Azure vs AWS: A comprehensive comparison

By Max Ikaheimo

January 3rd, 2024

In cloud computing, two names dominate the conversation: Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. With AWS commanding a 32% market share and Azure close behind at 23%, as reported by Statista in late 2022, the choice between these two giants is a pivotal decision for businesses looking to harness the power of the cloud. 

To help you choose between the two, we'll compare Azure and AWS across various critical aspects, including service offerings, pricing, performance, and security. 

Whether you're a small startup or a large enterprise, this comparison will provide the insights needed to choose the cloud platform that best fits your business objectives. 

Let's dive into the specifics of Azure and AWS and see how they stack up against each other.

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What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing has changed the way businesses operate for good. Resorting to cloud solutions gives access to computing services such as servers, storage, databases, analytics, software, and networking.

Instead of purchasing and maintaining such services on your own, you can rent these services over the web. It's easier and faster for businesses to access the right resources they really need, and they can skip investing in expensive, privately owned IT infrastructure this way.

Read more: A guide to cloud deployment

A brief history of Azure

Azure is a cloud service made by Microsoft that enables building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services using Microsoft-managed data centers. You can choose from different cloud services like computing, analytics, storage, and networking, and create new applications or run existing ones on the public cloud. It's really easy to use!

  • 2008 announcement: Imagine it's 2008, and Microsoft announces Windows Azure. They're stepping into the cloud computing game, joining others like Amazon with AWS.

  • 2010 launch: Fast forward to 2010, Windows Azure hits the market. It's all about letting developers create and manage apps in the cloud without worrying about the backend stuff.

Growing up

  • Adding muscle (2011): In 2011, Azure gets beefier with Virtual Machines. Now, it's not just app-centric; you can run whole operating systems in the cloud, whether it's Windows or Linux.

  • Website wizardry (2012): By 2012, Azure makes launching and running websites a breeze with Azure Web Sites (now Azure App Service).

New identity and expansion

  • Rebranding (2014): Come 2014, Windows Azure transforms into Microsoft Azure. The new name reflects its broader tech appeal, supporting a variety of languages and tools.

  • Growing and glowing: After its rebranding, Azure keeps expanding, diving into AI, machine learning, and IoT (Internet of Things), and integrating more with Microsoft's other products like Office 365.

Today's Azure

  • Big league player: Today, Azure stands tall as one of the top cloud services, alongside AWS and Google Cloud.

  • Innovation station: Microsoft continues to spice up Azure with new features, focusing on sustainability, security, and hybrid cloud solutions.

A brief history of AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing arm of Amazon.com, has a fascinating history that marks its evolution from a small addition to a large eCommerce company to becoming the world's leading cloud service provider.

AWS offers a broad set of global cloud-based products including compute, storage, databases, analytics, networking, mobile, developer tools, management tools, IoT, security, and enterprise applications. It's another all-in-one service, really.

The early days

  • Launch: Think of AWS in 2002 as a helpful neighbor offering tools and tips for using Amazon's web services. Back then, it was all about helping developers, but it wasn't the cloud giant we know today.

The game changer

  • AWS steps up: 2006 was a big year! AWS launched Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3). Imagine being able to rent virtual computers and store data online like never before. This was a game-changer, making computing power and storage accessible and scalable for everyone.

Growing and innovating

  • 2007 and beyond: AWS didn't stop there. It kept adding new services, like a database service (SimpleDB) and a content delivery network (CloudFront). It was like watching a tech plant grow into a tech tree, branching out in all directions.

Becoming the cloud's big name

  • re:Invent kicks off: AWS started throwing its own party, the re:Invent conference, in 2012. This annual event turned into a big deal for announcing cool new services and updates.

Leading the pack

  • Steady growth: AWS kept growing, adding more services and attracting all sorts of customers, from startups to big companies.

  • Innovation leader: Always staying a few steps ahead, AWS became known for bringing new and exciting cloud technologies to the table.

  • Going global: AWS went on a world tour, setting up data centers in different regions, making sure it could offer great service everywhere.

Today's AWS

  • Top of the cloud world: Now, AWS is like the king of the cloud service world, leading the pack in market share.

