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Azure vs. AWS: Comparing Cloud Computing Services

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.
March 13, 2023

13 min read

Wondering what the difference is between Azure vs. AWS? While both cloud service providers (CSPs) share many similarities, there are some notable differences you’ll want to be aware of. Before we dig in, let’s get a quick refresher on cloud computing. 

Cloud computing refers to both the cloud-based IT methodology and the technology that makes it all work, and benefits can include lower IT costs, improved agility and time-to-value, scalability and cost-efficiency. By providing on-demand access to resources like applications, data storage, development tools and others hosted at remote data centers, cloud computing has become an attractive alternative to traditional on-premises IT infrastructure. 

According to data cited by The Seattle Times, nearly every large company and government agency in the United States uses some form of cloud computing services. In addition, information compiled by shows:

  • The cloud computing market’s total value in 2020 was $371.4 billion.

  • Based on a compound annual growth rate of 17.5%, it’s projected the market will be worth $832 billion by 2025. 

  • By 2025, there will be over 100 zettabytes of data stored in the cloud (a zettabyte is a billion terabytes, or a trillion gigabytes).

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the largest CSP with a 31% share of the market, followed by Microsoft’s Azure with 20%.

In this article we will examine AWS vs. Azure in a side-by-side comparison to see how they stack up in areas like services, capabilities, security and more. We will also take a look at the industry certifications offered by each cloud provider.

What is Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is a division of Amazon, the same company that delivers packages to your porch and streams movies and TV shows to your smart devices. AWS launched in 2006, giving it a head start on its competitors. According to Statista, AWS generated revenues of $62.2 billion in 2021.

The Seattle Times, which is an AWS user itself, stated in March 2021 that the company’s importance to the global internet economy is difficult to overstate, and that in the 15 years since its launch it has revolutionized the economics of web-based business by creating the cloud computing industry.

AWS cloud services are delivered through a worldwide network of server farms. It is designed as a pay-as-you-go model, allowing the subscriber to choose their own software, hardware, networking features and other components.

What is Microsoft Azure?

Azure is the second player in our Azure vs. AWS comparison. Azure is the cloud computing service from Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker. With subsidiaries that include the widely used tech brands LinkedIn, GitHub and Skype, Microsoft has come a long way since its early personal computer pioneering days.

Microsoft entered the cloud computing space in 2010. According to Statista, Microsoft generated $21 billion from its intelligent cloud services operations in the fourth quarter of financial year 2022.

Azure has multiple capabilities such as software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The platform supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, which include both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.

Comparing AWS vs. Azure

Based on side-by-side comparisons conducted by Simplilearn and Edoxi Training Institute, these Azure and AWS have similar features and benefits, but there are significant differences in a few areas.

Compute and Computation Services

Both platforms provide services that meet requirements for faster processing methods and ensure that instances can be scaled up when necessary. AWS provides computing power via Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). AMIs can be configured for any application and deployed as needed via Elastic Compute Cloud (ECC) instances or Elastic Beanstalk applications. Azure’s compute offerings are based on Virtual Machines (VMs) with multiple tools that deploy applications in the cloud.

Development Tools

AWS includes a couple of serverless development tools – AWS Fargate and Lambda. The Microsoft offerings include Azure Function, a serverless platform that can be combined with Azure DevOps pipelines, allowing you to streamline complex workflows. Available IoT and AI capabilities also include Azure Bot Service, Time Series Insights and IoT Edge. 


An AWS vs. Azure inspection reveals they both offer reliable and long-lasting storage services such as Elastic Block Store (EBS) from AWS and Azure Disk Storage. AWS supports services such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Glacier. Azure supports services such as Blob Storage and Standard Archive. Amazon’s Elastic File System (EFS) competes with Azure Files to offer simple, scalable and secure storage services, and those products enable you to create and configure file sharing programs quickly and easily.

Database Capabilities

Both cloud providers offer database services to manage structured and unstructured data, but this is an area where the two differ significantly. AWS enables the choice of 6 databases with more options to create and configure database instances. Azure offers only MS SQL Server Database.

Networking Services

Both platforms offer firewall options as well as the option to expand your on-premise data center to the cloud. The Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) makes it possible to build private networks within the Cloud. Microsoft Azure Virtual Network enables you to perform all of VPC’s functions.


Comparing the support provided by Azure vs. AWS, AWS offers more advanced Big Data and analytics solutions, and can offer a wide range of services, depending on the customer’s requirements, in the areas of IoT, mobile app development or computing environment building. AWS also offers Docker support. In addition to competing in this category, Microsoft may also provide Hadoop support through services like Azure HDInsight.


