There are a handful of other smaller items where Azure beats AWS. Microsoft makes its Azure disaster recovery plan available for customers to view (under the condition of a legally-binding non-disclosure agreement), for example. And Microsoft guarantees that any change to its service-level agreement (SLA) will be announced 90 days in advance. Its service health dashboard has a 60-day review; AWS's is about half that.
These may seem like minor details, but for enterprise customers Hilgendorf says they can be important. If the SLA on a critical service changes, a business wants to know about that as soon as possible to mitigate for it. Hilgendorf has found a number of customers using Azure as a backup to AWS too. Some users may not want to go all-in with a single provider, and Azure is a "good-enough" offering in the market to start using.
For rapid self-service provisioning and ability to scale up to massive levels, AWS has Azure beat. AWS has an innovative set of tools, such as its DynamoDB NoSQL database and its newly announced Lambda event-driven computing platform. AWS continues to lead the market with innovative new offerings in the cloud computing market, Hilgendorf says. Azure, has been playing catch-up to gain feature parity with AWS and has now started to attract enterprise attention to its cloud platform.
The dynamics between these two heavyweights of the IaaS market are changing constantly though. A few weeks ago one could have said AWS has a market-leading network of third-party apps in its Marketplace. But Azure recently announced a renewed effort to beef up its Azure marketplace. This could be an area Microsoft could exploit its broad partner network to take on AWS with. With Satya Nadella (who formerly led Microsoft's cloud computing division) now head of the entire company, Hilgendorf says Microsoft is in this for the long-haul.
AWS may have more to worry about than just Azure: Google Cloud Platform is turning into an enticing offering for cloud users as well. Hilgendorf plans to put the GCP through the same rigorous test he did with AWS and Azure to see where it stacks up. There are other providers like VMware, HP, Verizon, CenturyLink, Rackspace and many others customers can consider as well.
Hilgendorf says each customer should evaluate these cloud providers based on the criteria that are most important for their use case.
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