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AWS vs. Azure: Which one is better for my business?

Internet-based services have been the fastest growing industry, by far and away, for two decades. First with the meteoric rise and fall in the dot com era, and then with more stable and reliable, but equally as formidable, growth from the mid-2000s to now. To put numbers on it, the number of people using the internet has increased by 1000% since 2001, for an average growth rate of around 55% per year.


By contrast, even in the current era of unprecedented economic strength, the average growth rate across all industries in 2019 was only 6.8% per year.


The world is just as hungry as ever for computing power. This has manifested in the last decade in the introduction of cloud computing platforms. The two most-popular cloud infrastructures are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.


Both of these services can give your business the efficiency and scalability it needs to rise to new heights. With the tech leviathans behind them putting more and more resources each year into research and development for cloud-based tech, both AWS and Azure are extremely reliable and constantly improving to suit modern needs.


However, there are some key differences in the ways these two services work. Depending on your specific needs as a business, one may be a better option over the other. Let’s walk through some of the pros and cons of each software to determine which one might be best for your enterprise.


Amazon Web Services: A Good Choice for Cloud Computing

Amazon Web Services, or AWS, was launched in 2006 and has since become by far the most popular cloud infrastructure service on the planet. As of 2018, their market share in infrastructure-as-a-service was 44.2%, with their revenue surging more and more each year.


Due to their size and long-standing status in cloud services, AWS offers an extensive range of services at a lot of different pricing options to ensure good value-for-money for many businesses. They offer services in data analytics, computing, Internet of Things integration, virtual reality development, robotics, and machine learning, just to name a few.


In terms of pricing, they offer a couple more payment options compared to Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure will offer a discount if you pay in advance for either one year or three years. AWS has discounts for those paying in advance for one and three years as well, but with partial upfront payments and continuing monthly payments available to choose from at the same time.


It’s important to note here that the exact prices for these services is constantly changing, as the prices of components such as electricity, real estate, and cooling mechanics for servers fluctuate frequently.


Amazon Web Services is rooted in Linux’s RedHat OS, which means it’s quite flexible when dealing with differing types of machines and operating systems. This can be either a strength or, as we are about to see, a weakness. Although it’s a powerhouse, AWS simply cannot compete with Azure in many aspects.


Microsoft Azure: Often the Better Choice

While Azure’s market share is, compared to AWS, quite small (15.5%), it’s still formidable in terms of functionality. Interestingly, despite that small share, 90% of Fortune 500 businesses use Azure. It seems to be a top choice for the most effective firms in the world. While that may appear intimidating, there are many instances when Microsoft Azure is the no-brainer choice for your small- to medium-sized business as well.


First, let’s talk about hybrid cloud systems. A hybrid cloud system is a computing infrastructure that uses some sort of interfacing between a public cloud service, such as AWS or Azure, a private cloud architecture (i.e. one that’s hosted internally), and physical, on-premises computational hardware.


Hybrid clouds are very common and for good reason. While public cloud services such as AWS and Azure are great for outsourcing computing and data analytics, as well as a plethora of other benefits, they can be a bit restrictive when it comes to having the exact infrastructure you want for your proprietary data.


This is where private clouds and data centers come in. With a private cloud, or if you have your own servers, your developer can hardwire the infrastructure any way they want to achieve any organizational data goal.


Here is where we start to see just how advantageous Microsoft Azure can be. Azure is known for being far superior to AWS when it comes to interfacing with a private cloud or a datacenter. Developers can create hybrid apps, which use resources from both a data center or private cloud and Microsoft Azure and then host those apps with ease. This ability to interface easily is severely restricted with AWS.


Another huge benefit for Microsoft Azure is its dominance, both price- and functionality-wise when being used in firms that use mostly Microsoft products. In fact, if your office is full of PCs with Windows operating systems and Microsoft database configurations, Microsoft Azure will be about 80% less expensive to use than AWS. This is because Azure does not require the renewal of Windows licenses year-to-year like AWS does. Additionally, Microsoft offers free security updates for Windows-oriented software, whereas you must pay for them if you use AWS.


From this, we can see two instances in which Microsoft Azure is by far the better option over AWS for your business. If your business uses hybrid cloud infrastructures in order to distribute and host its apps, web services, or data analytics, use Microsoft Azure. If your office uses Windows or any other Microsoft-created software, also use Microsoft Azure.


While both Azure and AWS are extremely powerful tools for bringing your business to the next level, it’s important to understand that each software has its own perks and use cases that make them the superior choice for a specific enterprise.


Switching to cloud computing can seem insurmountably complex. Luckily, we at ZAACT are always here to help.


ZAACT offers top-of-the-line consulting and support for Microsoft Azure and its integrations, as well as services for many other Microsoft products. Please feel free to contact us for a free initial consultation or check out our Azure page for more information on cloud computing. We’re always happy to hear from our readers!