  • A service for everything: From computing to storage to machine learning, AWS has a tool for almost everything you can think of in the cloud.

  • Big and small, they serve all: AWS isn't just for the big players; it's also small organizations meet their specific needs.

Market share and popularity

According to Statista, in the fourth quarter of 2022, the most popular vendor in the cloud infrastructure services market, Amazon Web Services (AWS), controlled 32 percent of the entire market. Microsoft Azure takes second place with 23 percent market share, followed by Google Cloud with 10 percent market share. 

Together, the three cloud vendors account for 65 percent of total spend in the fourth quarter of 2022.

With Amazon Web Services (AWS) holding 32 percent of the market, it indicates that it's the most popular choice among cloud service providers at the time. This popularity suggests a high level of trust and reliability in AWS's services, which could be due to its wide range of offerings, global reach, and strong security measures. 

But Microsoft Azure is a strong contender with 23 percent of the market share. Azure is known for its integration with Microsoft's software products and services, which can be particularly beneficial for businesses already using Microsoft's ecosystem. This makes Azure a compelling choice for companies wanting to integrate with tools like Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Windows Server.

Service offerings

FeatureAWSAzure
ComputeEC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)Virtual Machines
StorageS3 (Simple Storage Service), EBS (Elastic Block Store)Blob Storage, Disk Storage
DatabaseRDS (Relational Database Service), DynamoDBSQL Database, Cosmos DB
Content delivery and networkingCloudFront, VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)Azure CDN, Virtual Network
Big data and analyticsRedshift, KinesisSynapse Analytics, HDInsight
Machine learning/AISageMaker, ComprehendAzure Machine Learning, Cognitive Services
Identity managementIAM (Identity and Access Management)Azure Active Directory
Developer toolsAWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeployAzure DevOps (formerly VSTS)
Internet of Things (IoT)AWS IoT CoreAzure IoT Hub
Mobile servicesAWS Amplify, AWS Mobile HubAzure App Service, Xamarin
Serverless computingAWS LambdaAzure Functions
ContainersECS (Elastic Container Service), EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service)Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Container Instances
Hybrid cloudAWS OutpostsAzure Stack
MarketplaceAWS MarketplaceAzure Marketplace
ComplianceBroad set of certifications including HIPAA, GDPR, FedRAMPBroad set of certifications including HIPAA, GDPR, FedRAMP
FeatureCompute
AWSEC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)
AzureVirtual Machines
FeatureStorage
AWSS3 (Simple Storage Service), EBS (Elastic Block Store)
AzureBlob Storage, Disk Storage
FeatureDatabase
AWSRDS (Relational Database Service), DynamoDB
AzureSQL Database, Cosmos DB
FeatureContent delivery and networking
AWSCloudFront, VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)
AzureAzure CDN, Virtual Network
FeatureBig data and analytics
AWSRedshift, Kinesis
AzureSynapse Analytics, HDInsight
FeatureMachine learning/AI
AWSSageMaker, Comprehend
AzureAzure Machine Learning, Cognitive Services
FeatureIdentity management
AWSIAM (Identity and Access Management)
AzureAzure Active Directory
FeatureDeveloper tools
AWSAWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy
AzureAzure DevOps (formerly VSTS)
FeatureInternet of Things (IoT)
AWSAWS IoT Core
AzureAzure IoT Hub
FeatureMobile services
AWSAWS Amplify, AWS Mobile Hub
AzureAzure App Service, Xamarin
FeatureServerless computing
AWSAWS Lambda
AzureAzure Functions
FeatureContainers
AWSECS (Elastic Container Service), EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service)
AzureAzure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Container Instances
FeatureHybrid cloud
AWSAWS Outposts
AzureAzure Stack
FeatureMarketplace
AWSAWS Marketplace
AzureAzure Marketplace
FeatureCompliance
AWSBroad set of certifications including HIPAA, GDPR, FedRAMP
AzureBroad set of certifications including HIPAA, GDPR, FedRAMP

