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Take my cloud … please


cloud platforms black icons 300x330-300-58kb.jpg

This article compares the various cloud services platforms: Amazon AWS vs. Google Cloud Platform vs. IBM Softlayer vs. Microsoft Azure vs. Rackspace. These are the biggest ones.

Major multi-cloud vendors include Oracle, SalesForce Heroku, SkyTap.

Software for private clouds include Red Hat OpenStack and VMWare.

Software for hybrid include CloudFoundry, Hashicorp Terraform, and others.

Advantages of Cloud

Evaluations can be based on the 6 advantages of cloud:

  1. Trade capital expense for variable expense (conserve cash)
  2. Benefit from massive economies of scale (leverage experts who can focus on difficult issues)
  3. Stop guessing about capacity (over-provisioning)
  4. Increase speed and agility (big team of experts working on innovations)
  5. Stop spending money running and maintaining data centers “friends don’t let friends build data centers”
  6. Expand and go global in minutes (time consuming and dangerous to do on your own)

PROTIP: Memorize the above list for exams.

Amazon’s “Well Architected” notes the constraints removed by being in the cloud:

  • Test production at scale
  • Make experimentation easier (overcome fear of change)
  • Allow architecture to evolve (rather than being frozen in time)

TL;DR - The biggest differences

The perspective of an individual is not to select a cloud vendor, but to select the cloud vendor which provides the best career prospects. Here’s my logic:

  • If you write in C# on .NET (and want to continue leveraging that experience), Azure is the natural choice. (But other clouds are trying to support Windows.)
  • If you’re looking to get a job in cloud, go for AWS because of its current market share. AWS has the most sophisticated authentication and database services.
  • If you’re running really large loads, Google offers fast fiber networks that don’t limit what large machines can achieve. Plus Google is ahead in Machine Learning with its popular Tensorflow in Python.
  • Google’s SSD drives are expensive, though needed for speed.

  • IBM has bare-metal machines, if that’s your thing.
  • Increasingly, companies doing business in a particular country are required to keep data within a cloud data center within that country (such as Google in Belgium).

EDITOR’s NOTE: This is not a complete treatment. Additional information will be added over time.

cloud-compare-364x172 http://cloudcomparison.rightscale.com presents all the details well. DOCS So here I’m adding additional commentary here.


Factor AWS EC2 Azure
Initial appearance 2006 2010
Granularity of billing per hour per minute
Entrepreneurial Discount - BizSpark
# Data centers 24 100
# zones 33 100
Largest server x1.32xlarge G:
Largest # cores 128 32
Largest RAM GB 1,952 GB 448 GB

PROTIP: Moving up to double the RAM or cores usually does not yield a doubling of capacity due to overhead and limits in shared components such as networking.


Even though cloud vendors provide a great deal of transparency to how they price their services, there are so many variables to what affects the final bill that the only accurate way is to actually run services.

  • AWS has matched Azure pricing, and also per-minute billing.

Cowan analysis May 2016 (using 1.0 as average among vendors) rated Amazon 1.37 (above avarge) in prices (most expensive). Microsoft was rated the leader in price and APIs, but the lowest in support.

QUESTION: Is the comparison based on spot instances in AWS, which are of low cost because they can be taken away at any moment by someone who outbids.

Market share

Amazon had an early lead in 2006 and has maintaing its lead even though Microsoft and Google are growing fast as well with 50%+ annual growth* aws-onboarding-cloud-growth-441x272.jpg


Operating Systems in the cloud

As of May 2016, Microsoft Azure works with SUSE and Oracle, but not Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

Amazon provides software to host whatever OS is put into images. But its free server images are based on CentOS. Amazon is working on “Linux2”.

Network speed

To compare network speeds:

  • http://cloudping.info measures current ping speed to various regions on Amazon’s EC2 cloud. Scroll down to click “HTTP Ping” to begin collection to a running line graph:


    https://ping.varunagw.com/aws.htm provides green, yellow, red colors with Mean, Median, Min, and Max statistics based several measures of the speed to each EC2 region.

    Amazon’s own EC2 Reachability Test does not provide ping speeds, only a green icon when it can be reached at any speed.

  • http://http://www.azurespeed.com measures current ping speed to various regions on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. To stop collection, click “uncheck all” or individual regions of interest:


  • http://www.gcping.com measures current ping speed to various regions on Google’s cloud. To stop collection, press the dot with the arrow.


