AWS vs Azure: Key Differences in 2021

22 September 2021 at 10:00 by ParTech Media - Post a comment

Cloud computing has unfurled its potential and has become a household name in 2021. With the pandemic coming into the picture, the adoption of cloud computing has increased even further. A study shows that cloud computing experienced a growth of 6.3% in 2020 and still continuing to show promising growth. Enterprises, having realized that remote working will be the new norm, are no longer reluctant to push their data and workload into the cloud.

When it comes to the cloud, there are quite a number of good providers in the market. The most popular ones being AWS from the house of Amazon and Azure from Microsoft. Both AWS and Azure are way ahead of the competition offering diverse services that make enterprises hooked onto them. Research by Synergy group and Canalysn shows that AWS and Azure combined account for 50% of total cloud infrastructure services spent worldwide. This trend is further expected to go higher since investments and innovations are pouring into the development of these two platforms.

Now the million-dollar question is which one do you pick.

Of course, it depends on the needs and budget. Most enterprises need a provider that offers all the required services within their allocated budget and also throws in some add-ons that would further help them with their work.

In this post, we have compared both these platforms extensively on multiple factors, helping you decide the right one for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Popularity
  2. Cloud Type
  3. Pricing Model
  4. Virtualization
  5. Content Delivery Network
  6. Security
  7. Load Balancing
  8. Big Data and AI Integrations
  9. Verdict


AWS enjoyed a clear dominance over other global cloud provider platforms by generating 37% more revenue in this quarter of 2021 more than its preceding quarter. Also when it comes to adoption, SMBs prefer AWS as their preferred choice.

Azure, on the other hand, has generated a staggering 23% in this quarter of 2021 compared to its previous quarter last year and is planning to open more data centers around the world.

Cloud Type

AWS is a virtual private cloud. A virtual private cloud is an isolated and secure private cloud hosted within a public cloud. Azure, on the other hand, is a virtual network(Vnet). VNet is your gateway to the private cloud in Azure. VNet is the same private network that you would operate in your own data center but that is coupled with Azure’s scalability, integration, and availability features.

Pricing Model

AWS supports the pay-per-hour pricing model, which charges users on an hourly basis for the usage of services. Azure supports the pay-as-you-go model, which charges users solely on the basis of usage of resources. It is more like your utility bills(like electricity) where you are charged based on power/resource consumption.


Virtualization is the crux of cloud computing and these two providers embrace virtualization to a great extent. AWS uses EC2(Elastic Compute Cloud) which is basically a web service that provides users with scalable compute capacity in the cloud. With EC2 virtualization, you are in charge of the environment, the kind of processor, operating system, storage, networking, and purchase model.

Azure uses virtual machines which provide a virtual environment to deploy and store apps in the cloud, test new operating systems, and run software applications on operating systems that were not originally intended to. It offers great scaling for high loads of data especially in scenarios such as the start of a product launch event. User requests and content delivery takes place from edge servers which reduce traffic to the origin server, rendering a seamless data experience to the users.

Content Delivery Network

AWS leverages the Amazon Cloudfront which is a fast content delivery network to transmit data, videos, and APIs globally with low latency and at faster rates within a secured environment. Amazon Cloudfront offers advanced security measures including field-level encryption and HTTPS support to transmit data all over the world.

The Azure content delivery network offers developers a robust delivery network to handle high bandwidth content by caching data at PoPs(Point of Presence) nodes around the world.


AWS supports the approach of centralized access for permissions, wherein a single credential is used to access resources across the system.

Azure supports the role-based access approach wherein the access rights are confined to select roles. For example, admin, super admin, and network administrator.

Centralized access for permission is more secure than role-based access, as in the latter, due to the access availability to a handful of people, there might be a data leak which can cost a lot to the organization.

Load Balancing

AWS uses Elastic load balancing to redirect and distribute traffic across multiple EC2 instances, IP addresses, and virtual containers all within a single availability zone or multiple availability zones. Elastic load balancing offers security and scalable features to make your application fault-tolerant. It offers four types of load balancers, each serving its specific purpose.

  1. Application load balancer
  2. Network load balancer
  3. Classic load balancer
  4. Gateway load balancer

Azure uses the Azure load balancing to distribute large traffic across a group of backend servers and resources. Azure load balancer supports both inbound and outbound traffic to your cloud applications from both TCP and UDP connections. It also leverages health probes to keep track of the real-time traffic redirection status. The Azure load balancer uses the following load balancers to balance inbound and outbound traffic -

  1. Public load balancer
  2. Internal(private ) load balancer

BigData and AI Integrations

AWS is a more mature cloud environment for big data, data analytics, and other disruptive technologies integration. Azure is comparatively less mature for handling big data but its services are in constant progress and still improving. Both AWS and Azure have simplistic AI and ML analytics embedded in their cloud environment.


If an organization needs the best PaaS(Platform as a service) provider with Windows integration, then Azure should be your go-to choice. But if you are looking for IaaS(Infrastructure as a service) providers along with a diverse set of tools for handling cloud resources, then look no further than AWS.