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What are the differences between Azure and AWS?

Recent changes to how businesses operate mean that to provide consistent access to services and information, there is a need to move more applications and data to the cloud.

For most organisations, this means choosing a leading public cloud provider such as Microsoft (with Azure) and Amazon (with AWS).  On the surface, both are similar solutions and deciding which is the best option for your business means looking at both before making a final decision.

Virtual Machine Differences

With so much data being created by businesses faster processing is needed to avoid business disruption and ensure that applications perform consistently at their maximum levels.

Both AWS and Azure offer the ability to provision resource in minutes and scale those resources almost instantly if needed. If machines are no longer required, they can be paused.

Side by side, Azure and AWS are similar. AWS has services such as EC2, Elastic Beanstalk and AWS Lambda whilst Azure has Azure Virtual Machine, App Service, and Container service.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a scalable, pay-as-you-go compute solution in the cloud that can be resized depending on your business requirements by your IT team as and when required.

Azure Virtual Machines provide on-demand, secure, virtualised infrastructure. They offer the flexibility to deliver a wide range of computing solutions including development and testing, running applications, and extending your own data centre.


AWS and Azure both provide reliable storage services.

AWS offers various options: Simple Storage (S3), Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Elastic File System (EFS), Import/Export large volume data transfer service, Glacier archive backup and Storage Gateway, which integrates with on-premises environments.

Azure offers the core Azure Storage service, Azure Blob block storage, as well as Table, Queue and File storage. It also offers Site Recovery, Import Export and Azure Backup.

Both provide networking capabilities with automated load balancing and connectivity to on-premises systems as required.


Alongside reliability and accessibility, cost is a primary motivator behind businesses moving applications and infrastructure to the cloud.  In theory it is more cost effective not to need to manage and maintain hardware and support too can be outsourced to specialists.

Like for like, prices are comparable between AWS and Azure although differences will arise depending on your usage pattern and the initial process of planning your cloud deployment will usually indicate which platform better suits your budget.  Both AWS and Azure offer by-the-second pricing but direct comparisons between the two become complex due to factors such as volume discounts for enterprise users.

There are free introductory tiers on both Azure and AWS that allow you to trial services before committing.


AWS offers more features and can be configured with more customisation due to the wealth of third party integrations available, but this complexity does mean that greater specialist knowledge is required to effectively utilise the platform for all applications and infrastructure.

Users who are familiar with Windows may find that Azure offers an easier to use solution out of the box that does not require learning something new.   Integrating your Azure solution into an existing environment as a hybrid cloud is relatively simple.

AWS and Azure offer very similar capabilities so the choice between cloud solutions can often be very difficult and the final decision needs to be based on what your business needs are, your in-house skills, future plans and requirements of your users and customers.

No matter which cloud solution you ultimately decide to go with, if your migration to the cloud is carefully planned and managed, Azure and AWS both bring significant benefits to your business allowing greater flexibility and reduced costs.

If you would like to talk to one of the expert team at igroup about how we can help you decide between using Azure or AWS and would like more information about their differences contact us on 0203 697 0302.

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