Here are the names of brand names, some with links to marketing or documentation pages:

Microsoft AzureAmazon Web Services (AWS)Google
Data center geography Azure Regions global infrastructure -
Compute ServicesVirtual Machines (VMs) EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) -

Cloud Services
Azure Websites and Apps
Elastic Beanstalk -

Azure Visual Studio OnlineNone -
Container SupportDocker Virtual Machine Extension (how to)EC2 Container Service Kubernetes
Scaling OptionsAzure Autoscale (how to)AutoScaling -
Analytics/Hadoop OptionsHDInsight (Hadoop)Elastic MapReduce (EMR) -
Government ServicesAzure GovernmentGovCloud -
App/Desktop ServicesAzure RemoteAppWorkSpaces
Amazon AppStream
Storage OptionsAzure Storage (Blobs, Tables, Queues, Files)S3 (SimpleStorage) -
Block StorageAzure Blob Storage (how to)Elastic Block Storage (EBS) -
Hybrid Cloud StorageStorSimpleNone -
Backup OptionsAzure BackupGlacier Coldline
Storage ServicesAzure Import Export (how to)ImportExport -

Azure File Storage (how to)StorageGateway -

Azure Site RecoveryNone -
Content Delivery Network (CDN )Azure CDNCloudFront -
Database OptionsAzure SQL Database RDS (Relational Database Service)
NoSQL Database OptionsAzure DocumentDB DynamoDB BigTable

Azure Managed Cache (Redis Cache) ElasticCache -
Data OrchestrationAzure Data Factory DataPipeline -
Networking OptionsAzure Virtual Network VPC -

Azure ExpressRouteAWS Direct Connect -

Azure Traffic ManagerAmazon Route 53 -
Load BalancingLoad Balancing for Azure (how to)ELB (Elastic Load Balancing) -
Administration & SecurityAzure Active Directory DirectoryService
IAM (Identity and Access Management)
Multi-Factor Authentication
MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) -
Azure Operational Insights CloudTrail -

Azure Application Insights CloudWatch -

Azure Event Hubs None
MessagingAzure Notification Hubs SNS (Simple Notification Service) -
EncryptionAzure Key Vault KMS (Key Management Service) -
ComplianceAzure Trust Center CloudHSM (Hardware Security Module) -
Management Services & OptionsAzure Resource Manager CloudFormation -
API ManagementAzure API Management None -
AutomationAzure Automation OpsWorks -

Azure Batch
Azure Service Bus
SQS (Simple Queue Service) -

CodeDeploy -

Azure Scheduler SWF (Simple Workflow) -
SearchAzure Search CloudSearch -
AnalyticsAzure Stream Analytics Kinesis -
Email ServicesAzure BizTalk Services SES (Simple Email Services) -
Media ServicesAzure Media Services ElasticTranscoder
Voice RecognitionAzure Machine Learning Machine-LearningSageMaker -
Translation? ? -
Text Analytics? ? -
Machine Learning (ML)Azure Machine Learning Machine-LearningSageMaker -
Computer VisionComputer VisionFace Rekognition -
Video camera? $249 DeepLens -
Triggers Logic Apps AWS Lambda -

None AWS Config -
Billing? Billing -

Credit: TomsITPro and Microsoft’s comparison


IBM Bluemix

http://downdetector.com/status/aws-amazon-web-services provides 3rd-party crowd-source status.

“Understanding the Difference Between Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS” by veteran Pluralsight video presenter Elias Khanser, a Microsoft MVP

More on DevOps

This is one of a series on DevOps:

  1. DevOps_2.0
  2. ci-cd (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery)
  3. User Stories for DevOps

  4. Git and GitHub vs File Archival
  5. Git Commands and Statuses
  6. Git Commit, Tag, Push
  7. Git Utilities
  8. Data Security GitHub
  9. GitHub API
  10. TFS vs. GitHub

  11. Choices for DevOps Technologies
  12. Java DevOps Workflow
  13. AWS DevOps (CodeCommit, CodePipeline, CodeDeploy)
  14. AWS server deployment options

  15. Digital Ocean
  16. Cloud regions
  17. AWS Virtual Private Cloud
  18. Azure Cloud Onramp
  19. Azure Cloud
  20. Azure Cloud Powershell

  21. Packer automation to build Vagrant images
  22. Terraform multi-cloud provisioning automation

  23. Powershell Ecosystem
  24. Powershell on MacOS
  25. Powershell Desired System Configuration

  26. Jenkins Server Setup
  27. Jenkins Plug-ins
  28. Jenkins Freestyle jobs
  29. Jenkins2 Pipeline jobs using Groovy code in Jenkinsfile

  30. Dockerize apps
  31. Docker Setup
  32. Docker Build

  33. Maven on MacOSX

  34. Ansible

  35. MySQL Setup

  36. SonarQube static code scan

  37. API Management Microsoft
  38. API Management Amazon

  39. Scenarios for load

More on cloud

This is one of a series on cloud computing: