In order to grasp the differences between Microsoft Azure and Amazon EC2, it’s essential to first understand the basics of cloud computing. Cloud-based computing involves storing files on an Internet server instead of storing them on the hard drive of a computer. Because they don’t need to be stored on a server within the users’ office, the files may be accessed from anywhere a computer is used.
Since many companies have large amounts of information stored on computers, the need for memory is essential. Cloud computing removes the need to install dedicated software to the computer, thereby reducing the amount of memory needed. Microsoft Azure cloud-based computing offers a virtual server for loading software. It may be managed by accessing it through a Web browser. This form of cloud-based computing is known as platform as a service.
Unlike Microsoft Azure cloud computing, Amazon EC2 uses infrastructure as a service. This provides clusters, grids or virtual servers as well as storage, systems, software, and networks that take the place of data centres. Amazon EC2 and Azure are both marketers of applications through independent software vendors or “ISVs.” The difference is that EC2 features enterprise applications and Azure features work-group sized user groups.
Microsoft Azure is considered more accessible to developers who are familiar and Visual Studio. Although this is simpler for Windows developers to use, the applications they can port to are limited. Amazon EC2 offers Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. However, they have requirements for storage and developers must consider the computing time and bandwidth the applications will necessitate.
Both EC2 and Microsoft Azure cloud computing technologies allow the expansion of the virtual machines or VMs used for applications – both in number and power. Azure uses a pay-as-you-go system for the number of virtual machines needed for the application allowing the number to be changed using a management console. EC2 uses Elastic Compute Units (ECUs), which include storage or elastic block stores (EBS) and Amazon Machine Images. The performance is equivalent to 32- or 64-bit processors.
Some users say the EC2 is more costly, although it can be economically worthwhile for small projects. However, there have been some complaints about the cost of Azure as well. The costs are actually similar with a few exceptions. Microsoft Azure offers only a per database pricing. EC2 provides MySQL, a full database, which is not as expensive as the SQL Azure does offer a package available for a monthly fee, resulting in a 50% savings off the regular prices. Instances purchased from one to three years are available from EC2, which can save 37% to 50% if used for the entire period purchased.
Microsoft has been more careful in an effort to ascertain the development of this new technology. They believe as some analysts do also, that consumers want files stored on site. The future of cloud computing remains to be seen. Nonetheless, with the differences explained here, users interested in this technology should be able to make the choice between EC2 and Microsoft Azure cloud computing.
John Abrams is a Microsoft Office expert and he has been working in the technology industry for the last 5 years. As a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as office.com/setup