Pricing models

FeatureAWSAzure
Pricing structurePay-as-you-go, Reserved Instances, Spot PricingPay-as-you-go, Reserved Instances, Savings Plans, Spot Instances
Free tierOffers a 12-month free tier with limited access to certain services, plus a set of services that are always freeOffers a 12-month free tier with limited access to certain services, plus a set of always-free offers and short-term trials
Compute pricingCharges per minuteCharges per second (with a minimum of 60 seconds)
Storage pricingBlob storage pricing based on the amount of data stored, operations performed, and data transferS3 pricing based on the amount of storage used, number of requests, and data transfer
Database pricingBased on the type of database, size, and additional features like high availabilityBased on the database engine, provisioned throughput, storage, and additional features
Data transfer costsCharges for outbound data transfer (data transfer in is generally free)Charges for outbound data transfer (data transfer in is generally free)
Reserved instancesOffers discounts for pre-committing to a certain level of usage for 1 or 3 yearsOffers Reserved Instances and Savings Plans for committing to a consistent amount of usage (compute or dollar amount) for 1 or 3 years
Spot pricingOffers spot pricing for purchasing unused capacity at a discounted rateOffers spot instances for purchasing unused capacity at a discounted rate
Volume discountsProvides volume-based discounts as part of the Azure Enterprise AgreementOffers volume discounts as usage increases
Custom pricingAvailable for enterprise agreements and large-scale deploymentsAvailable for large or complex deployments with a high level of usage
FeaturePricing structure
AWSPay-as-you-go, Reserved Instances, Spot Pricing
AzurePay-as-you-go, Reserved Instances, Savings Plans, Spot Instances
FeatureFree tier
AWSOffers a 12-month free tier with limited access to certain services, plus a set of services that are always free
AzureOffers a 12-month free tier with limited access to certain services, plus a set of always-free offers and short-term trials
FeatureCompute pricing
AWSCharges per minute
AzureCharges per second (with a minimum of 60 seconds)
FeatureStorage pricing
AWSBlob storage pricing based on the amount of data stored, operations performed, and data transfer
AzureS3 pricing based on the amount of storage used, number of requests, and data transfer
FeatureDatabase pricing
AWSBased on the type of database, size, and additional features like high availability
AzureBased on the database engine, provisioned throughput, storage, and additional features
FeatureData transfer costs
AWSCharges for outbound data transfer (data transfer in is generally free)
AzureCharges for outbound data transfer (data transfer in is generally free)
FeatureReserved instances
AWSOffers discounts for pre-committing to a certain level of usage for 1 or 3 years
AzureOffers Reserved Instances and Savings Plans for committing to a consistent amount of usage (compute or dollar amount) for 1 or 3 years
FeatureSpot pricing
AWSOffers spot pricing for purchasing unused capacity at a discounted rate
AzureOffers spot instances for purchasing unused capacity at a discounted rate
FeatureVolume discounts
AWSProvides volume-based discounts as part of the Azure Enterprise Agreement
AzureOffers volume discounts as usage increases
FeatureCustom pricing
AWSAvailable for enterprise agreements and large-scale deployments
AzureAvailable for large or complex deployments with a high level of usage

