The War of the Titans – Azure vs AWS

If you are familiar with Cloud computing, there’s every good chance that you have heard multi comparisons between enterprise-level IaaS platforms, mainly Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure platforms.

While Gartner recently reported that AWS cloud is about 5 times bigger than the size of all the next 15 competitors combined, they, however, admitted that Azure is currently growing over 100%, faster than AWS’ 69%, and quickly becoming a preferred choice.

So, which one could be right for your organization? 

While market share can be considered a good indicator of performance, it cannot be the only determining factor.

From our own experience of implementing cloud-based solutions for our clients, we have understood that the enterprise’s unique requirements should be one of the main criteria behind choosing the right solution. And that there are 4 critical features and differences that can help you decide on the right cloud system for your enterprise:

  • Are you a Microsoft Shop or Linux Shop? A company which is fundamentally a Microsoft company, whether using Windows Server, Exchange, Office, or simply Windows workstations, should opt for Microsoft Azure. It integrates seamlessly with the other products enabling the users to get accustomed to the new system almost immediately.

Azure Active Directory is one example of this strategy in action. In addition to Azure Active Directory serving as a single sign-on (SSO) option for all sorts of applications (Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, plus plenty of third-party apps, including Citrix, Salesforce, and Box), it can integrate with an enterprise’s on-premises Active Directory to extend an enterprise’s local directories to the Cloud. Additionally, there is a cost incentive: companies can save with regard to deployment and training when the organization is committed to Microsoft.

However, if your enterprise is based upon Linux, which is popular amongst smaller enterprises and start-ups, then making a choice gets complicated. While AWS has been in the market longer and has always chosen to be OS-agnostic, Microsoft too has recently opened up the Azure ecosystem to Non-Windows operating systems.

The Hybrid, Public and Private Clouds are expected to grow at 50%, 35% and 25% respectively. Microsoft Azure is undeniably the leader for Hybrid Cloud, as the entire platform has been built from ground-up with a Hybrid Cloud approach in mind.

  • Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud? The 3 Cloud strategies are very different from each other, and so are the respective approaches of the two service providers towards them. A Hybrid Cloud-based approach allows users to enjoy the benefits of both Private and Public Clouds, and therefore has become the choice of 75% of CIOs across the world, as per a recent Wall Street Journal article.

AWS, on the other hand, is a Public Cloud-based platform at heart. Although Amazon is testing the waters of a Hybrid Cloud approach, Azure’s hybrid capabilities are well ahead of AWS. As per reports Microsoft Azure has become a preferred option for CIOs that are looking for a Hybrid Cloud approach.

  • Ecosystem Integration An important requirement and expectation from the Cloud is the ability to integrate Cloud-based applications to work together just like they would in an On-Premise setup. This is another area where Microsoft’s Azure platform shines because of the availability of enterprise level integration applications such as Microsoft BizTalk Server in the Cloud.

These are Cloud-enabled versions of their On-Premise counterparts. In comparison, integration in AWS is not as streamlined, and relies primarily on third-party applications available on the AWS marketplace.

  • Third Party Application & Features Availability of features and third party applications in the Cloud is one area that is a strong suite for AWS and has helped it retain its position and market share. Gartner enlisted a list of features critical for enterprises of which AWS has 92% covered whereas Azure has 75% of the features. AWS has an industry-leading marketplace offering of 2500+ applications, and some CIOs have compared the experience of shopping for these to the experience of shopping at Amazon.com.

That said, Microsoft has also been hard at work at trying to get more applications into its own store, and is in a good position thanks to its big clout and experience with application developers. However, as of now, the AWS marketplace has a better collection than Azure.

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