AWS vs Azure: What’s the Difference?


In this technology-driven world, everything that you do online is rapidly moving towards the adoption of the cloud platform. Numerous secure cloud service platforms offer computation, content delivery, database storage, and various other functionalities that help businesses to grow and scale.  

The two persistent cloud service vendors that have been the key players in the cloud domain are aws and azure. But choosing either of the two might be difficult. So, the following write-up will bring out the differences between aws and azure and help you pick which one will suit your business needs better.

  1. Basic Features and Services
  2. Azure advantages and disadvantages
  3. AWS advantages and disadvantages
  4. Which one is a better choice?

1. Basic Features and Services

The fundamental features of both azure and aws are quite similar. Both have all the elements required in a public cloud service platform. These are security, self-service, auto-scaling, instant provisioning, identity management, and compliance. 

If we bring out a general comparison between both, it looks like this:

  • AWS started in 2006 while Azure initiated in 2010.
  • The AWS vs Azure market shares is 40% and 30% respectively.
  • AWS is more open to open source community as compared to Azure.
  • Azure provides services in Hybrid Cloud Market, while AWS is still a work in progress.
  • AWS offers more flexibility in terms of licensing.
  • AWS provides extensive support for Linux while Azure is building it up.

Now we will take up some broader pointers and discuss Microsoft Azure vs Amazon AWS.

1. Pricing

The first perspective of comparison is the Azure vs AWS pricing. Azure bills you on a per-minute basis while AWS bills you on an hourly basis. The short term subscription plans of Azure are more flexible but become costlier as the architecture expands.

Both cloud giants have a pay-as-you-go payment structure. It means you can modify or end your purchase contract anytime. AWS allows you to purchase instances in three ways:

  • On-demand which is payable according to usage.
  • Reserved means reserve an instance for 1 to 3 years with upfront cost as per usage.
  • Spot which is bidding for extra available capacity.

2. Computation Power

With a large amount of data generated every day, we must invest in a service that has a higher processing speed and is highly scalable. Hence, this pointer of comparison holds utmost importance in the AWS vs azure comparison. 

AWS employs EC2 or elastic cloud computing, which means the available resource can shrink or grow as on-demand. Also, the users are free to configure their own VMs or Virtual Machines, choose among pre-configured MIs or Machine Images or can customize MIs. The users can pick power, size, memory, number of VMs and capacity according to requirement.

On the other hand, in Azure, the user opts for VHD or Virtual Hard Disk to create a VM. It can be pre-configured by a third party, the user or Microsoft itself. So the main point to note here is, AWS EC2 can be configured to a variety of options and needs, while Azure virtual machines pair-up with other tools to deploy applications on the cloud.

3. Storage

Another criterion for differentiation is storage because a successful cloud deployment needs sufficient storage. Fortunately, both cloud giants are fairly good under this criterion.

AWS uses machine instances to store data. MIs are nothing but virtual machines on the AWS infrastructure. Each instance has temporary storage attached to it. Storage is created along with the instance and destroyed with it too. You can also opt for block storage attached to the MI. S3 offers object storage while Glacier offers data archiving.

Azure provides temporary storage via D drive and the block storage via Page Blobs for VMS. For object storage, it has block blobs and files doubling options available. 

There are two types of storage in Azure. These are cool and hot. Cool is cheaper but you incur additional costs on reading and writing functionalities.  In AWS there is S3 standard-infrequent and S3 standard access options.

There is no limit on the number of objects in both azure and aws. But the object size in AWS should be 5TB and 4.75TB in Azure.

4. Database

Another point of aws vs azure feature comparison is the availability of databases in these cloud computing platforms. Both platforms have vigorous database offerings and can hold both unstructured and structured data.

AWS supports six famous database engines. These are MariaDB, Amazon Aurora, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle. While Azure only has Microsoft SQL available. 

You can provision more instance types in AWS, but Azure’s tooling and interface are more user-friendly.

5. Networking

When working on clouds you must find a network which is secure and isolated. Azure and AWS both have invested enough efforts to create a private and safe environment for its users.

AWS employs Virtual Private Cloud or VPC to create an isolated private network in the cloud. API gateways ensure inter-premises connectivity. Elastic load balancing ensures smooth operation while networking. Inside the VPC, the user can create subnets, route tables, private IP ranges and network gateways. 

Contrastingly, Azure uses a virtual network instead of a VPC. The virtual network allows users to create route tables, isolated networks, subnets, private IP ranges, and network gateways. Cross-network connectivity is handled by a VPN gateway and load balancing is done by a load balancer and application gateway.

Firewall options are offered by both azure and aws.

6. Compliance

Another point of comparison between Microsoft azure vs AWS is compliance with security protocols. AWS has a steady relationship with government organizations and its compliance offering like certifications in DISA, ITAR, CJIS, HIPAA, etc. 

Microsoft contrastingly promises to have 50 compliant offerings like DISA, ITAR, CJIS, FIPS, and HIPAA. 

Both giants allow only screened persons to gain access to a specific cloud.

2. Azure advantages and disadvantages

Azure is a relatively younger cloud platform. But what comes to the advantage of Azure is that it grew from what it already had. Microsoft took its pre-existing on-premises solutions to the cloud. So the point here is if you are already familiar with Microsoft solutions like Sharepoint, SQL Server, Office, etc you will find it easier to use. 

Also, many organizations already use Microsoft services so, it is easy to adapt and integrate. Also, existing Microsoft customers get amazing discounts on Azure.

The only con with Azure is it is newer in the market which can be seen through its enterprise performance. In short, it is less enterprise-ready.

3. AWS advantages and disadvantages

The advantage of AWS is its immense dominance over the market because it debuted first in the market. It has a more mature set of services. That said, the disadvantage of AWS is its pricing. It prices itself as the Ace in a pack of cards. It is not at all cheap.

Its much strength overshadows its weaknesses and is leading the board for years for the services it provides.

4. Which one is a better choice?

So, getting back to where it started. Which one is better between aws vs azure? The answer here is, it clearly relies on your organizational requirements. We have made it easy by curating a list of comparison points and let you choose wisely. 


If you are looking for an extensive course in Cloud Computing, then the 5.5-month online Postgraduate Certificate Program In Cloud Computing offered by Jigsaw Academy can be of help. This program helps interested learners become complete Cloud professionals.

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