AWS vs. Azure: Sizing Up the Heavyweights

Consider Managed IT Services when choosing a public cloud

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure have been duking it out for the title of best public cloud vendor for quite some time. While AWS still dominates the market, Azure has proved itself to be a worthy opponent and continues to garner support. Which cloud option is right for your organization? We’ve sized up each contender, so you’ll know where to put your money!

AWS vs Azure: Clients and Market Share

AWS was the first big name in cloud computing. Launched in 2006 with little fanfare as a mere side business for Amazon.com, it has since grown into the behemoth we know today. Leading the market, it boasts a client roster filled with heavy hitters like Netflix, NASDAQ, Dow Jones, and Airbnb.

Azure began its cloud journey in 2010, and despite AWS’s four-year head start, it is quickly closing the gap. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Amazon lost share in the public cloud business while Azure gained momentum; AWS posted a 62 percent market share, down from 68 a year earlier, while Azure jumped from 16 to 20 percent. While Azure may not have quite the same high-profile customers as AWS, it does have some very noteworthy names including Ford Motor Company, NBC News, and Easyjet.

AWS vs Azure: Implementation, Uptime, and Pricing

AWS’s overwhelming popularity has made it the go-to for many companies—along with the belief that only AWS can support a great number of users (the thought goes, “they’ve got Netflix, so of course they can support web scale applications). For Azure, its appeal often lies in its ease of set up; many organizations already use Microsoft products, which makes integration with Azure virtual machines a relative breeze.

Other comparisons are a bit harder to make; both strive for more than 99.95% uptime, and each offer credits if they’re not able to rise to the challenge. When it comes to pricing, it’s a bit of a moving target as both providers revise their pricing structure frequently to compete with one another. If one lowers their price, the other goes lower. Some experts have even described this situation as “a race to the bottom.” Of course, when price is lowered, one wonders if quality and support suffer as a result.

A Third Option: Managed IT Services

Some organizations have internal resources on hand to determine which IaaS provider is the best option for the business; they have the know-how to work through specifics regarding compute, capacity, storage, and other complexities, and can then manage it. Others, especially small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), don’t have experts on staff to make these determinations and handle the maintenance, or want staff focused on other aspects of the business; as a result, they’re turning to Managed IT Services.

With Managed IT Services, organizations delegate their operational and support duties to a cloud provider to eliminate hassles, and keep IT running smoothly. If this sounds ideal for your organization, here are some things to look for when selecting a Managed IT Services provider.

  • Cost. Avoid surprises by finding a provider offering a consistent, flat monthly rate.
  • Performance. AWS and Azure strive to maintain 99.95% uptime; you’ll want a Managed IT Services provider offering 99.99%. This may seem insignificant, but it can be the difference between minutes and hours of downtime each year.
  • Support. If you’re relying on a provider, make sure you have access to live, U.S.-based support 24/7 with fast response times. AWS and Azure offer support, but it may be offshore and response times may be slow. Think about it this way: if an SMB and Netflix are both on the phone, who’s going to take priority?
  • Security. Be sure your provider offers environmental health monitoring, preventative services, anti-virus protection, spam filtering, and patch management.

AWS and Azure will undoubtedly continue to compete for market share, making it difficult to keep up with who’s on top at any given moment. Just when it seems one has taken the lead with a capability or feature, the other matches—or surpasses it. With a Managed IT Services provider, you can step out of the ring completely and let a team of dedicated IT experts work toward the betterment of your business, offering support and advice along the way.

Miruma Protect Office 365 | DSM

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