Performance

FeatureAWSAzure
Global data center coverageWidespread, with data centers in 64 regionsExtensive, with data centers in 27 regions
Network latencySlightly higher than AWSSlightly lower than Azure
Compute and storage performanceCompetitive with AWS, offering a variety of compute and storage options, including a range of VM types optimized for various purposes, premium storage options for high-performance scenarios, and Azure Autoscale for automatic scalingCompetitive with Azure, offering a wide range of compute and storage solutions, including a wide variety of EC2 instance types optimized for different use cases, EBS optimized instances and provisioned IOPS for high-performance storage, and AWS Auto Scaling for automatic resource adjustments
Database performanceStrong performance for SQL Server and other major databases, including Azure SQL Database and Cosmos DB, with scalability and global distribution optionsStrong performance for relational and NoSQL databases, including RDS and DynamoDB, with scalability. Aurora is known for high performance and scalability
Machine learning performanceExcellent performance for machine learning workloads, with Azure Machine Learning service and Azure Cognitive ServicesExcellent performance for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications, with Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Rekognition, and Amazon Transcribe
Containerization performanceSupports Docker, Kubernetes, and other popular containerization technologies, including Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Azure Container Instances (ACI)Supports Docker, Kubernetes, and other containerization platforms, including Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR)
High-Performance Computing (HPC) performanceOffers a variety of HPC solutions for scientific computing and other demanding workloads, including Azure HPCOffers a comprehensive HPC platform for high-performance computing needs, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) P3 instances and Amazon Elastic Container Service for High Performance Computing (Amazon ECS for HPC)
Cost-effectivenessGenerally considered to be more cost-effective than AWS for certain workloads, such as those that heavily utilize Azure's global network and Azure ExpressRouteGenerally considered to be more cost-effective than Azure for certain workloads, such as those that require specific AWS services or data centers
Integration with Microsoft applicationsSeamlessly integrates with Microsoft Office 365, Windows Server, and other Microsoft products, making it a good choice for organizations already using Microsoft productsIntegrates well with Amazon Web Services tools and services, allowing for easy integration with existing AWS workloads
FeatureGlobal data center coverage
AWSWidespread, with data centers in 64 regions
AzureExtensive, with data centers in 27 regions
FeatureNetwork latency
AWSSlightly higher than AWS
AzureSlightly lower than Azure
FeatureCompute and storage performance
AWSCompetitive with AWS, offering a variety of compute and storage options, including a range of VM types optimized for various purposes, premium storage options for high-performance scenarios, and Azure Autoscale for automatic scaling
AzureCompetitive with Azure, offering a wide range of compute and storage solutions, including a wide variety of EC2 instance types optimized for different use cases, EBS optimized instances and provisioned IOPS for high-performance storage, and AWS Auto Scaling for automatic resource adjustments
FeatureDatabase performance
AWSStrong performance for SQL Server and other major databases, including Azure SQL Database and Cosmos DB, with scalability and global distribution options
AzureStrong performance for relational and NoSQL databases, including RDS and DynamoDB, with scalability. Aurora is known for high performance and scalability
FeatureMachine learning performance
AWSExcellent performance for machine learning workloads, with Azure Machine Learning service and Azure Cognitive Services
AzureExcellent performance for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications, with Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Rekognition, and Amazon Transcribe
FeatureContainerization performance
AWSSupports Docker, Kubernetes, and other popular containerization technologies, including Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Azure Container Instances (ACI)
AzureSupports Docker, Kubernetes, and other containerization platforms, including Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR)
FeatureHigh-Performance Computing (HPC) performance
AWSOffers a variety of HPC solutions for scientific computing and other demanding workloads, including Azure HPC
AzureOffers a comprehensive HPC platform for high-performance computing needs, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) P3 instances and Amazon Elastic Container Service for High Performance Computing (Amazon ECS for HPC)
FeatureCost-effectiveness
AWSGenerally considered to be more cost-effective than AWS for certain workloads, such as those that heavily utilize Azure's global network and Azure ExpressRoute
AzureGenerally considered to be more cost-effective than Azure for certain workloads, such as those that require specific AWS services or data centers
FeatureIntegration with Microsoft applications
AWSSeamlessly integrates with Microsoft Office 365, Windows Server, and other Microsoft products, making it a good choice for organizations already using Microsoft products
AzureIntegrates well with Amazon Web Services tools and services, allowing for easy integration with existing AWS workloads

