Microsoft Azure Vs. Amazon Web Services: Which Cloud Service Is Right for Your Business Applications?

Dan Carpenter
August 28, 2017
6 min read
Moving IT services to the cloud
IT cloud services, database, networking, email, and more. Let’s nip this in the bud. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are both top providers of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), but neither is the be-all and end-all for every business. Both cloud services offer very similar computing, storage, and networking services, and help businesses reduce their total cost of ownership. So how do you know which cloud system is right for you? Don’t get caught up on trying to figure out which service provider is the best. You should ask, “Which cloud service is best for my business?” The cloud service you choose should be based on your use case scenarios. You’ll want to consider these three things:
  1. The infrastructure, platforms, and software your business is currently using
  2. What systems you want to host in-house or move to the cloud
  3. Your industry’s compliance requirements
Let’s dig into these important points.

1. Your IaaS decision should be based on your business’s processes and applications.

For companies wanting to move to the cloud, legacy systems will play a big factor in deciding the path you choose.
Azure: Plays Nice With Other Microsoft Systems
Businesses currently using software systems based on Microsoft platform technologies (Office 365, Windows, Active Directory, etc.) will find that Azure has a lot to offer. Familiar system administration tools such as Active Directory and PowerShell are core components of Azure, and all of the major infrastructure components are well integrated. Impact on users as a result of migrating from a local Microsoft environment to Azure cloud infrastructure is minimal.
AWS: Powerful Customization and Third-Party Application Support
If compatibility with current systems isn’t a concern, then the possibilities are wide open. AWS offers more room for flexibility and customization, and supports most third-party applications. It is a great option for growing businesses that provide online services to their clients. Whether you just need archival cloud storage at a low price or an entire infrastructure that can grow with your company, AWS can be configured to your needs.

2. Figure out what systems you need hosted in the cloud.

Moving IT services to the cloudMoving to the cloud doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario, and depending on what features you need, you can leverage a hybrid of AWS and Azure hosted solutions, as well as local systems. Before you start your transition, know what you want your technology environment to ultimately look like. Do you want more accessible business tools running off the cloud? Do you just need basic virtual servers, storage space, and databases? You’ll want to choose the system that best aligns with your present and future needs.
Azure: Host Your Microsoft Ecosystem
The latest messaging and collaboration tools enable users to be more productive than ever before. Microsoft provides an industry-leading advantage with Microsoft Office 365. It comes with features like email hosting (Outlook), file sharing (SharePoint), and other collaborative business productivity tools (Teams) that naturally integrate with Azure systems.
AWS: Built for Scalability
Amazon is ripe for cloud based applications that can scale and works great for companies building their own cloud services. It provides massive amounts of data storage at a low cost, is ideal for long term storage, and offers a large amount of scalability for future growth.

3. Check for industry compliance capabilities and compatibility with your 3rd party applications.

Systems and compliance regulations are always changing, so it’s important to consult a professional to get the most up-to-date solution. This is especially the case for businesses in the healthcare, engineering, and financial industries. No cloud service will automatically be compliant, and your 3rd party applications will need to be properly configured by an experienced IT professional.
Azure: 56 Compliance Certificates
Microsoft offers 56 certificates for compliance including HIPAA, HITECH, HITRUST, CJIS, ITAR, DFARS, DoD, GxP, FedRAMP, FERPA, and FIPS. Features like Active Directory and Windows Mobility and Security go a long way for identity management and access control. Microsoft also offers Active Directory Domain Services for on-premises customers.
AWS: 51 Compliance Certificates
Amazon offers 51 certificates for compliance including HIPAA, HITECH, CJIS, ITAR, DoD, FedRAMP, FERPA, and FIPS. Using features like Amazon Virtual Private Cloud and Identity Access Management gives admins full control over their cloud environment.

How to decide whether AWS or Azure is right for your business

Most companies find that a gradual transition makes sense and often end with a balanced hybrid solution of on-premise and cloud systems. You may want to keep certain systems on-premise if you:
  • Frequently edit large files that need great local computing power
  • Are more comfortable storing confidential information inside your own walls
  • Prefer capital expenditures (CapEx) over operational expenses (OpEx)
It all depends on your business needs, and consulting a professional will help you align your IT infrastructure and IT strategy with your business needs and business strategy. Need help digging further into the details of AWS, Azure, and determining which cloud system is best for your business? We offer IT management services that help clients transition to the cloud while staying industry compliant. Get in touch with one of our IT professionals to learn more.

Meet Dan Carpenter


As the President of IT Services, Dan provides excellent leadership to his team of over 170 technology professionals. He plays a large role in mentoring his team, helping individuals achieve career goals, and providing quality solutions to our customers.

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