Which cloud? Amazon’s AWS versus Microsoft’s Azure

Cloud computing is no longer a futuristic concept; it’s reality and may even be considered mainstream. Today, we use cloud computing in our everyday lives, sometimes without even realising it. Our smartphones and tablets, for instance, run powerful apps via the cloud.

Investment in cloud-based computing is increasing as businesses in particular move to reduce their IT costs and improve collaboration. The two major players, Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure, offer a comprehensive and similar range of managed cloud hosting services, making it difficult to know which is right for your business and even compare packages and pricing.

If you’re thinking of moving to the cloud, here are the basics on what is cloud computing, and the pros and cons of both AWS and Azure.

What is cloud computing?

In basic terms, instead of storing and accessing data and programs on your computer’s hard drive, cloud computing lets you do this over the internet. Providers like AWS and Azure operate three primary cloud service models:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) e.g. where business host computing resources (network, storage, computing) via third-party infrastructure.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) e.g. where business creates its own custom applications for use by all in the company; and
  • and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) e.g. where business subscribes to an application accessed over the internet.

Cloud computing gives you the flexibility to connect to your business anywhere, any time with fast and easy access on web-enabled devices like smartphones and tablets. Outsourcing these services can reduce your IT costs, mitigate risk of downtime, and much more.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) pros and cons

Amazon Web Services (AWS) includes:

  • Unrivalled capacity, in fact AWS capacity is six times larger than the next 12 competitors combined;
  • Global network with the largest data centres in the world with nine in total worldwide (three in the U.S.A. and six elsewhere); and
  • Innovative new features but with strict enterprise agreements.

Microsoft Azure pros and cons

Microsoft Azure includes:

  • Windows-centric development and hosting with .NET and Windows programming languages, such as VB and Visual C++;
  • Microsoft’s non-standard quirks (eg Internet Explorer, Web Roles feature and Silverlight interface);
  • Competitive, flexible payments with pay-as-you-go subscriptions, enterprise agreements and discounts for upfront, long-term payments; and
  • Significantly less capacity than AWS and not yet available worldwide.

With competition fierce in this growing market, Microsoft and Amazon are locked in a fierce price war, each playing price-drop leapfrog. This is great for consumers. However, with any packaged service, bundles are structured in a way that drive sales to higher value services. So, it’s important to research pricing models of both AWS and Azure, and even seek independent advice.

iFactory, one of Brisbane’s most trusted independent digital agencies, provides flexible, affordable web, domain and email hosting plans to suit your needs. We coordinate local or international secure cloud hosting, catering to your specific requirements.

Contact iFactory today on 07 3844 0577 and find out more about our entire suite of web solutions including website design, app development, digital marketing and more.

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