AWS vs. Azure – Services Overview

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In 2014, the 2 leaders in the Cloud IaaS segment are AWS and Microsoft Azure.


Figure 1 – Cloud IaaS Magic Quadrant (Gartner 2014)

Microsoft Azure started out as a PaaS originally and then move into IaaS. In 2013, Microsoft Azure had vision but was poor in execution (as per Gartner), but Azure has been catching up fast to become No. 2 cloud service behind Amazon. Basically, Microsoft has competitive advantages when focusing on delivering its software capabilities via cloud services. Contrariwise, Amazon AWS is cloud-focused service provider with a very pure vision of highly automated, cost-effective IT capabilities, delivered in flexible, on-demand manner.


Figure 2 – Competitive Position – Q3 2014 (Synergy Research Group)

In the first post of AWS vs. Azure series I will go through the current services from our 2 leaders to know why they’ve been taking the leadership in the market.

The following table show us all services from AWS and respective services from Azure.

  AWS Azure
Management Portal
1 AWS Management Console: Azure Management Portal: https://manage.windowsazure.comAzure Preview Portal:
Global Infrastructure
1 Regions: are completely isolated from each other and are in different parts of the world. Regions: are the physical locations of Azure data centers.
2 Availability Zones: is isolated, but in a region are connected through low-latency link. Affinity Groups: are a way you can group your cloud services by proximity to each other in the Azure datacenter in order to achieve optimal performance.
3 Edge Locations: store local content in cache or temporary memory, making it easier and faster for local users to process and retrieve their data. Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) Node Location: caches Azure blobs and static content used by cloud services at strategically placed locations to provide maximum bandwidth for delivering content to users.
Compute Services
1 EC2: provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud.  Virtual Machines: provision Windows and Linux Virtual Machines and applications in minutes.
2 Elastic MapReduce: lets you perform big data tasks such as web indexing, data mining, and log file analysis. HDlnsight: provision managed Hadoop clusters.
3 N/A Batch: run large-scale parallel and batch compute jobs.
4 N/A Scheduler: run your jobs on simple or complex recurring schedules.
Deployment Services
1 N/A Cloud Services: create highly available, infinitely scalable cloud applications and APIs.
2 N/A Websites: deploy and scale web apps in seconds.
3 N/A Mobile Services: build and host the backend for any mobile app.
Desktop as a Service
1 Amazon WorkSpaces: is a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud. RemoteApp: deploy Windows client apps in the cloud, run on any device.
Auto Scaling
1 Auto Scaling: helps you maintain application availability and allows you to scale your Amazon EC2 capacity up or down automatically according to conditions you define. Auto Scale: can automatically scale your Windows Azure application based on rules that you define specifically for your application.
1 VPC: lets you launch AWS in a private, isolated cloud. Virtual Network: provision private networks, optionally connect to on-premises datacenters.
2 Direct Connect: lets you establish a dedicated network connection from your network to AWS. ExpressRoute: dedicated private network fiber connections to Azure.
3 Route 53: is a scalable and available Domain Name System (DNS). Traffic Manager: load balance incoming traffic for high performance and availability.
4 Elastic Load Balancing (ELB): automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple Amazon EC2 instances in the cloud. Azure Load Balancer: to distribute a specific type of traffic between multiple virtual machines or services. For example, you can spread the load of web request traffic across multiple web servers or web roles.
Storage Services
1 S3: can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data. Storage: durable, highly available and massively scalable cloud storage.
2 EBS: provides persistent block level storage volumes for use with Amazon EC2 instances in the AWS Cloud. N/A
3 Glacier: is a low cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup. Backup: simple and reliable server backup to the cloud. 
4 Amazon Zocalo: is a fully managed, secure enterprise storage and sharing service with strong administrative controls and feedback capabilities that improve user productivity. Azure Files (Preview): exposes file shares using the standard SMB 2.1 protocol. Applications running in Azure can now easily share files between VMs using standard and familiar file system APIs like ReadFile and WriteFile.
Database Services
1 RDS: provides familiar SQL databases while automatically managing administrative tasks. SQL Database: managed Relational SQL Database-as-a-service.
2 DynamoBD: is a scalable NoSQL data store that manages distributed replicas of your data for high availability. DocumentDB: managed NoSQL document database-as-a-service. 
3 ElasticCache: improves application performance by allowing you to retrieve information from an in-memory caching system. Redis Cache: high throughput, low latency data access to build fast and scalable applications. 
4 Redshift: is fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse services that let you efficiently analyze all your data using your existing business intelligence tools.  
Data Orchestration
1 Data Pipeline: lightweight orchestration service for periodic data driven workflows. Data Factory: orchestrate and manage data transformation and movement.
