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Comparing Windows Azure and AWS


The two entities that dominate the enterprise Cloud Computing landscape are undoubtedly Microsoft Windows Azure and Amazon Web Services. Though Google App Engine is maturing rapidly, I am not planning to cover it in this series. I may compare Windows Azure and Google App Engine in a separate article.

With the latest announcements from PDC, Microsoft is inching closer to Amazon Web Services to match the offerings. Windows Azure is also blurring the line between PaaS and IaaS by offering VM Role that enables businesses to bring their legacy applications to the Cloud. Microsoft is leveraging the leadership in the platform and tools by seamlessly integrating the Cloud with .NET and Visual Studio.

Amazon is a very credible player in the Cloud Computing space and enjoys the leadership position in the IaaS offerings. Their fast paced innovations ensure that they have a lead and help them differentiate from the competition. They have a very healthy ecosystem of partners and developers who build rich and complementary tools on AWS.

This series of articles attempts at comparing the Windows Azure Platform and Amazon Web Services. The objectives of this series are the following –

  • Provide objective comparison between the two
  • Enable enterprises and ISVs to take an informed decision
  • Avoid marketing speak and buzz words
  • Be neutral and unbiased in the approach

The following table provides a quick comparison of both the platforms.

Microsoft Windows Azure Platform and Amazon Web Services

Microsoft Windows Azure Platform and Amazon Web Services

Looking at the above, it is evident that these two stacks will go head-on to secure the mind share and market share. While Microsoft is moving some of the middleware components from BizTalk Server to Azure, Amazon is leveraging it’s payment mechanism and components for AWS. Windows Azure will be the most comprehensive PaaS offering once all the above components are delivered.

In the next few articles, I will be providing a detailed study of Compute and Storage offerings from these two players. Expect to see the following technologies to be covered:

  • Compute
  • Storage
    • Flexible Entities (Azure Tables / Amazon SimpleDB)
    • Blobs (Azure Blobs / Amazon S3)
    • Queues and Messages (Azure Queues / Amazon SQS)
    • Persistent Block Storage (Azure Drive / Amazon EBS)
    • Relational Database (SQL Azure / Amazon RDS)

The comparison study will cover the following factors –

  • Terminology
  • Size / Unit
  • Limitations
  • Pricing
  • Security
  • Language and Tools Support

Watch this space for the next part of the series where I will be covering Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud with Windows Azure Compute.

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Janakiram MSV heads the Cloud Infrastructure Services at Aditi Technologies. He was the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. In his current role, he leads a highly talented engineering team that focuses on migrating and managing applications deployed on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.
Janakiram is an industry analyst with deep understanding of Cloud services. Through his speaking, writing and analysis, he helps businesses take advantage of the emerging technologies. He leverages his experience of engaging with the industry in developing informative and practical research, analysis and authoritative content to inform, influence and guide decision makers. He analyzes market trends, new products / features, announcements, industry happenings and the impact of executive transitions.
Janakiram is one of the first few Microsoft Certified Professionals on Windows Azure in India. Demystifying The Cloud, an eBook authored by Janakiram is downloaded more than 100,000 times within the first few months. He is the Chief Editor of a popular portal on Cloud called www.CloudStory.in that covers the latest trends in Cloud Computing. Janakiram is an analyst with the GigaOM Pro analyst network where he analyzes the Cloud Services landscape. He is a guest faculty at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) where he teaches Big Data and Cloud Computing to students enrolled for the Masters course. As a passionate speaker, he has chaired the Cloud Computing track at premier events in India.
He has been the keynote speaker at many premier conferences, and his seminars are attended by thousands of architects, developers and IT professionals. His sessions are rated among the best in every conference he participates.
Janakiram has worked at the world-class product companies including Microsoft Corporation, Amazon Web Services and Alcatel-Lucent. Joining as the first employee of Amazon Web Services in India, he was the AWS Technology Evangelist. Prior to that, Janakiram spent 10 years at Microsoft Corporation where he was involved in selling, marketing and evangelizing the Microsoft Application Platform and Tools.