The Best Cloud for Business: AWS vs Azure


Picking the right cloud for your organization can be a daunting, complexed decision. While there are many cloud providers available we will be discussing the two largest: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. While both public clouds offer features like self-service, instant provisioning, autoscaling, security, compliance and identity management features there are specific features that may sway your decision towards one or another cloud. The major differences between the two are price, licensing, hybrid support, reliability, and support for other platforms. 




Price & Licensing

Since License Mobility through Software Assurance allows you to use your existing Windows licensing in Azure or the AWS cloud, this does not negatively impact costs in either scenario. Microsoft is allowing for any volume licensing covered by an active Software Assurance agreement to be deployed into the cloud without any additional costs. The following are eligible license types: Windows Server, Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, SQL Server (all editions), Skype for Business Server, System Center Server, Dynamics CRM Server, Dynamics AX Server, Project Server, Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, BizTalk Server, Forefront Identity Manager, Forefront Unified Access Gateway, Remote Desktop Services, and all client access licenses (CALs). While there are subtle differences in pricing models, they are otherwise comparable (AWS bills by the day, Azure bills by the minute). There are other behaviors that may impact cost but this is mostly how you leverage the cloud. For example, if you can turn off workloads or VMs when they are not in use you will save money. Sometimes, it’s unrealistic to turn off cloud infrastructure but you will be paying about the same with AWS as with Azure. Overall, the pricing is about the same with Microsoft keeping pace with AWS’s price drops. This competition has, however, proved beneficial for the consumer with frequent price cuts on various services. 


Hybrid Cloud Support

The journey to the cloud is different for all organizations. In truth, there are very few organizations that will be migrating every service, workload, or server into the cloud. There are critical functions of every business that should simply remain onsite and in the organization’s explicit control (e.g. bookkeeping/accounting applications like QuickBooks, Sage, PeachTree, etc.). So, what does this mean for companies attempting to move workloads and services to the cloud? It basically means that you will need a greater level of support for Hybrid deployments (hybrid means that some things are in the cloud and that some things remain onsite).  Microsoft Azure has the upper hand in this category with seamless transition between your on-premises infrastructure and your cloud infrastructure. While Amazon is lacking, they are aware of this shortfall and are working on bridging the gap between the two. While neither provider offers native support for VMware’s ESXi virtualization platform, Azure’s deep integration with Hyper-V might be beneficial for those running Microsoft Virtual Machines. 


Reliability & Stability

Since you will no longer have your infrastructure housed onsite you will no longer have control over maintenance, hardware upgrades, hardware failures, etc. This means that if your cloud provider’s datacenters experience an outage you will not have your business critical services and workloads available to you or your clients. While there are steps that can be taken to prevent the impact of an outage like a hybrid deployment that will failover to your local on-premises infrastructure you still want to make sure your provider is stable and reliable because thats why you moved to the cloud – to actually use it. Overall, Azure Web Services is more reliable than Azure but this dynamic is chaning. In the wake of the November 2014 Azure outages attributed to human error during an update to the Azure services (Full details of the incident can be found here. ) Microsoft has since changed the procedure that allowed for this outage to happen and have since been increasing the amount of geo-redundant datacenters across the globe in an effort to prevent additional outages that might be attributed to capacity and consumption. 


And The Winner Is…

Azure. Hands down is the winner due to its outstanding ability to support Hybrid deployments which tend to be the norm for almost every business that is moving to the cloud. Since pricing is so comparable and reliability of Azure has since increased to mirror the reliability of AWS there is no competition.


If you or your company needs assistance planning your cloud migration we can help. The first step is performing a network assessment which will give us the data necessary to plan a comprehensive migration tailored to your business and your particular infrastructure. {{cta(‘ae7d65dc-ff93-4482-8f40-3b74aadb0b7f’)}}



Additional Resources

AWS Price Calculator

AWS Customers

Azure Price Calculator

Azure Customers


The best cloud for business: AWS vs Azure Comparison Chart (source:,2-870-2.html )

 Microsoft AzureAmazon Web Services (AWS)
Available RegionsAzure RegionsAWS Global Infrastructure
Compute ServicesVirtual Machines (VMs)Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
 Cloud Services
Azure Websites and Apps
Amazon Elastic Beanstalk
 Azure Visual Studio OnlineNone
Container SupportDocker Virtual Machine Extension (how to)EC2 Container Service (Preview)
Scaling OptionsAzure Autoscale (how to)Auto Scaling
Analytics/Hadoop OptionsHDInsight (Hadoop)Elastic MapReduce (EMR)
Government ServicesAzure GovernmentAWS GovCloud
App/Desktop ServicesAzure RemoteAppAmazon WorkSpaces
Amazon AppStream
Storage OptionsAzure Storage (Blobs, Tables, Queues, Files)Amazon Simplge Storage (S3)
Block StorageAzure Blob Storage (how to)Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS)
Hybrid Cloud StorageStorSimpleAWS Storage Gateway
Backup OptionsAzure BackupAmazon Glacier
Storage ServicesAzure Import Export (how to)Amazon Import / Export
 Azure File Storage (how to)AWS Storage Gateway
 Azure Site RecoveryNone
Content Delivery Network (CDN)Azure CDNAmazon CloudFront
Database OptionsAzure SQL DatabaseAmazon Relational Database Service (RDS)
Amazon Redshift
NoSQL Database OptionsAzure DocumentDBAmazon Dynamo DB
 Azure Managed Cache (Redis Cache)Amazon Elastic Cache
Data OrchestrationAzure Data FactoryAWS Data Pipeline
Networking OptionsAzure Virtual NetworkAmazon VPC
 Azure ExpressRouteAWS Direct Connect
 Azure Traffic ManagerAmazon Route 53
Load BalancingLoad Balancing for Azure (how to)Elastic  Load Balancing
Administration & SecurityAzure Active DirectoryAWS Directory Service
AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
Multi-Factor AuthenticationAzure Multi-Factor AuthenticationAWS Multi-Factor Authentication
MonitoringAzure Operational InsightsAmazon CloudTrail
 Azure Application InsightsAmazon CloudWatch
 Azure Event HubsNone
 Azure Notification HubsAmazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)
 Azure Key Vault (Preview)AWS Key Management Service
ComplianceAzure Trust CenterAWS CLoudHSM
Management Services & OptionsAzure Resource ManagerAmazon CloudFormation
API ManagementAzure API ManagementAmazon API Gateway
AutomationAzure AutomationAWS OpsWorks
 Azure Batch
Azure Service Bus 
Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)
Amazon Simple Workflow (SWF)
 Visual StudioAWS CodeDeploy
 Azure SchedulerNone
 Azure SearchAmazon CloudSearch
AnalyticsAzure Stream AnalyticsAmazon Kinesis
Email ServicesAzure BizTalk ServicesAmazon Simple Email Services (SES)
Media ServicesAzure Media ServicesAmazon Elastic Transcoder
Amazon Mobile Analytics
Amazon Cognitor
Other Services & IntegrationsAzure Machine Learning (Preview)Amazon Machine Learning
 Logic AppsAWS Lambda (Preview)
 Service BusAWS Config (Preview)




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