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It’s 2019 and there is a war going on. It’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) vs. Azure. A war where cloud computing brands bring out the big guns to fight each other in order to acquire the maximum number of users from across the globe.
In this article, we highlight the reasons behind this unprecedented war between AWS and Azure – two market leaders from the cloud computing industry and discuss what they have to offer so that we can reduce the war casualties for the laymen as much as possible.
AWS vs Azure – Battle of the clouds
To begin with, we all know that AWS has been the oldest warrior in the cloud computing industry, and cannot afford to lose its dominating position. However, on the other hand, Azure isn’t holding back either, and is on the verge of taking over the lead in the cloud computing race.
The hunger to win is so high that Azure now has a dedicated page – “AWS vs Azure” for its users to educate the laymen how Azure is powerful than AWS in terms of pricing, innovative intelligence and listing out their clients, who are popular brands like Coca Cola, Toyota, Ubisoft etc.
Both AWS and Azure are big names of the cloud computing industry. But the question remains, which service to choose for your business application(s)?
From a bird’s eye view, you might consider AWS as the winner due to its first mover’s advantage. But when you drill things down on the path of analysis, you will soon realize that the decision of selecting a winner is not a piece of cake.
Henceforth, to determine the winner, you must consider multiple factors such as their pricing model(s), storage options, data transfer loss rate and data availability rates. Let’s dig in!
Amazon’s AWS cloud hosting service is undoubtedly a secure platform that offers computing power, database storage, and content delivery among other functionalities in order to help your business scale up through the roof.
Back in the 2000s, when cloud computing was nothing but a bubble for the future, Amazon – a leading ecommerce platform – decided to invest in this bubble and see the outcome.
Their primary goal was to stabilize their infrastructure so that it could power their ecommerce platform. They realized the fact that 75% of their servers were idle in the first three quarters, however, the server utilization boomed in the fourth quarter as Amazon received 3x more traffic when compared to the previous quarters.
They decided to outsource their ideal server to companies as IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service, and that’s how Amazon’s AWS came into existence.
AWS is one of the pioneers in cloud computing, and it leads the market share chart. It boasts 33 zones of availability that is spread across 17 international regions which are increasing year after year. AWS offers more than 70 cloud services including storage, computing, database, networking, application services, management, analytics, deployment, and mobile.
AWS is popular for updating and adding new features regularly. They introduced 722 new features in a single year which was a 40% increase in their number of services. Also, they reduced their prices as many as 60 times ever since its launch in order to cater more users.
Their customers are from over 190 countries and with more than a million active customers including 5,000+ education institutions, 2,000+ government agencies, and 17,500+ nonprofit organizations.
It was originally announced in October 2008 by the name “Project Red Dog” however, later on by February 2010, they renamed themselves as “Windows Azure” which was once again renamed to “Microsoft Azure” in March 2014.
Microsoft Azure offers an extended set of cloud services that can assist you in accomplishing your business goals. It offers the freedom to build, manage, and deploy web applications on a massive, global network using your favorite tools and frameworks.
Their services are available in 32 regions across the globe, and they have announced six additional regions to garner more customers. According to Microsoft, Azure is growing at a rate of 120,000 new customers per month. Nearly 85% of Fortune 500 companies are currently using Azure and almost 40% of Azure’s revenue comes in from startups and ISVs.
AWS continues to be a dominating force in the cloud computing industry. By hitting $70 billion mark in revenue last year, AWS gets the largest slice from the market share. It is equivalent to four other cloud providers combined.
New numbers from Synergy Research Group represent that AWS share of market revenue climbed to 35% by the end of 2018 whereas the market revenue share of Microsoft Azure crossed more than 15% during 2018.
With the market share being discussed, it’s now time for highlighting the key differences of both cloud computing leaders for a better understanding of what they have to offer.
AWS has specialized computers to calculate, process, and compute data. They can scale to thousands of processing nodes based on your requirement. AWS uses Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), also known as AWS EC2 which is a raw server that can be set up as per the needs of the user.
To achieve computational power, Azure uses virtual machines so that its users can scale as per their need.
When it comes to storage, AWS uses a service called ‘S3’ which stands for Simple Storage Service. After the analysis of data from a single year (2014 to 2015), Amazon S3 had witnessed a rise by 91% in regards to data transfer.
