Azure vs AWS – from the Performance Engineering World

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are the two leaders in cloud computing. This article illustrates the key differences between AWS and Azure from a performance testing angle.

Compute Power:

AWS: AWS EC2 users can configure their own VMs or choose pre-configured machine images, or customize MIs. Users choose size, speed, memory capacity and number of Virtual Machines, and choose from different regions and available zones to launch them from.

Azure: Azure users choose Virtual Hard Disk (VHD), which is equivalent to a Machine Instance, to create a Virtual Machine. Virtual Hard Disk can be pre-configured by Microsoft, the user or a third party. The user must specify the amount of cores and memory.


AWS: AWS has temporary storage that is designated, once an instance is started and destroyed when it is terminated. They also provide block storage (same as hard disks), that can be attached or detached to an instance. Object storage is offered with S3; and data archiving can be done using services of Glacier. It fully supports relational and NoSQL databases and Big Data.

Azure: Azure provides temporary storage through D drive and block storage through Page Blobs for VMs. Object storage is served by Block blob. Azure supports relational databases; NoSQL and Big Data through Azure Table and HDInsight. Azure also supports site recovery, Import Export and Azure Backup for additional archiving and recovery options.


AWS: Amazon offers Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), so users can build isolated networks within the cloud. Within a VPC, AWS provides services of create subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges, and network gateways.

Azure: Microsoft offers Virtual Network (VNET) that offers users ability to create isolated networks; it also provides services of subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges and network gateways. Both Azure and AWS offer solutions to extend the on premise data centre into the cloud and firewall option.

Pricing Models:

AWS: Amazon charges as per customer usage (per hour basis, fixed price for longer duration, etc.); they have a pay-as-you-go model. Instances are purchasable on the following models:

– On demand: Pay for what you use

– Reserved: Instances can be reserved for 1 or 3 years with upfront cost based on use

– Spot: Customers bid for extra capacity available

Azure: Microsoft’s pricing is similar to AWS and has a pay-as-you-go model; however they charge per minute, which provides a more exact pricing model. Azure also provides short term commitments with the option between pre-paid or monthly charges.

Support Plans:

AWS: Pricing is determined by a sliding scale tied to monthly usage, so your bill could be quite high if you use AWS heavily.

Azure: Users are billed a flat monthly rate.

Integrations and Open Source:

AWS: Amazon has a better relationship with the open source community; thus there are more open source integrations available in this platform, including Jenkins and GitHub. It is also user friendly to Linux servers.

Azure: If you’re already using Windows development tools such as VBS, SQL database, Active Directory, Azure offers native integration for these tools. For example, use the same AD accounts you currently have to sign into Office 365 or Azure SQL instances. Azure is also good for .net developers. When it comes to open source, Microsoft hasn’t always embraced the model very well, but Azure is catching up – organizations can now run Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Apache Hadoop clusters in Azure.

While we herein compared Azure and AWS from a performance standpoint, there is no clear winner in this battle of cloud service providers as organizations have the liberty of choosing the most attractive features from each of these cloud service providers to enable a multi-cloud strategy. Azure is great when it comes to hybrid cloud and integrating with Microsoft stack of products, whereas AWS has more flexibility and extra features. Companies that need high availability and resilience should consider multiple-data centre hostings. Attempting to compare Azure and AWS is extremely difficult as both continue to launch new pricing structure, new products and new integrations. The decision to choose either of the platforms will depend on the custom needs of organizations to see which one is a better fit. The users are likely to be the big winners in this healthy competition as both providers lure them with expanded offerings at economical costs. In short if your firm runs Windows and a lot of Microsoft software, you’ll probably want to investigate Azure. If you are looking for a provider with the broadest catalogue of services and worldwide reach, AWS will probably be right for you.

About the Author

Vijay Chaurasia

Vijay Chaurasia

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