AWS vs. Azure: battle of the cloud titans

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the ultimate cloud showdown! In the red corner, we have Amazon Web Services (AWS), and in the blue corner, the challenger, Microsoft Azure. Today’s match revolves around the critical decision businesses face in the ring of cloud migration and modernization. It is not just a matter of choosing a Cloud Service Provider, but understanding the financial punches thrown by each contender. Get ready for a ringside view as we break down the costs and compare them! 

At the press conference, boxer Azure directs his attention directly to the journalists: “You use Microsoft components, so I am able to offer more competitive pricing!” The reporters are captivated by Azure’s compelling message, assuming that opting for the Microsoft stack makes Azure the natural choice.  

But here comes Amazon Web Services (AWS). He grabs the microphone from Azure’s hand. “I heard that bold claim too many times,” he says, with the calmness you expect from a champion. “You cannot accurately compare costs without taking Microsoft’s licensing into account and optimize around it.” 

“But my promoter offers Azure Hybrid Benefit combined with Software Assurance!” Azure spits out and thrusts his finger in AWS’s face. 

“Speaking of the sad demise of Software Assurance…”, the multi-time champion begins his sentence. But before the situation explodes, the PR people end the press conference. As the reporters stow away their notebooks, you can see doubt on their faces. Who should they believe? The boxing match will have to provide clarity… 

Case study: AWS vs. Azure in the ring 

We also wanted to make an objective comparison between AWS and Azure. To achieve that, we did not resort to theoretical models, but instead sat down with a client to discuss how to best meet their needs. Our customer wished to improve performance by migrating a software platform running on Windows from a private cloud to a public cloud environment. The private cloud was unable to meet performance requirements, which led to a series of problems: disgruntled users, decreased productivity, and support desk overload.  

To resolve the problems, we compared two public cloud infrastructure options and evaluated them in a Proof-of-Concept: AWS and Azure. Firstly, we concluded that both cloud service providers realize a much higher performance than the private cloud, and both meet the performance requirements. Our decision revolved around the question where to migrate to: AWS or to Azure? Evaluation criteria included performance, price-performance ratio, and the opportunity for modernization. 

The outcome? AWS outperformed Azure, so the company decided to migrate to AWS. 

  • Comparing the performance differences on AWS and on Azure, when using instances with identical numbers and CPU core types with equal memory capacity, revealed that AWS delivered twice the performance Azure did. 
  • Even with only half the CPU cores and memory capacity, AWS still performed a remarkable 36% better compared to the original Azure counterparts twice its size.  
  • With half the size, the infrastructure and Windows license fees were substantially lower at AWS as compared to Azure. Running on AWS proved to be 54% more cost-effective than on Azure. 

Claiming victory with AWS 

As the bell rings for the final round, the evidence speaks for itself. AWS emerges as the undisputed champion, delivering superior performance at a fraction of the cost. The key takeaways? 

Migrating to AWS not only boosted the platform’s performance by a factor of 4 as compared to the private cloud, but also by 136% as compared to Azure – at only 46% of the cost. This translated into an impressive 300% higher performance per dollar spent on AWS as compared to Azure. 

Do you also want to be a cloud champion? Get in touch, and let’s strategize the winning move for your organization.  

Would you like a broader picture of cloud costs and related issues first? In our new white paper, we offer in-depth insights into the strategic considerations, best practices, and steps required to optimize your cloud infrastructure. Download your copy of “Uncovering Cloud Cost Savings: A Closer Look at Licenses and Resources” here. 

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