Microsoft Azure Vs. Amazon Web Services: Key Differences in Cloud Systems

How can businesses and organizations know which cloud system is right for them? While there are several providers to examine before making a final choice, it is a smart idea to take a look at the top candidates such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Google Cloud is also a top contender, but for our purposes today we will take a deep dive into comparison shopping between AWS and Azure.  As two of the biggest names in public cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, have a few key differences that should be examined. Depending upon the unique needs of your organization, one may rise to the top as providing the most for your business. Let’s take a look at the storage, compliance, and pricing models for these two powerhouses in the cloud world. 


What Are Azure & Amazon Web Services? 

Before we begin investigating the key differences between these two cloud systems, we should take a step back and take a broad look at each. In the current cloud war that has been brewing, there really isn’t a “good” and “bad” choice, but rather a choice that is best for your needs.  According to EDUCBA, a leading global provider of skill based education, AWS and Azure each have their own characteristics and traits that could be useful for a variety of organizations.  Launched in 2006, AWS services are designed in such a way that they work with each other and produce a scalable and efficient outcome. AWS services are categorized into 3 types such as Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).  Microsoft Azure, which came on the scene four years later, offers a wide range of integrated cloud services and functionalities such as analytics, computing, networking, database, storage, mobile and web applications that seamlessly integrate with your environment in order to achieve efficiency and scalability.

Storage Comparison 

AWS has temporary storage that is allocated once an instance is started and destroyed when the instance is terminated. They also provide block storage that can be separate or attached to an instance. Azure, on the other hand, offers temporary storage through D drive, block storage through Page Blobs for VMs. Block Blobs and Files also serve as object storage. Click here for more side-by-side comparison of storage capabilities and methods.


Since we work closely with many healthcare organizations we thought this may be an area of concern for many of our clients.  Amazon has curated a long relationship with government agencies, and their compliance offerings. These include certifications in ITAR, DISA, HIPAA, CJIS, FIPS, and more. They also provide security so that only screened persons can access the cloud, a must for agencies handling sensitive information. Microsoft has more than 50 compliant offerings, including ITAR, DISA, HIPAA, CJIS, FIPS. They provide the same level of security as Amazon, setting up permissions so that only screened persons can access a government-level cloud.

Pricing Models 

Let’s face it, sometimes the budget determines the products we are able to use. Amazon offers a pay-as-you-go model charging per hour, without upfront costs. Customers bid for extra capacity available. Azure also has a more precise pricing model. While it is also a pay-as-you-go model it charges by minute rather than hour. Azure also offers short term commitments with the option between prepaid or monthly charges. So how do you decide what’s right for your organization? It helps to have an IT partner that can guide you and help your business understand how each could play a role in your organization’s success. Talk to our team about analyzing which would work for your company’s unique needs.  Resources: Otava Comparison Charts, Cloud Health, & TechTalk