User interface and ease of use

FeatureAWSAzure
Management consoleAzure Portal offers a clean, modern interface with a dashboard that can be customized with tiles for different services. It emphasizes integration with other Microsoft services.AWS Management Console has a straightforward, functional design. It provides a comprehensive list of services, but the sheer number can be overwhelming for new users.
Navigation and organizationAzure's navigation is generally considered user-friendly, with services categorized logically. The search function is robust, helping users find services quickly.AWS offers a detailed navigation menu categorized by service type. However, the extensive range of services can make navigation a bit complex for beginners.
Documentation and supportAzure provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and quick-start guides. Microsoft also offers strong enterprise-level support and integration with existing Microsoft products.AWS is known for its detailed documentation, extensive FAQs, and active community forums. AWS also offers various levels of support plans.
Learning curveAzure might have a gentler learning curve for users already familiar with Microsoft's ecosystem, such as Windows Server, Active Directory, and SQL Server.AWS can have a steeper learning curve due to its vast array of services and options, but it's well-documented, and there are numerous learning resources available.
Tooling and integrationAzure integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft tools and services, which can simplify processes for users reliant on the Microsoft ecosystem.AWS offers a wide range of tools and SDKs for integration. It is particularly strong in integrations for DevOps, automation, and cloud-native development.
Customization and flexibilityAzure offers high levels of customization in its dashboard and allows users to tailor the interface to their specific needs.AWS provides customizable views and settings in its console, but the focus is more on functionality and breadth of service.
Mobile app experienceAzure has a mobile app that allows users to monitor and manage their resources on the go.AWS also offers a mobile app for resource monitoring and basic management tasks.
FeatureManagement console
AWSAzure Portal offers a clean, modern interface with a dashboard that can be customized with tiles for different services. It emphasizes integration with other Microsoft services.
AzureAWS Management Console has a straightforward, functional design. It provides a comprehensive list of services, but the sheer number can be overwhelming for new users.
FeatureNavigation and organization
AWSAzure's navigation is generally considered user-friendly, with services categorized logically. The search function is robust, helping users find services quickly.
AzureAWS offers a detailed navigation menu categorized by service type. However, the extensive range of services can make navigation a bit complex for beginners.
FeatureDocumentation and support
AWSAzure provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and quick-start guides. Microsoft also offers strong enterprise-level support and integration with existing Microsoft products.
AzureAWS is known for its detailed documentation, extensive FAQs, and active community forums. AWS also offers various levels of support plans.
FeatureLearning curve
AWSAzure might have a gentler learning curve for users already familiar with Microsoft's ecosystem, such as Windows Server, Active Directory, and SQL Server.
AzureAWS can have a steeper learning curve due to its vast array of services and options, but it's well-documented, and there are numerous learning resources available.
FeatureTooling and integration
AWSAzure integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft tools and services, which can simplify processes for users reliant on the Microsoft ecosystem.
AzureAWS offers a wide range of tools and SDKs for integration. It is particularly strong in integrations for DevOps, automation, and cloud-native development.
FeatureCustomization and flexibility
AWSAzure offers high levels of customization in its dashboard and allows users to tailor the interface to their specific needs.
AzureAWS provides customizable views and settings in its console, but the focus is more on functionality and breadth of service.
FeatureMobile app experience
AWSAzure has a mobile app that allows users to monitor and manage their resources on the go.
AzureAWS also offers a mobile app for resource monitoring and basic management tasks.

