There are plenty of comparisons out there that line up Windows Azure against Amazon Web Services (AWS) and provide you with the pros and cons of each cloud solution. This makes sense given that they are probably the two most common competitors in your search for a cloud provider. However, rather than rattle off a long list of comparisons that will populate with the same feedback as every other blog on cloud solutions, I will get specific with a couple questions and detail how both services address this issues.
Do you need a Hybrid Cloud Solution?
If a hybrid cloud solution is what you are in search of, then Azure is definitely the way to go. Simply put, AWS doesn’t have a viable, hybrid cloud solution…yet. Rumor has it this is being developed and worked on, but at present Azure is the only solution providing cloud and on-premises solutions. Azure provides the most flexibility for connecting your on-premises datacenter to Azure, making it very useful during an organization’s transition to the cloud. This allows an organization to take advantage of their on-premises datacenter while Azure handles the other areas. The key is flexibility. Azure provides flexibility to move data around, as needed, and lets you customize your cloud environment to suit the needs of your organization.
Do you want or need to use Platform as a Service (PaaS)?
This is a pretty interesting, time-saving and useful benefit of Azure that the Amazon cloud does not currently provide as an offering. Azure allows developers to hit the ground running by providing an already-built foundation of infrastructure. This allows a development team to develop against a ready-made platform without having to wade through the configuration process. The scalability of the offering is very “what you need, when you need it” and, in many cases, is a better fit than Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas). This is an already-in-place Azure offering, and not even in the works yet for the Amazon hosting services, so if this is what you need, Azure is the obvious choice here.
Are you a Microsoft Shop?
If Microsoft is what your organization lives and breathes - then yes - choose Azure and call it a day. Organizations that already have Microsoft solutions implemented will be more capable of easily integrating their systems with Azure. For instance, you can hook Azure Active Directory to your existing on-premises Active Directory.
However, if your organization has different solutions implemented then the decision won’t be quite as simple. First, you will need to determine your needs, your wants and your ‘nice-to-haves’ in order to eliminate any solution that can’t provide these for you. Then, you’ll need to do more digging on each service to see which aligns more with your budget, needs and culture. For example, Azure has some Linux offerings already; however, Red Hat is missing from the Azure solution. Therefore, organizations already using Red Hat and seeking to host it in the cloud will need to go with the Amazon cloud (AWS) for this reason.
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Have you seen their Pricing Calculators?Amazon Pricing CalculatorAzure Pricing Calculator
If pricing is a priority and you want to compare prices, you can use the pricing calculators provided. Both Azure and Amazon offer pricing calculators for their cloud hosting services that will provide you with a good idea of what you can expect to spend. Being a Microsoft shop, B2B Tech works a lot with the Azure Pricing Calculator but not so much with the AWS Pricing Calculator. I will say, the AWS Pricing Calculator is slightly outdated and in need of some improvements, but it gets the job done. I have provided links to both calculators below – check them out and see which works best for you!
Hopefully some of these answer will give you guidance when determining which cloud hosting provider you want to go with. It can be a tough and daunting task, but just remember, know your needs and budget ahead of time and the rest will come in time!