Cloud Wars: Windows Azure vs. Amazon AWS, an IaaS perspective

During our recent Tellago Technology Update about cloud platforms, we received a number of questions related to equivalent capabilities in the Windows Azure and Amazon AWS platforms. That’s right, although Windows Azure is positioned as a Platform as a Service(PaaS), the fact of the matter is that there it includes many Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS) capabilities that are comparable to the Amazon AWS stack.

Given how often I see customers struggle to get an accurate evaluation of the capabilities of the different cloud platforms, I’ve decided to start a series of blog posts that compare and contrast the feature set of different cloud technology stacks.

From all the different cloud platforms in the current market, the comparison between Windows Azure and Amazon AWS seems to be at the top of the list of most Microsoft customers. The reason is pretty obvious, Amazon AWS is the clear dominant force in the IaaS market but Windows Azure brings a unique value proposition that combines IaaS, PaaS together with the deep integration with on-premise Microsoft technologies.

I think the following table might help illustrate the equivalent capabilities in both platforms.

Capability

Windows Azure Technology

Amazon AWS Technology

Data Storage

   

Binary Data Storage

Blob Storage

S3

NOSQL Database

Table Service

SimpleDB

Relational Database

SQL Azure

Relational Database Service

Messaging

   

Queuing

Windows Azure Queues

Windows Azure AppFabric Queues

Simple Queue Service

Pub-Sub, Notifications

Windows Azure AppFabric Topics

Simple Notifications Service

Computing

   

Virtualization

Windows Azure Web, Worker and VM Roles

Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2)

Content Delivery

   

Content Delivery Service

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CloudFront

Networking

   

Traffic Management

Traffic Manager

Route 53

Private Networks

Windows Azure Connect

Direct Connect

Identity

   

Identity Management

Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Service

Identity and Access Management Services

In subsequent posts, we will start deep diving into specific comparisons of each one of these capabilities.

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