Backup and Recovery Services
1 Glacier: is a low cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup.  Backup: simple and reliable server backup to the cloud.
2 Storage Gateway: securely integrates on-premises IT environments with cloud storage for backup and disaster recovery N/A
3 N/A Site Recovery: orchestrate protection and recovery of private clouds.
4 AWS Import/ Export: accelerates moving large amounts of data into and out of the AWS cloud using portable storage devices for transport. AWS Import/Export transfers your data directly onto and off of storage devices using Amazon’s high-speed internal network and bypassing the Internet. Azure Import/ Export: to transfer large amounts of file data to Azure Blob storage in situations where uploading over the network is prohibitively expensive or not feasible. You can also use the Import/Export service to transfer large quantities of data resident in Blob storage to your on-premises installations in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Media & Content Delivery
1 CloudFront: provides a way to distribute content to end users with low latency and high data transfer speeds. Azure CDN: deliver content to end-users through a robust network of global data centers. 
2 Amazon Elastic Transcoder: lets you convert your media files in the cloud easily, at low cost, and at scale. Media Services: encode, store, and stream video and audio at scale.
3 Amazon AppStream: lets you stream resource intensive applications and games from the cloud to multiple end-user devices. N/A
1 Kenesis: managed services that scales elastically for real-time processing of streaming big data. Stream Analytics: real-time stream processing.
2 AWS CloudSearch: is a fully managed search service for websites and apps. Azure Search: fully-managed search-as-a-service.
3 N/A Machine Learning: powerful cloud-based predictive analytics.
Mobile Services
1 Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS): lets you publish messages to subscribers or other applications. Notification Hubs: scalable, cross-platform push notification infrastructure.
2 Amazon Cognito: is a simple user identity and data synchronization service that helps you securely manage and synchronize app data for your users across their mobile devices. N/A
3 Amazon Mobile Analytics: is a service that lets you easily collect, visualize, and understand app usage data at scale. N/A
Management Services
1 AWS CloudTrail: provides increased visibility into user activity by recording API calls made on your account.Amazon CloudWatch: provides monitoring for resources and applications. Azure Management Services: can monitor key performance metrics for your cloud services in the Azure Management Portal. You can set the level of monitoring to minimal and verbose for each service role, and can customize the monitoring displays. Verbose monitoring data is stored in a storage account, which you can access outside the portal.
2 N/A Scheduler: run your jobs on simple or complex recurring schedules.
3 N/A Automation: Simplify cloud management with process automation.
4 AWS Elastic Beanstalk: is an application container for deploying and managing applications. N/A
5 CloudFormation: lets you create and update a collection of related AWS resources in a predictable fashion. Azure Resource Manager: introduces an entirely new way of thinking about your Azure resources. Instead of creating and managing individual resources, you begin by imagining a complex service, such as a blog, a photo gallery, a SharePoint portal, or a wiki. You use a template — a resource model of the service — to create a resource group with the resources that you need to support the service. Then, you can manage and deploy that resource group as a logical unit.
6 AWS Trusted Advisor: inspects your AWS environment and finds opportunities to save money, improve system performance and reliability, or help close security gaps. N/A
Hybrid Integration Solutions
1 Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS): offers a reliable, highly scalable, hosted queue for storing messages. Service Bus: connect across private and public cloud environments.
2 Amazon Simple Workflow (SWF): coordinates all of the processing steps within an application. N/A
3 N/A BizTalk Services: seamlessly integrate the enterprise and the cloud.
Identity & Access Management
1 AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM): lets you securely control access to AWS services and resources. Active Directory: synchronize on-premises directories and enable single sign-on.Multi-Factor Authentication: safeguard access to your data and apps with an extra level of authentication.
Development Tools
1 AWS OpsWorks: is a DevOps platform for managing applications of any scale or complexity on the AWS cloud. Visual Studio Online: plan, build and ship software, all from one place
2 AWS’s SDK Azure’s SDK
Other Services
1 Amazon Simple Email Service (SES): is a bulk and transactional email-sending service.  N/A
2 N/A API Management: publish APIs to developers, partners and employees securely and at scale.
3 N/A Event Hubs: ingest, persist, and process millions of events per second.

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Son Nguyen

Son Nguyen

Son Nguyen is a Cloud Consultant working for FPT Software’s Cloud Innovation team. With deep knowledge in AWS and MS Azure, Son acts as a cloud consultant in various areas, ranging from assessment to architecture design, supporting customers from Japan, EU to US.

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