Microsoft Azure vs. Amazon Web Services : What's the Difference?

Alexandra Kenney | Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Microsoft Azure vs. Amazon Web Services : What's the Difference?

The cloud computing industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years as companies ramp up their digital transformation to boost IT efficiency. As a result, the growing popularity of cloud technology is creating a worldwide demand for cloud specialists, making now a great time to earn an IT certification in cloud security, architecture or engineering to land a role building cutting-edge solutions at Fortune 500 enterprises. 

First, however, it’s important to understand your own goals in becoming an expert on a cloud platform. Are your career aspirations national or global? We will start by reviewing what each cloud service provider offers, as well as the critical differences between them in order to help you determine the best cloud career path for you. 

Two of the most trusted cloud service providers are Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Microsoft Azure is a public cloud platform that can store a high volume of accessible data by utilizing using Microsoft data centers located around the world. While AWS also offers a global cloud infrastructure based on regions, it offers significantly more storage and advanced customization capabilities. Ultimately, both cloud service providers elevate the possibilities of what businesses of any size can achieve. 

Azure vs. AWS Cloud Platform

Eighty-one percent of the market share of cloud infrastructure-as-a-service belongs to AWS, while 10 percent belongs to Microsoft and 7 percent to IBM.

Cloud computing on AWS and Azure platforms allows users to deploy multiple applications and continuously collect vast amounts of data, which is then stored on a cloud server instead of a physical data center. Configuration of the cloud can also be streamlined through predictive analytics thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Azure enables users to customize their public cloud platform by choosing from Azure's suite of applications. These applications help users quickly scale commands/rules in existing applications and develop new applications without the advanced IT skills that are necessary to deploy on the AWS platform. This is one reason the worldwide public cloud services market is forecasted to grow 17 percent in 2020 to a total of $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019.

The secure cloud platform of AWS offers database storage, rapid content delivery and unmatched computing power to manage complex global performance requirements. AWS edges out when it comes to computing power, as users can configure multiple settings, such as size, memory, computing power, number of virtual machines (VMs) and regions to deploy applications. Azure, however, must use a machine instance to create a VM, and users choose the number of cores and amount of memory they would like to use.

As for storage capabilities, both AWS and Azure provide temporary storage options. AWS allocates storage once, which activates an instance, while Azure offers regular storage through the D drive.

In terms of security, both AWS and Azure provide advanced cybersecurity features. For example, Azure uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect and stop the seven trillion cyber threats it encounters every day.

One of the biggest differences between AWS and Azure is pricing. Although both providers offer a pay-as-you-go model, the main difference is that AWS charges by the hour and Azure charges by the minute. AWS is also available on demand, meaning you pay for what you use without any upfront costs. In comparison, Azure has a more exact pricing model, which makes it ideal for a short-term commitment if you change your mind.

Finally, Azure and AWS differ based on integrations available. Integration capabilities are one of the central benefits of AWS, as there are significantly more open-source integrations available with AWS than Azure. AWS also provides more convenience for users running on Linux. However, if you or your business already uses Microsoft technology, Azure offers a seamless transition. Microsoft has not always embraced open-source integrations, but the company is slowly building up its integration offerings. 

Azure vs. AWS Certification

The growing field of cloud professionals is a lucrative opportunity for those looking to enter the IT industry after completing a computer science degree or diploma, or for those looking to make a career move. Completing a cloud certification program in Azure or AWS provides an advantage over other candidates for an entry-level cloud professional position. In addition to more job security, a cloud certification program provides networking opportunities, vendor-recognized accreditation and the fastest way to learn how to use cloud technology.

Benefits of an Azure Certification

Azure certification programs teach the basics of cloud computing, including how to deploy applications through commands. As Azure experts are in high demand, a certification — even entry-level — is an asset sure to make you stand out from other candidates.

Azure is also one of the most flexible cloud computing platforms available — a quality all companies value when adopting new technology. If you want to become an invaluable asset to an organization that has already adopted Microsoft's suite of services, then an Azure certification will put you ahead of most job applicants. Oftentimes, the companies that want their employees to earn an Azure certification are in the consulting business, meaning that they are primary service providers or agencies that carry out implementation for other companies. They tend to favor certifications because certifications help “prove to their clients that they have the expertise that’s needed.”

Benefits of an AWS Certification

Organizations big and small are migrating their infrastructure to the cloud, especially to AWS, the cloud market share leader. AWS certifications have a longer period of validity before expiration than Azure certifications do, and they require a considerable amount of IT training through virtual instructor-led training as well as exam preparation. Therefore, earning an AWS certification can be more valuable than a college degree at many enterprises. In fact, AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate is the number-one certification program according to Forbes. With a median salary of $139,529, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect certificate is the highest-paying IT certification.

Understanding these differences and the types of certifications available is the first step toward a career in the cloud computing industry. Learn more about how your organization can take advantage of the leading technologies through ExitCertified’s wide range of virtual IT training courses.

Since 2001, ExitCertified has been a leading provider of 100% vendor-approved IT training programs. Learn the top IT skills companies are looking for in order to address and overcome technical challenges along their digital transformation journey.