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Microsoft Azure vs Amazon AWS public cloud comparison

Matthew Finnegan | Jan. 19, 2016
ComputerworldUK compares the two leading public clouds, Azure and AWS

Microsoft Azure vs Amazon AWS public cloud. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are often regarded as the leading infrastructure as a service clouds. ComputerworldUK takes a look at the merits of each for enterprise customers.

Update: Both AWS and Microsoft have again cut prices this month as competition between the pair rumbles on. Full details of AWS price cuts - the cloud provider's 51st reduction - can be found here, but the main focus is on lowering the cost of EC2 instances running Linux by five percent throughout most geographic regions. Smaller reductions in Windows, Red Hat and Suse Linux instances are also offered.

AWS has also enhanced its Cost Explorer tool to help customers track usage of EC2 instances. 

Microsoft subsequently announced in a blog post that it was lowering the price of its Azure Dv2 Virtual Machines running Linux by up to 17 percent from February. Smaller savings will be seen on Windows Server instances.

The company also took the opportunity to take a swipe at its rival, claiming that its Dv2 instances offer better value than AWS' EC2 virtual machines as they "have load balancing and auto-scaling built-in at no additional charge". 

See here for full details.

Public cloud adoption has continued to gather pace in recent years, as more and more businesses move applications out of their data centres in a bid to cut costs and increase agility. 

This has fuelled a crowded infrastructure as a service (Iaas) market worth a total of $16.5 billion in 2015, according to Gartner stats.

And it is a market that has, thus far, largely been dominated by AWS. It has been estimated that, until recently, AWS has more than 10 times the compute capacity of its all of its 14 closest rivals combined - and that includes Microsoft Azure. Read next AWS: 10 defining moments for the cloud giant

But despite AWS's dominance, Microsoft has continued to gain ground and it has built a huge global cloud network too. While not as big as AWS, it is around twice the scale of its nearest rival, says Gartner.

So what separates the two cloud providers? And how can you start to decide which Iaas platform is best-suited to your organisation?

Microsoft Azure vs Amazon AWS: Feature and services

Selecting one cloud over the other will come down to the wants and needs of each individual customer, and the workloads they are running. In fact it is often the case that organisations will use both providers within different parts of their operations, for different use cases.

However there are a number of differentiating factors that separate the approaches of the two firms, which can help end-users consider which is right for them.


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