Amazon AWS is the market share leader, but there are compelling benefits to Microsoft Azure, too

February 9, 2017

Tom Nikl

According to a quarterly analysis by Synergy Research Group, Amazon AWS holds a commanding 45% share of the worldwide public market for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). We know that 45% may not sound impressive, but it’s more than Microsoft, Google, and IBM’s share combined. Yes, combined.

Given that, it makes some sense that a lot of enterprises just assume Amazon AWS is the way to go when they architect their public cloud strategy. But, is that the right decision? Come to think of it… why has public cloud remained such a binary decision, with enterprises feeling they must pick just one?

Today, with the right cloud workload mobility solution, enterprises can easily use different clouds for different workloads based on pricing, performance, capacity, location, and more. And, sometimes those requirements change throughout a project, or even throughout the day, making it even more important to shift the cloud decision from “or” to “and”. So, in the spirit of building a more dynamic hybrid cloud and exploring all the options available, let’s talk about some ways enterprises might benefit by using Microsoft Azure:

Integrations

A huge volume of enterprise computing takes place on Windows servers. There are some unique advantages to running your servers within the cloud of the company who also builds those operating systems. Essential server management tasks like OS monitoring and thin provisioning of disks, for example, becomes incredibly seamless and saves IT both time and energy. Developing applications with .NET (which is owned by Microsoft) can be done while leveraging Microsoft’s SaaS development platform – Visual Studio Team Services – and easily deploy and test applications in Azure.

For building your hybrid cloud, Microsoft OMS (Operations Management Suite) is an Azure-native management tool that helps you manage and automate your workloads in a hybrid environment. OMS lets you manage all your workloads in a single management tool by allowing staff to execute automation actions both on-prem and in other clouds. Plus, the upcoming release of Azure stack for on-prem and co-lo datacenters, which creates an even more uniform environment across on-prem and cloud, will continue to bolster Azure’s support for hybrid cloud.

Cost

With Microsoft, you’re able to run your servers on Windows, your end user suite in Office 365, and your public cloud in Azure. In this case, you should also be able to negotiate some pretty good package pricing for leveraging so many of Microsoft’s services. In some cases, you might even qualify for free Azure credits in your enterprise license agreement. In addition to bundle pricing, though, Microsoft is aggressively pursuing Amazon’s public cloud market share, which could add special pricing promotions into the mix.

And, lastly, Azure charges by the minute, whereas Amazon charges by the hour. That means if you run a cloud instance for one minute, in Azure you pay for that minute but in Amazon you’ll pay for an entire hour! That could add up to significant savings if this occurred over a volume of servers.

Integrations and cost are two huge components of any enterprise’s cloud journey. And, though we’ve listed some potential advantages with Azure, we don’t want to just dismiss Amazon, either: they both have their own appeals. That’s why we think the real answer to ‘which cloud vendor should an enterprise use’ is probably ‘both’! Enterprises shouldn’t have to pick one cloud for all their needs, especially not in a world as dynamic as today.

So, the real solution is not to pick Azure or Amazon, but to use a cloud workload mobility solution that facilitates seamless usage of both, depending on your current need or circumstance. When evaluating cloud workload mobility, you’ll want to find a solution that delivers a few key capabilities, namely:

  • Integrated testing, so you can tune for performance and usage easily.
  • Automation for multi-tier applications and cloud instance adaptation.
  • Quick booting of workloads in the cloud, to avoid long wait times or down times.
  • Easy rollback to on-premises whenever needed.
  • Support for multiple cloud vendors, regions, and instance types.
  • Dynamic updates of cloud instance types when capacity or usage flexes.
  • Management via plug-in to your on-premises virtualization solution (as in, no new management consoles).

With a cloud workload mobility solution that can accomplish these capabilities, you can avoid binary decisions like ‘Amazon or Azure’ and instead focus on architecting the hybrid cloud that meets your exact requirements. Both clouds have important differentiators, and enterprises should be equipped to take advantage of them easily and seamlessly. If you’d like to learn more about how Velostrata delivers market-leading cloud workload mobility, be sure to check out this video of us migrating a large application into Azure or read this more in-depth white paper on how we work