Evaluating Cloud Vendor capabilities

This is going to be series of posts over next month or two.

No two clouds are alike. Trying to compare AWS and Azure is prone to errors and opens up the analysis to criticism. But, it is an useful exercise to do to understand how both vendors approach the market. Ideally, I would have liked to include Google Cloud. Due to time constraints and lack of clear information, I am skipping it for now. Perhaps, I will look at it at a later time.

AWS and Azure use different taxonomy. AWS approaches Cloud as a new environment and thus how best to deliver services optimized for it. Azure approaches the Cloud as a next step in the evolution of enterprise IT. Both of these view points make sense. The more enterprises break with the past and aggressively embrace Cloud, the more attractive AWS becomes to them. For Azure to succeed, enterprises would have to prefer a step by step migration to Cloud. Both are large markets.

Here is the approach I took for this post. I started with AWS list of categories, and then tried to map Azure services into them. I found couple of places where Azure categories made more sense and since they did not exist under AWS, I added them. Next, I took the liberty of further organizing these products into 3 groups by users. They are: Infrastructure, Operations and Application Developers.

Here are the different products/service types organized under these groups.

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Here are quick observations for each:

Infrastructure products/services are more mature of the 3 categories. This is also an area where you have roughly similar capabilities between AWS and Azure. You couldn’t go wrong choosing one over another long term.

Operations is an area where there is a difference. For a traditional enterprise with existing apps and environment, Microsoft shines over AWS. AWS is attractive to startups or organizations taking fresh approach to Cloud.

From a pure Cloud perspective, AWS has completeness of offerings in the Operations. For ex: their security & Identity offerings and management tools are more comprehensive.

In enterprise apps, Microsoft holds a clear edge with Office 365. ( Interestingly, Azure marketing seems to ignore the existence of O365 ).

Enterprises looking for a smooth migration to Cloud, Azure is a great fit. Enterprise looking to innovate at the rate of their industry leaders, AWS is a great fit.

App Development is an area where AWS shines. AWS used developers as entry point and thus built targeted products/services.

My guess is that this advantage may be short lived. Microsoft has very good developer audience and they will be a fast follower. The challenge for Azure is going to be carrying existing set of .NET developers to Cloud. Its a non trivial challenge, but believe Microsoft has the DNA to solve it.

I will explain these observations in following posts. Again, throw darts, disagree etc.

Parody + Tech commentary.

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