Microsoft Azure vs Amazon Web Services – Battle Field : Part 7

User-Friendliness, Pricing, Licensing and Support Plans.


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  • Amazon offers a bigger set of features and configurations. It offers a lot more power, flexibility, customization room for many third-party integrations. But there is a learning curve with AWS.
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  • Azure is much easier to use out of the box because it is a Windows platform and doesn’t require a learning curve. It’s also quite simple to integrate on-premises Windows servers with cloud instances to create a hybrid environment. Active Directory and databases are readily available in Azure.

Pricing Models

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  • Amazon has a pay-as-you-go model. Previously, AWS used to charge per hour, but effective October 2nd, 2017, AWS moved to per second charging with models like On demand (Pay for use with no upfront cost), Reserved (Reserved instance for 1 or 3 years with upfront cost based on use) and Spot.
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  • Azure’s pricing is also pay-as-you-go, but charge per minute, which provides a flexible pricing model and short term commitments with the option between pre-paid or monthly charges.


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  • Amazon offers multiple options for licensing in the cloud: Purchasing a new license or bring previously purchased licenses (BYOL), as part of their partnership with Microsoft. In this case, users can use Dedicated Hosts or Software Assurance to move their licenses to the cloud.
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  • Microsoft offers license mobility for qualifying application servers, but users must determine if their servers fit the requirements for mobility to avoid paying for extra licensing. Windows Server itself is NOT eligible (eg, running on-premises Windows Server with SQL server). If you spin up a VM in the cloud running the same stack, you will pay for two Windows server licenses since that license is charged per usage and not eligible for mobility. However, a SQL license is eligible, so you can use that to run SQL server in the cloud.

Support Plans

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  • Support Pricing is based on a sliding scale tied to monthly usage, which can potentially bring up bill quite high on heavy use.
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  • Azure Bills at a monthly flat rate.


AWS and Azure offer many similar capabilities, so it’s not necessarily a matter of one provider being “better” or “worse” than the other. It all depends on what your business needs. If you’re debating between AWS and Azure, we can help! Contact us to learn more.

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