does more conferences and webinars throughout the year and has larger support team and a quick turnaround which is a plus point for the application & infrastructure management teams.

Identity Management

Azure and AWS both have similar offerings for security controls at services level and infrastructure level. When it comes to applying role-based access policies for their access and restriction policies AWS is mature here reason being its long-time existence in the market.

Release Management

Azure and AWS both support the tool and script-based deployment but the features like natively integrated release orchestration platform i.e. VSTS, ease of integrating code analysis, functional testing tools and options like Hot swapping of releases gives Azure an edge over AWS.

Ease of Access

Both the cloud providers have similar compatibilities for console-based and web-based access. Azure is much easier to access and rich portal view as compare to AWS, so Azure has an edge here.

Conclusion

Azure and AWS both the cloud providers hold a big chunk of total market share in terms of hosting the customers’ workloads on cloud. Both have an edge over one another for different services and cloud being in its adoption stages, so most of the customers are in process of implementation of cloud first approach which requires maturity, support and global reach for the areas like compute, storage and support. AWS is matured in all these areas and cost-effective as well, that’s why traction for these kind of migrations is toward AWS. Also, for some customers, these factors might be a driver from Azure to AWS migration.

Gartner has published the below updated cloud IaaS scores for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in March, 2018:

For a detailed study of the Gartner report please visit https://blogs.gartner.com/marco-meinardi/2018/03/13/just-published-new-assessments-aws-azure-gcp-cloud-iaas/

Amarjeet Singh

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TOGAF Level1 & Level2 certified Enterprise Architect having 17+ years of experience in end to end Solution Design / Architecture, Design Reviews, Integration experience using best practices in design ensuring performance and scalability of the Systems.

More on Amarjeet Singh.

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    *Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Sogeti Group