Security

FeatureAWSAzure
Compliance certificationsAzure offers a wide range of compliance certifications, including global, regional, industry-specific, and government-specific standards.AWS also has an extensive list of compliance certifications, covering a broad range of regulatory requirements across different regions and industries.
Identity and access managementAzure Active Directory provides identity services that integrate with Microsoft’s cloud services and support multi-factor authentication, conditional access, and identity protection.AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) allows you to manage access to AWS services and resources securely. It also supports multi-factor authentication and fine-grained access controls.
Network securityAzure provides robust network security capabilities, including Virtual Network, Network Security Groups, and Azure Firewall. Azure also offers DDoS protection and VPN services.AWS offers Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Security Groups, Network Access Control Lists (ACLs), AWS Shield for DDoS protection, and AWS Web Application Firewall.
Data encryptionAzure offers encryption for data at rest and in transit, with capabilities like Azure Storage Service Encryption and Azure Disk Encryption.AWS provides data encryption for stored data (EBS, S3, etc.) and data in transit, using services like AWS Key Management Service (KMS) and AWS CloudHSM.
Threat detection and monitoringAzure Security Center provides unified security management and advanced threat protection across hybrid cloud workloads.AWS Security Hub offers a comprehensive view of your high-priority security alerts and compliance status across AWS accounts.
Security best practices and guidanceAzure provides extensive documentation and best practices through the Azure Security Benchmark and Azure Security Center.AWS offers well-architected frameworks and extensive documentation on security best practices, including the AWS Well-Architected Framework.
Incident responseAzure has a proactive incident response team and provides tools and guidance for customers to respond to security incidents.AWS has an incident response guide and provides features and tools to help customers respond to and mitigate security incidents.
FeatureCompliance certifications
AWSAzure offers a wide range of compliance certifications, including global, regional, industry-specific, and government-specific standards.
AzureAWS also has an extensive list of compliance certifications, covering a broad range of regulatory requirements across different regions and industries.
FeatureIdentity and access management
AWSAzure Active Directory provides identity services that integrate with Microsoft’s cloud services and support multi-factor authentication, conditional access, and identity protection.
AzureAWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) allows you to manage access to AWS services and resources securely. It also supports multi-factor authentication and fine-grained access controls.
FeatureNetwork security
AWSAzure provides robust network security capabilities, including Virtual Network, Network Security Groups, and Azure Firewall. Azure also offers DDoS protection and VPN services.
AzureAWS offers Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Security Groups, Network Access Control Lists (ACLs), AWS Shield for DDoS protection, and AWS Web Application Firewall.
FeatureData encryption
AWSAzure offers encryption for data at rest and in transit, with capabilities like Azure Storage Service Encryption and Azure Disk Encryption.
AzureAWS provides data encryption for stored data (EBS, S3, etc.) and data in transit, using services like AWS Key Management Service (KMS) and AWS CloudHSM.
FeatureThreat detection and monitoring
AWSAzure Security Center provides unified security management and advanced threat protection across hybrid cloud workloads.
AzureAWS Security Hub offers a comprehensive view of your high-priority security alerts and compliance status across AWS accounts.
FeatureSecurity best practices and guidance
AWSAzure provides extensive documentation and best practices through the Azure Security Benchmark and Azure Security Center.
AzureAWS offers well-architected frameworks and extensive documentation on security best practices, including the AWS Well-Architected Framework.
FeatureIncident response
AWSAzure has a proactive incident response team and provides tools and guidance for customers to respond to security incidents.
AzureAWS has an incident response guide and provides features and tools to help customers respond to and mitigate security incidents.

Unique features and differentiators

When comparing Azure and AWS, each platform has unique features and differentiators that set them apart. These distinctions can be crucial for businesses and developers when choosing a cloud service provider. Let's look at some of the unique aspects of each:

Microsoft Azure unique features and differentiators

  • Integrate with Microsoft products: With Microsoft Azure, you can easily utilize it with a range of Microsoft products and services like Office 365, SharePoint, and Dynamics 365. This comes in handy, especially if you're already using Microsoft products in your business.

  • Hybrid Cloud with Azure Stack: Azure Stack Is a hybrid cloud solution that lets you keep things consistent by bringing Azure services right into your own data center. If you're into that hybrid vibe, this is your go-to option.

  • For your enterprise needs: Azure has got your back, especially if you're a big enterprise. Whether you're in healthcare, government, or finance, Azure's offerings are tailor-made to meet your industry's specific requirements.

  • Manage access effortlessly with Azure AD: Need a solid identity and access management service? Azure Active Directory is here for you. It works well with other Microsoft services and is widely trusted in enterprise environments.

  • Increase your desktop experience: Forget traditional desktop setups. With Azure, you can move your desktop infrastructure to the cloud, enjoying a comprehensive desktop and app virtualization service. It's a game-changer for businesses like aiming to modernize their workspace.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) unique features and differentiators

  • Market leadership and experience: AWS has been the market leader in cloud computing for a longer time, offering a mature and feature-rich platform with a broad and deep set of capabilities.

  • Extensive global infrastructure: AWS has the largest global footprint among cloud providers, with a vast number of data centers spread across more regions and availability zones.

  • Innovation and pace of introducing new services: AWS is known for its rapid pace of innovation, consistently introducing new services and features.

  • AWS Lambda and serverless leadership: AWS Lambda, the pioneering serverless computing service, allows running code without provisioning or managing servers, and AWS continues to lead in the serverless space.

  • Diverse customer base: AWS caters to a wide range of customers from startups to large enterprises and public sector organizations, offering solutions that meet a variety of needs.

  • Amazon machine learning and AI services: AWS offers a strong set of machine learning and AI services, including SageMaker for building, training, and deploying machine learning models at scale.

