This post is not indeed to be a full price comparison. I just want to make a quick and easy to understand comparison between these similar platforms because I searched for a while and I always found elaborated charts with hypothetical consumptions. I said similar because I consider that there are no relevant differences between IAAS (Amazon Web Services -AWS-) and PASS (Microsoft Azure).

Let’s mention four basic monthly needs for a web application: a machine (with Windows), an external storage, a relational data base and a queue. No more*.

  • Machines: the smallest machine in Amazon costs $82.8 monthly and $9.36 in Azure.
  • External storage: 100 GB in Amazon S3 are almost free and in Azure Blobs cost $12.50.
  • Relational database: 2 instances of SQL Server with a total size of 100 GB cost $351.65 in Azure and $296.76 in Amazon (721 is the maximum quantity of hours). If you use MySQL in Amazon costs can be reduced to $201.60. The current MySQL -Azure (based on ClearDB) offering is too small to compete.
  • Queues: 100 GB of messages cost in Amazon $12.88 and are free in Azure (with no relay hour).

As you might noted, there are differences but I don’t want to conclude anything because this is not the purpose of the post, I would rather prefer to say that picking up the best qualities of each platform will favour your architecture. For example you can have scenarios like:

  • If you will experience an unexpected and huge increased demand: AWS for the instances (because of auto-scaling) and for the relational data base (because of lower rates) and Azure for the Queue system (because of lower rates).
  • If you will scale in a reasonable way (I mean, you roughly know when you need to grow): Azure for the instances and Queue system and Amazon for the relational data base and external storage. The same reason for all: lower rates.

But I hope you do your own comparisons in Azure and Amazon’s calculator because Amazon’s pricing is more detailed and thus more complex to calculate.

*=The load balancer is also a must in cloud computing but for Azure is behind the scenes and thus not configurable while in Amazon is visible, configurable and chargeable.

[UPDATE 18/07/2012: If you want a complete comparison I found this one between Windows Azure Table Storage and Amazon DynamoDB (including price)]


Javier Andrés Cáceres Alvis

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional – MVP
Intel Black Belt Software Developer