Amazon maintains strong relationships with government agencies (as mentioned in the Seattle Times article cited earlier, cloud computing has become widely used by government agencies in the United States). AWS also provides robust security features to ensure that individual users have appropriate access. Microsoft provides products for government sectors including critical infrastructure, public finance, public health and social services and public safety and justice.


AWS provides enhanced privacy through a selection of secure alternatives and default settings. Azure relies on Microsoft’s Cloud Defender service, which is powered by AI and safeguards against new and existing threats for security and data privacy. Both platforms offer thorough programs that encompass certification, industry-specific regulations, security frameworks and privacy.

Machine Learning

Both platforms feature machine learning studios for the development of machine learning models. Amazon’s studio is called SageMaker. A significant difference here is that Azure’s studio does not require a thorough understanding of data engineering, Python coding and open-source libraries.


The availability of Azure is divided into 54 regions, each of which has at least 3 availability zones and 116 edge locations. AWS is organized into 22 geographical areas and 14 data centers, with more than 114 edge sites and 12 Regional Edge Caches available.


Both platforms have complex pricing mechanisms and a wide range of configurable options that determine the customer’s overall cost, but Azure’s pricing model may result in a higher cost per GB. AWS uses a pay-as-you-go model is charged on an hourly basis, while Azure charges by the minute and requires customers to have pre-arranged contracts for access to resources that are billed monthly.


Certifications offered by AWS and Microsoft Azure are intended to validate existing technical skills and help cultivate new cloud computing skills that can be useful in pursuing cloud computing-related career opportunities. Review the options below to determine which ones bet fit your goals and interests.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (AWSCCP) certification is a foundational-level certification offering an understanding of AWS Cloud concepts, services and terminology. 

The AWSCCP certification is intended for candidates who may be from a non-IT background and exploring a career in AWS Cloud, or individuals in sales, marketing or business analyst roles looking to communicate more effectively with stakeholders and customers about AWS Cloud. The AWSCCP is also intended for individuals in on-premises IT or cloud roles, but who may be new to AWS Cloud and need a primer before exploring role-based AWS Certifications.

Preparing for and earning this certification will give you:

  • A basic understanding of IT services and their uses on AWS Cloud.

  • Knowledge of core AWS services and use cases, billing and pricing models, security concepts, and how cloud impacts your business. 

AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Associate

Intended to showcase knowledge and skills in AWS technology across a wide range of AWS services, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (AWSCSA-A) certification is focused on the design of cost and performance-optimized solutions, demonstrating a strong understanding of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. 

The AWSCSA-A is a great starting point on the path to AWS Certification for individuals who may have experience in AWS technology, strong on-premises IT experience and understanding of mapping on-premises to cloud, or experience working in other cloud services.

Preparing for and earning this certificate will demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and skills in compute, networking, storage and database AWS services, as well as AWS deployment and management services. 

  • Knowledge and skills in deploying, managing and operating workloads on AWS as well as implementing security controls and compliance requirements.

  • Knowledge and skills in using the AWS Management Console and the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), as well as an understanding of the AWS well-architected Framework, AWS networking, security services and global infrastructure.

  • Ability to identify which AWS services meet a given architectural requirement and to define technical requirements for an AWS -based application.

The AWS Certified Developer-Associate

The AWS Certified Developer-Associate (AWSCD-A) certification demonstrates knowledge and understanding of core AWS services, uses and basic AWS architecture best practices, as well as proficiency in developing, deploying and debugging cloud-based applications. 

AWSCD-A certification is a great starting point on the AWS Certification path for individuals who may have experience working in a developer role with in-depth knowledge of at least one high-level programming language, experience in AWS technology, strong on-premises IT experience and understanding of mapping on-premises to cloud, or experience working in other cloud services.

Preparing for and earning this certification will demonstrate:

  • Understanding of core AWS services, uses of those services, basic AWS architecture best practices including the AWS Shred Responsibility Model, application lifecycle management and the use of containers in the development process.

  • Proficiency in developing, deploying and debugging cloud-based applications using AWS and writing code for serverless applications.

  • Ability to identify key features of AWS services and use the AWS service APIs, AWS CLI and SDKs to write applications.

  • Ability to apply a basic understanding of cloud-native applications to write code and author, maintain and debug code modules on AWS.

AWS SysOps Administrator-Associate

The AWS SysOps Administrator-Associate (AWSSOA-A) certificate helps organizations identify and develop talent with critical skills for implementing cloud initiatives. Earning the AWSSOA-A demonstrates experience deploying, managing and operating workloads on AWS. 

Who should earn this certificate? The AWSSOA-A provides a starting point on the AWS certification path for those who may have experience working in a systems administrator role or in AWS technology, have strong on-premises IT experience and understanding of mapping on premises to cloud or have experience working in other cloud services.