Azure uses Storage Block Bob which comprises storage blocks and is able to upload large chunks of data efficiently.
AWS uses a virtual private cloud for networking, and an API gateway for cross-premises connectivity. AWS offers elastic load balancing to balance higher traffic load during networking.
Azure uses a virtual network for networking and uses a VPN gateway for cross-premises connectivity. For balancing the load during content delivery, it manages with its load balancer and application gateway.
Almost all cloud providers provide the functionality to implement and use a database in both SQL & NoSQL solutions. For SQL, AWS uses a relational database as a service by using RDS. For NoSQL, it uses Dynamo DB, and for caching it uses Elastic Cache.
Azure uses SQL database, MySQL and PostgreSQL for a relational database. It uses Cosmos DB to provide NoSQL solutions and Redis Cache for caching purposes.
AWS offers solutions with Elastic Beanstalk, Batch, Lambda, container service etc. to deploy apps.
Azure has multiple app deployment tools such as cloud service, container service, functions, batch, app services etc. for the convenience of its users.
Open Source Applications:
AWS is excellent platform for open source developers as it welcomes Linux users and offers several integration options for different open source applications.
Azure provides the facility to enterprise users so that they can use current active directory account to sign on the Azure cloud platform and run the .net framework on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
Which one is better?
You must now be wondering which service to choose for your business that could be easily set up and help you in expanding your business. Well, in my opinion, you should opt for Amazon’s AWS cloud hosting in order to set up your business applications and here’s why.
WHY Choose AWS?
1. Fastest Growing Cloud Computing Platform:
AWS is the fastest growing cloud infrastructure in the world. It offered only 82 services in 2006, but is now offering more than 1,000 cloud services.
2. Largest Public Cloud:
Amazon’s AWS covers approximately 90% of the public cloud globally, whereas Microsoft Azure covers 5% and other cloud providers cover the remaining 5%.
AWS provides Application Programming Interface (API) for most of their services. It helps in automating tasks such as launching multiple instances with a single script.
The Flip Side: AWS Can Be Intimidating
AWS offers a huge ecosystem that provides a lot of power in the hands of its users. They gain access to a robust infrastructure that supports a wide range of applications and websites (including ecommerce stores and corporate portals).
The design of the AWS ecosystem is such that the users have a lot of latitude in pursuing their project’s objectives. For this, AWS ensures that its policies and architecture management doesn’t bother the users. From the point where the users log into their account area to the day-to-day maintenance of their servers, AWS allows them to have complete freedom to plan the use of the server as they see fit.
However, there is a not-so-small segment of AWS for beginners who prefer the power and robustness of the AWS infrastructure without the challenges of managing their servers and their projects at the same time. This segment includes both the users who lack either the technical competency (and/or resources), or time to manage their AWS servers.
The challenges range from server provisioning to security and maintenance of the servers. Since AWS servers are more of a barebones at the beginning, it takes some effort to set up the server and prepare it for the actual application that you have in mind.
Once the server and the application are up and running, the user (or the sysadmin of the team) is mainly responsible for administration and security. Now, how can you overcome this?
The Simple Solution of AWS for Beginners – Managed Hosting
This seemingly big problem of lack of time or expertise has a simple solution – managed Amazon hosting which makes AWS for beginners a smooth reality.
These services are offered by third-party providers who build their infrastructure on top of AWS infrastructure platform, leveraging the power and flexibility of AWS servers.
In most of these cases, these customers opt for a managed experience that takes away the complexities of the AWS infrastructure while allowing access to the unlimited possibilities of the AWS servers.
These managed services cover the entire spectrum of the AWS experience starting from server creation to server security. While the specifics and delivery of the services differ from vendor to vendor, the basic offerings are quite similar.
In many cases, the service provider specializes in a particular application (WordPress is the most common choice). However, popular vendors, like Cloudways, offer a choice of applications to cater to a wide set of requirements of their customers.
This managed AWS cloud hosting provider offers a simple way of creating and setting up the cloud server. With a simple one-page form collects all the server specifications and then passes them along to the underlying processes for server provisioning. The process usually takes a few minutes, and the server is then ready for the user.