Comparing Analytics Platforms: Azure vs. AWS

With the leading cloud providers now racing against time to complete their offerings in the analytics space, enterprises are spoilt for choice. Not only are there many offerings to choose from between the leading providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, but in some cases, the stack of offerings within one provider itself seems to be competing and it often gets confusing to decide what really would suit your enterprise needs for real-time and predictive analytics.

Microsoft Azure’s analytics offerings include, Analytics Platform System, Stream Analytics, Cortana Analytics, Data Factory, Data Lake Storage, HDInsight, and Power BI for visualization. Amazon is featuring its analytical suite with Kinesis (yet to be released), Redshift for storage and QuickSight for visualization.

The Azure Analytics Platform System is a turnkey big data analytics solution from Microsoft that leverages its massive parallel processing data warehouse technology ??? SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse. It works in conjunction with its Apache Hadoop distribution platform HDInsight. So, as an enterprise, if you are looking at a turnkey solution for processing massive volumes of data, then this could be a choice of the platform. It is based on a PolyBase infrastructure, hence allows seamless integration of relational data warehouse and Hadoop. It also offers significant performance improvements and has the least cost per terabyte of data. It can also scale linearly to 6 petabytes of user data. Azure APS has been recently rebranded as such from its previous avatar as Parallel Data Warehouse. It is significant competition for Teradata and Oracle, but has limitations in the form of availability of instances for you to configure and try. You need to reach out to Microsoft account executives to get access to APS.

With Azure APS, Microsoft scores over Amazon, since Amazon’s only competition in this space is Redshift which doesn’t compare in many ways directly with APS. It compares better with Azure SQL Data Warehouse. Another area where Azure betters the competition is in its warehousing platform is the ability to scale memory and compute independently. That said, Amazon has a lead in having done this much ahead of Azure, and market recognition of APS is yet to happen!

In the next post, will compare the offerings in other areas of analytics.

(See also, Part 3?of this series)

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