Integration and ecosystem

Microsoft Azure integration and ecosystem

  • Microsoft product integration: Azure is tightly integrated with Microsoft's software and services, including Office 365, SharePoint, Dynamics 365, and Power BI. This integration provides a seamless experience for businesses already using Microsoft products.

  • Developer tools: Azure supports a range of developer tools and languages, including Visual Studio, .NET, and open-source technologies, making it a versatile platform for a variety of development scenarios.

  • Hybrid cloud solutions: Azure stands out with its hybrid cloud solutions, offering Azure Stack for extending Azure services to on-premises environments. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that need to keep some data and applications on-premises for regulatory or operational reasons.

  • Enterprise focus: Azure’s ecosystem is tailored towards large enterprises with complex requirements, offering specialized solutions for different industries and deep integration with enterprise-level tools.

  • Marketplace: Azure Marketplace offers a wide range of third-party applications and services that can be easily integrated into Azure environments.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Integration and Ecosystem

  • Broad service offering: AWS offers a vast array of services that cover almost every cloud computing need, from basic computing and storage to advanced machine learning, analytics, and IoT services.

  • Open source and third-party integration: AWS has strong support for open-source technologies and offers extensive integration with third-party tools and services, making it a flexible choice for various technology stacks.

  • AWS Partner Network (APN): The APN includes thousands of systems integrators and technology partners that provide a wide range of solutions and expertise for AWS customers.

  • DevOps and automation: AWS offers robust tools for DevOps and automation, including AWS CodePipeline, AWS CodeBuild, and AWS CodeDeploy, which integrate seamlessly with other AWS services.

  • Marketplace: AWS Marketplace features a vast selection of third-party software and services that can be integrated with AWS’s cloud environment.

  • Startups and scale: AWS is popular among startups due to its scalability and the breadth of its services, which allow startups to grow rapidly without needing to switch platforms.

Customer support and community

FeatureAWSAzure
Customer support plansAzure offers several support plans: Basic (free), Developer, Standard, Professional Direct, and Premier. Each plan varies in terms of response time, scope of support, and cost.AWS offers a range of support plans: Basic (free), Developer, Business, and Enterprise. These plans differ in terms of available support, response times, and technical account management.
Technical support availabilityAzure provides 24/7 technical support for all paid plans, with varying levels of response times based on the plan.AWS also offers 24/7 technical support for all paid plans, with response times depending on the severity of the issue and the chosen plan.
Community supportAzure has a strong community presence with forums like MSDN and Stack Overflow. Microsoft also hosts various Azure-specific events and conferences.AWS has a large and active community with forums like AWS Developer Forums and Stack Overflow. AWS also hosts events like AWS re:Invent and AWS Summits.
Documentation and resourcesAzure offers comprehensive documentation, tutorials, and learning paths through Microsoft Learn and Azure documentation.AWS provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and digital training through AWS Training and Certification and AWS documentation.
Marketplace supportAzure Marketplace offers support for third-party solutions available on the platform, with varying levels of support based on the vendor.AWS Marketplace provides support for third-party products, with the level of support depending on the individual vendor.
Developer tools and SDKsAzure provides a range of developer tools and SDKs, with support available through the respective support plans.AWS offers various developer tools and SDKs, with support included in the AWS support plans.
User groups and forumsAzure has a network of user groups and community-driven events worldwide, fostering a collaborative environment for sharing knowledge.AWS supports a wide network of user groups globally and encourages community-led AWS Meetups and events.
FeatureCustomer support plans
AWSAzure offers several support plans: Basic (free), Developer, Standard, Professional Direct, and Premier. Each plan varies in terms of response time, scope of support, and cost.
AzureAWS offers a range of support plans: Basic (free), Developer, Business, and Enterprise. These plans differ in terms of available support, response times, and technical account management.
FeatureTechnical support availability
AWSAzure provides 24/7 technical support for all paid plans, with varying levels of response times based on the plan.
AzureAWS also offers 24/7 technical support for all paid plans, with response times depending on the severity of the issue and the chosen plan.
FeatureCommunity support
AWSAzure has a strong community presence with forums like MSDN and Stack Overflow. Microsoft also hosts various Azure-specific events and conferences.
AzureAWS has a large and active community with forums like AWS Developer Forums and Stack Overflow. AWS also hosts events like AWS re:Invent and AWS Summits.
FeatureDocumentation and resources
AWSAzure offers comprehensive documentation, tutorials, and learning paths through Microsoft Learn and Azure documentation.
AzureAWS provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and digital training through AWS Training and Certification and AWS documentation.
FeatureMarketplace support
AWSAzure Marketplace offers support for third-party solutions available on the platform, with varying levels of support based on the vendor.
AzureAWS Marketplace provides support for third-party products, with the level of support depending on the individual vendor.
FeatureDeveloper tools and SDKs
AWSAzure provides a range of developer tools and SDKs, with support available through the respective support plans.
AzureAWS offers various developer tools and SDKs, with support included in the AWS support plans.
FeatureUser groups and forums
AWSAzure has a network of user groups and community-driven events worldwide, fostering a collaborative environment for sharing knowledge.
AzureAWS supports a wide network of user groups globally and encourages community-led AWS Meetups and events.

