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AWS vs. Azure: Which is better for your career?

AWS vs. Azure: Which is better for your career?

Published by Programme B

Cloud computing is at its peak and is today synonymous with computing. Enterprises are shifting their operations to the cloud to leverage its immense benefits for ease of operations and faster scaling. Not forgetting how much impact cloud computing has had on the tech job market. With cloud computing as a key growth factor for businesses, service providers have come forward with unique service offerings with providers like AWS and AZURE leading the pack in terms of market share. Both AZURE and AWS certification training hold value in the job market. 

What is AWS

AWS, short for Amazon Web Services, is a cloud service platform launched in 2006 and is owned and managed by Amazon. It is a secured platform offering a wide range of cloud-based services, more than 175, to businesses from data centers across the globe. AWS offers both fixed and customizable solutions including data storage, management tools, networking technologies, analytics, deployment services, as well as emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IoT among others. 


These services are divided into three categories, PaaS (Platform as a service), SaaS (Software as a service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a service). AWS uses a pay-as-you-go payment model which makes its services cost-effective for users. 

What is Azure

Azure is a cloud service platform run and managed by Microsoft. Launched in 2010, Microsoft Azure has grown to be among the top cloud service providers in the space. Azure offers a wide range of services including computing, analytics, database management, networking, storage, as well as web and mobile development and deployment platform for the efficiency of operations and easy scalability. Azure employs a pay-as-you-go payment model without incurring initial capital costs. 

Like AWS, Azure’s service offerings are also divided into three categories including PaaS (Platform as a service), SaaS (Software as a service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a service). Azure boasts as the leading provider in hybrid deployments with its Azure Stack offering. The hybrid cloud platform allows customers to make use of Azure’s public software and hardware in their in-house data centers. Other popular services by Azure include Office 365 and Teams. 


AWS vs. Azure 

As the market leader commanding about 40% of the market share, AWS boasts of more than a million customers, more than 175 services offerings, and more than 76 availability zones in 24 geographical regions. It was also the first to be launched in 2006 and enjoyed some years of market dominance before other providers came on board. 

Azure, on the other hand, comes in second with a 33% command of the market share, an increase of more than 120k customers per month and more than 5 million service users. Azure was launched in 2010, four years after AWS launched its services.

Beyond what we have already seen in the short introduction, both AWS and Azure have some distinct similarities and differences as outlined below. 


  • Pricing 


Both AWS and AZURE have employed flexible pay-as-you-go pricing models which allow customers to tailor their packages by selecting only the services they need and paying only for what they use. Most customers find this scheme flexible and cost-effective because they can pick a service on-demand and implement it seamlessly without any upfront charge. 

The difference between the two is that AWS offers per-hour billing and yearly (or two or three years) packages while AZURE uses a perm-minute billing scheme with flexible monthly packages. This makes Azure somewhat cheaper compared to AWS in some instances. With increased capacity, however, Azure becomes costlier. 


  • Computation power 


Both AWS and Azure have similarly decent computational offerings. 

AWS features EC2, ECS, AWS Lambda, and the Elastic Beanstalk service. AWS allows developers to choose between configuring their virtual machines and defining its power, capacity, as well as the zone on which they will launch the VMs, using the pre-built machine images, or customizing their preference using the latest EC2 version.    

Azure offers Virtual Hard Disks, container services, and App Service.  that users can select from which is then customized by Microsoft, a third party, or by the users themselves. 


  • Storage 


In terms of storage, AWS offers S3 (Simple Storage Service), EBS, and Glacier. The S3 is based on data distribution where data is replicated in regional data centers to guarantee high availability while Glacier is for archive storage. AWS supports relational, NoSQL, and big data databases. 

Azure, on the other hand, offers Blob object storage on HDD as well as Storage Cool and Archive storage for archiving data. Like AWS, AZURE also supports relational, NoSQL, and big data databases. 


  • Database services 


Both AWS and AZURE support structured and unstructured database management tools. AWS offers Amazon RDS which supports Oracle, Microsoft SQL, Amazon Aurora, MySQL, and other database systems. AWS however excels in provisioning. 

AZURE has the AZURE SQL Server database which is SQL-based. It boasts of a friendlier interface. 


  • Networking 


AWS has the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) that allows customers to create independent networks within the cloud. 

Azure also gives its users a Virtual Network (VNET) that allows them to create remote networks. 

For both service providers, users can create subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges, and network getaways. Secondly, in both, users can integrate their in-house data centers with the cloud. 


  • Compliance 


Both AWS and AZURE give security a very high priority. AWS, having been in the space longer has a stricter access screening process. 

AWS manages several compliance programs in its infrastructure including ITAR, HIPAA, FIPS, DISA, CJIS, GxP, and others. It employs a shared responsibility model in which AWS takes care of its infrastructure’s security and compliance while the customer takes care of the security of its applications, databases, and operations. AWS has however made this achievable by availing several tools in AWS Security Hub. 

AZURE boasts of participating in more than 90 compliance programs in its infrastructure including ITAR, DISA, CJIS, FIPS, HIPAA, and others. AZURE also features a shared responsibility structure where its clients are responsible for the security of their operations, applications, and databases. 


  • Certifications and job market 


AWS enjoys dominance being that it owns a larger market share globally. Owing to its popularity, AWS Certifications carry a higher value. AWS certifications are earned in a hierarchy from beginners through to specialists therefore job prospects will greatly depend on one’s level of certification. 

AZURE enjoys a strong backing by its longstanding brand Microsoft. AZURE certifications offer a way for its users to strengthen their knowledge on in-house and hybrid data platforms as well as transition smoothly from a Microsoft background. More than 55% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted AZURE hence the job prospects after earning AZURE certification are great. 


  • Job market prospects 


Burning Glass projected the job market growth for AWS to increase to 45.6% in the next 10 years. AWS jobs’ median salary is estimated at $104,088 which is much higher than the average tech salary of $94,000. The most sought after AWS certifications by employers is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect

Burning Glass projected AZURE-related job growth to rise to 38.4% over the next ten years with the median salary falling at $100,868. For AZURE, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert certification happens to be among the most demanded. 


Both AWS have their unique offerings. While AWS seems to be ahead and established, AZURE has shown promising growth and has managed to gain quite a decent customer base over the years. 

AWS excels in terms of the many features it offers which translates to more flexibility and customization options for its clients. AZURE on the other hand boasts of offering the best hybrid cloud solutions along with seamless integration with Microsoft products.