How Does Azure Compare to AWS?

Problem scenario
You want to know what are some key differences between Azure and AWS.  You do not know where to begin.

Answer (Updated on 1/5/18.)
Advantages of Azure:  When you create a server, you have to click "Purchase."  AWS almost hides the monetary transaction from the process of creating a server.  Thus it is more clear that you will be billed for using an Azure server.  Azure is more friendly to Windows technologies.  Eliminating a server you created is done with a "Delete" button.  This is more clear that billing for the server will cease than a "Terminate" button in AWS.  When the server is ready to be created you are given .json files associated with the configuration options you just chose.  These .json files can be used with Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell, .NET code, or Ruby code to automate the deployment of a VM with its corresponding resource group, network security group, etc.  This lends itself to automation by giving you this option every time. 

You cannot use Minikube in AWS.  You can use it in Azure (or GCP).  For more information, see this posting.

Disadvantages of Azure:  Azure lacks the Linux-friendliness that the AWS online community has.  We believe that Azure benchmarking is not supposed to be published per Microsoft's rules.  Microsoft tends to have a legitimate reason given that there are different service tiers.  Some bloggers may not be diligent in signifying which resources and which service tiers were used in the testing (to ensure a scientific or apples-to-apples approach was taken.  For blogging purposes, you may have to be more careful with what you publish regarding Azure.  We believe benchmarking is allowed by Amazon for their AWS.  It may be difficult to find secondary sources comparing and contrasting AWS and Azure in detail because of the restriction that Microsoft imposes.

Neutral/Mixed differences:  AWS servers seem more secure overall.  One default setting that is contrary to this is that ICMP packets are turned off by default in Azure.  This is not the case in AWS. 

AWS servers require a .pem file to generate a .ppk file to ultimately connect to them.  AWS servers have Security Groups by default that restrict where someone can log in from.  Azure servers do not have these higher security features in place by default.  Inexperienced users may find Azure more simple to use and become comfortable with.  I.T. professionals with security concerns may prefer to rely on AWS.

Azure has different service tier resulting in different performance and prices for the instances.  Virtual servers in Azure with the most affordable tier will perform slower yet more inexpensively than to AWS instances with comparable flavors (relatively equal combinations of CPU and RAM amounts).  An example of the slowness would be automated operations or yum/apt operations.  The region of the AWS or Azure server may be a consideration relative to your location too.  An external website (https://blog.cinlogic.com/2017/02/26/aws-vs-azure-linux-virtual-machines/, which seems to have an invalid certificate as of 5/31/20) had more details on the comparison of AWS and Azure.  Ultimately there are so many different factors given the different service tiers in Azure, it is difficult to quickly compare it to AWS and conclude one is better for the money than the other.

For Google Compute Platform with Google Compute Engine has a policy that is not as privacy-oriented as other companies. "Google may include Customer’s name or Brand Features in a list of Google customers, online or in promotional materials." (This was taken from here.)

The above contrasts with Azure and AWS. The Microsoft Azure Agreement has this sentence: "We will not use Customer Data or derive information from it for any advertising or other commercial purposes without your consent." (This was taken from Azure's site here.)

Amazon's policy for AWS includes this portion: "Disclosure of customer content: We do not disclose customer content unless we’re required to do so to comply with the law or a valid and binding order of a governmental or regulatory body. Unless prohibited from doing so or there is clear indication of illegal conduct in connection with the use of Amazon products or services, Amazon notifies customers before disclosing customer content so they can seek protection from disclosure." This was taken from Amazon's site.

For more in-depth research, here are some other links:

http://www.computerworlduk.com/it-vendors/microsoft-azure-vs-amazon-aws-public-cloud-comparison-which-cloud-is-best-for-enterprise-3624848/

https://stackify.com/azure-vs-aws-comparison/

http://www.tomsitpro.com/articles/azure-vs-aws-cloud-comparison,2-870.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-amazon-is-so-hard-to-topple-in-the-cloud-and-where-everybody-else-falls-2017-7

https://www.cloudcomputing-news.net/news/2016/sep/06/aws-vs-azure-it-pros-weigh-pros-and-cons/

http://www.parkmycloud.com/blog/azure-vs-aws-2017/

http://resource.onlinetech.com/key-differences-between-aws-and-microsoft-azure/

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