How to choose between AWS and Azure? 

  • Azure Monitor vs. AWS CloudWatch: If your priority is advanced monitoring and integration with Microsoft services, Azure Monitor might be more suitable. For broader service monitoring and operational health insights, AWS CloudWatch is a strong contender.

  • Azure Cloud vs. AWS Cloud: Consider Azure if you're looking for strong hybrid cloud capabilities and integration with Microsoft products. Opt for AWS if you need a more extensive range of services and a larger global infrastructure.

  • Azure File and Blob Storage vs. Amazon S3: Azure offers Azure File Storage for SMB-based file shares and Azure Blob Storage for REST-based object storage, ideal for integration with Microsoft services. Amazon S3 is a robust choice for scalable object storage with high durability.

  • Cloud migration: If your migration needs are closely tied to Microsoft environments, Azure's cloud migration services might be more aligned with your requirements. AWS offers comprehensive migration services that are well-suited for diverse and large-scale migrations.

  • Simple storage service and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2): AWS's S3 and EC2 are industry-leading services for storage and computing. If these are your primary needs, AWS could be the better choice.

  • Reserved instances: Both Azure and AWS offer reserved instances, which can be a cost-saving option. Your choice might depend on the specific pricing models and discounts offered by each platform.

  • Overall cloud provider considerations: Evaluate each provider based on the breadth and depth of their services. AWS offers a wide range of services and excels in scalability and innovation, while Azure is known for its enterprise focus and strong support for hybrid cloud environments.

  • Cloud migration services: Both platforms offer robust cloud migration services. Your choice might depend on which platform aligns better with your existing infrastructure and the specific tools and support each offers for migration.

But AWS and Azure aren’t your only choices. You can always pick between Vercel and Netlify, the new serverless contenders to the big two dominance. 

Read more: Vercel vs Netlify

Closing thoughts

When choosing between Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) for your cloud computing needs, it's essential to consider a variety of factors that align with your organization's specific requirements and strategic objectives. Both Azure and AWS offer robust, feature-rich platforms with unique strengths.

Azure stands out with its seamless integration with Microsoft's suite of products, making it an ideal choice for organizations heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. Its strong capabilities in hybrid cloud solutions and enterprise-focused services make it a compelling option for large businesses seeking a smooth transition to the cloud.

On the other hand, AWS boasts a broad range of services, extensive global infrastructure, and a reputation for innovation and scalability. It's a versatile platform that caters to a diverse range of computing needs, from startups to large enterprises, making it a go-to choice for organizations seeking flexibility and a comprehensive set of tools and services.

Ultimately, the decision between Azure and AWS should be based on specific factors such as your existing infrastructure, scalability needs, compliance requirements, budget, and the particular cloud services your organization requires. 

Both platforms have their unique advantages, and the right choice may even involve a multi-cloud strategy, leveraging the strengths of both to meet different operational needs. 

By carefully evaluating each platform's offerings and aligning them with your business goals, you can make an informed decision that paves the way for a successful and efficient cloud computing experience.

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