Preparing for and earning this certification will demonstrate:

  • Your hands-on experience deploying, managing and operating workloads on AWS as well as implementing security controls and compliance requirements.

  • Familiarity with using both the AWS Management Console and the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI).

  • Understanding of the AS Well-Architected Framework as well as AWS networking and security services.

Azure Certifications

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals certification confirms basic knowledge of cloud services and how those services are provided with Microsoft Azure, helping you to take advantage of technical opportunities offered by the platform. Certification candidates should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of cloud concepts, along with Azure services, workloads, security, privacy, pricing and support.

According to Microsoft, this certification is a good fit for you if your goal is to:

  • Prove your knowledge of cloud computing concepts, models and services such as public, private and hybrid cloud, in addition to IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.

  • Show your expertise on how Azure supports security, privacy, compliance and trust.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

Azure Administrators often serve as part of a larger team dedicated to implementing an organization’s cloud infrastructure. They also coordinate with other roles to deliver Azure networking, security, database, application development and DevOps solutions. Candidates for the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification should be familiar with operating systems, networking, servers and virtualization. 

According to Microsoft, professionals in this role should have experience using PowerShell, Azure CLI, the Azure portal, Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates and Microsoft Azure Active Directory.

Skills measured in the exam for this certification include:

  • Managing Azure identities and governance

  • Implementing and managing storage

  • Deploying and managing Azure compute resources

  • Configuring and managing virtual networking

  • Monitoring and maintaining Azure resources

Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

Candidates for the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification are cloud developers who participate in all phases of development, from requirements definition and design to development, deployment and maintenance. They partner with cloud administrators, database administrators and clients to implement solutions. 

According to Microsoft, candidates for this certification should be proficient in Azure SDKs, data storage options, data connections, APIs, app authentication and authorization and compute, as well as container deployment, debugging, performance tuning and monitoring. 

Skills measured in the exam for this certification include:

  • Developing Azure compute solutions

  • Developing for Azure storage

  • Implementing Azure security

  • Monitoring, troubleshooting and optimizing Azure solutions

  • Connecting to and consuming Azure services and third-party services

AWS vs. Azure: Which Should You Learn?

As more services, applications and data storage are migrated to the cloud, the demand for knowledgeable information technology professionals with the ability to plan, configure, troubleshoot and maintain cloud-based solutions is increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment in computer and information technology occupations is expected to grow 15% on a national level from 2021 to 2031, a rate that is much faster than the average for all occupations.1

At DeVry, our Online Undergraduate Certificate in Cloud Computing gives you the flexibility to choose how you prepare to pursue industry-recognized certifications and career opportunities in the rapidly growing field of cloud computing.

We offer two-course sequences within our Cloud Computing Certificate curriculum that align with select Azure or AWS training and certifications. Choose from our sequence in AWS Cloud Architecture and Cloud Operations, or a Microsoft Azure course sequence in Cloud Services and Cloud Development.

AWS Course Sequence
  • Cloud Architecture

    Focuses on AWS architectures and solutions, including AWS common use cases, security, billing practices and support. Learning domains of the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner and Certified Solutions Architect Associate exams are reviewed.

  • Cloud Operations

    Focusing on deploying and operating cloud applications on AWS, coursework introduces AWS software development kits, service application programming interfaces, continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline and code module debugging. Support and maintenance of AWS workloads, including security controls; monitoring and logging; business continuity procedures; and incident remediation are also covered. Learning domains of the AWS Certified Developer Associate and Certified SysOps Administrator Associate exams are reviewed.

Microsoft Azure Course Sequence
  • Cloud Services

     Focuses on Azure cloud services and administration, including Azure workloads, security, privacy, pricing and support. Coursework examines implementation and management of Azure identity and governance, storage, compute resources, virtual networking and resource backup. Learning domains of the Azure Fundamentals and Azure Administrator Associate certification exams are reviewed.

  • Cloud Development

    Focuses on developing and maintaining cloud applications on Azure. Azure software development kits, application programming interfaces, container deployment, performance tuning and monitoring are introduced. Coursework also examines Azure compute, storage and security solutions implementation and reviews learning domains of the Azure Developer Associate certification exam.

Prepare to Make Your Mark in Cloud Computing with DeVry

Prepare to build your future as a cloud computing professional. Our 100% Online Cloud Computing Certificate will help you learn the fundamentals of wired, optical and wireless technologies, as well as cloud computing, data center virtualization and network design as you prepare to pursue roles like cloud support specialist, cloud services associate or network technician. Elements of our curriculum can also help you prepare to earn industry-recognized certifications from cloud computing frontrunners AWS and Microsoft Azure, as well as select CompTIA certifications. 

Classes start every 8 weeks.

1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location.

8-Week Class Sessions

Classes Start Every 8 Weeks

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