AWS or Azure, which way to go?

Many of IT leaders have noticed that Public Cloud use is the new normal and is becoming a critical component of modern IT portfolio.

But where to start, there are several big players in the market. Let us compare the offerings from the two well-known leaders: Amazon and Microsoft.

Probably you already know that AWS in 2018 will open a new region in the Nordics. They have taken decision to place it near Stockholm, as it is geographically optimal location to cover all Nordic capitals with low latency. Another good thing is that Swedish government have implemented tax cuts for electricity used to power data centers. This is setting expectations that AWS region in Nordics will be the cheapest in Europe.

This is especially attractive for Nordic customers, as there are no official plans from Microsoft to make similar investments. When we go with Azure, Nordic market most probably will consider DCs in Ireland, UK, Netherlands or Germany.

How does Gartner position Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, providers worldwide?

As we see above, it is safe to say that both vendors are “safe choices” and there is no right or wrong choice.

AWS were first to start IaaS business and stays the dominant market leader and reference point for all competitors with $14 billion revenue during 2016.

Considering technology it is most mature enterprise-ready provider, with strong ecosystem of consulting partners. It is easy to get started using exceptional documentation and video tutorials, but keeping up to date with new service innovations for optimal use can challenge even the experts. AWS is known well for their innovation rate and the broadest range of capabilities and support for a huge number of third party integrations.

Azure, is the second largest Public Cloud provider worldwide with $3 billion revenue during 2016, with slightly stronger base in Europe. Maturity level of the offering grows quickly and the feature gap between AWS is closing down. Azure attracts many customers who want to extend their investment in Microsoft technologies or work much with Windows-centric development.

Comparing the two services on pricing feels like a fool’s game, it is moving target. Both providers continually improve their offerings, adding new capabilities and lowering competitive prices all the time. It would be more sensible to investigate your specific company needs and going with the offering who can best meet them. Some factors that might impact your choice: workloads you run, existing agreements, available skills.

Both AWS and Azure have free offerings and trials, so give each one a test run to help you get a high-level feel of what to pick!

Whichever way you go, remember: cloud adoption is not only about technology. Depending on your organization there are many other aspects that are relevant, most common ones: people, operations, processes, security and the list goes on. It is good practice to use external help to accelerate cloud adoption initiatives and minimize risks during such major IT capability change.

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