Azure Migration

Azure vs AWS Pricing: A Quick Comparison

[Azure, Cloud Volumes ONTAP, Data Migration, AWS, Elementary, 6 minute read, Azure Migration]

Azure and AWS are two excellent options for deploying cloud services, and many organizations use both to enjoy each cloud’s unique feature set. However, it’s essential to compare pricing between clouds before you decide on an AWS or Azure migration—and afterwards—to optimize the costs of deploying your services in the public cloud.

In this post, we’ll show you some examples of pricing for common services, guide you which Azure and AWS services are comparable, help you gain an understanding of each cloud’s pricing model , and explain how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help reduce storage costs on both Azure and AWS.

In this article, you will learn:



Azure vs AWS Price Comparison for Representative Services

One of the fastest ways to evaluate pricing between Azure and AWS is to compare pricing between similar services. Below we have grouped services that can play similar or identical roles in your deployments. If you want to first understand how these services compare in terms of pricing models, you can see our section below.

The pricing provided below is correct as of the time of this writing, but cloud service pricing constantly changes, so be sure to consult the up-to-date AWS and Azure official pricing pages.

On-Demand Azure VMs / Amazon EC2 Instances

As you can see below, for mid-range instances with 4 CPUs and 16 GB of memory, Azure has a price advantage across both Linux and Windows. The advantage is maintained across most other instance sizes.

 Instance Parameters

Azure
Per-Hour Price
AWS
Per-Hour Price

On-Demand / Linux / General Purpose / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.1670

$0.1856

On-Demand / Linux / Compute Optimized / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.1690

$0.1700

On-Demand / Linux / Memory Optimized / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.2660

$0.2660

On-Demand / Windows / General Purpose / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.5970

$0.8560

On-Demand / Windows / Compute Optimized / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.7260

$0.8340

On-Demand / Windows / Memory Optimized / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.8500

$0.9520

Reserved Azure VMs / Amazon EC2 Instances

For 3-year reserved instances in the General-Purpose category, AWS provides a slightly higher discount of 62% vs. 58% for Azure. The discounts for Computer and Memory instances are also similar across both clouds, ranging between 62-64%.

For 1-year reserved instances in the General-Purpose category, AWS provides a discount of 42% vs. 36% for Azure, and discounts are the same for other instance types - 41% across both clouds.

For both 3-year and 1-year terms, Amazon provides more flexible payment options, with reduced discounts for partial upfront payment, month-by-month payment, and a convertible tier, allowing you to switch instance types during the commitment period. These options are not offered on Azure.

The following table offers a few examples of the comparable per-hour pricing under 1-year and 3-year terms. Pricing is very similar for Linux machines; for Windows, Azure maintains its cost advantage for most instance types, even with reserved price discounts applied.

Instance Parameters

Azure
Per-Hour Price

AWS
Per-Hour Price

Reserved 3 Year / Linux / General Purpose / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.0701

$0.0705

Reserved 1 Year / Linux / General Purpose / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.1069

$0.1076

Reserved 3 Year / Windows / General Purpose / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.2507

$0.3253

Reserved 1 Year / Windows / General Purpose / 4 CPUs / 16 GB Memory

$0.3821

$0.4965

Object Storage Pricing

When planning an Azure migration strategy, take into account that Azure offers lower per-GB prices across all Azure storage tiers, except Infrequent Access where AWS equals Azure. The other exception is One Zone Infrequent Storage, which is only offered by AWS and is by far the cheapest option at $0.0010 per GB.

Storage Parameters

Azure
Per-GB Price

AWS
Per-GB Price

Frequent Access / First 50 TB

$0.208

$0.230

Frequent Access / 51-500 TB

$0.200

$0.220

Infrequent Access

$0.0125

$0.0125

Archive Storage

$0.0020

$0.0040

Block Storage Pricing

Amazon provides the Elastic Block Storage (EBS) service, which provides block storage volumes that can be attached to EC2 instances. The comparable Azure service is Azure Virtual Disks, which connect to Azure VMs. On both AWS and Azure, block storage can be based on magnetic or SSD disk drives.

Storage Parameters

Azure 
Per-GB Price

AWS
Per-GB Price

HDD $0.05 $0.045

SSD

$0.153
(in 128 GB increments)
$0.10

Free Tier

N/A $30GB SSD

Understanding Azure and AWS Pricing Models

Now that you’ve seen how individual pricing compares, it may be helpful to understand how AWS and Azure pricing models compare. This comparison can help explain some of the differences in pricing for seemingly identical services and can help you more accurately gauge the relationship between price and value. 

The following table will help you understand each cloud provider’s definitions for price-related parameters, and for which services you can make a direct price comparison.

Price Parameter

Azure

AWS

Are They Comparable?

Instance Types

General Purpose, Computer Optimized, Memory Optimized General Purpose, Computer Optimized, Memory Optimized

Yes, instance types are comparable on price between AWS and Azure

On-Demand Instances

Priced per # of CPUs and GBs of memory

Priced per # of CPUs and GBs of memory Yes, for the same CPU/memory combination

Reserved Instances

Azure lets you commit to one or three years and pay the balance upfront

AWS lets you commit to one year or three years, with three payment options:

- Pay upfront

- Pay partially and the balance monthly

- Pay monthly

No, you can only compare pricing if you pay upfront. AWS provides reduced discounts for partial upfront and monthly payment methods.

Object Storage - Frequent Access

Basic rate for first 50 TB, discounts for 51-500 TB and over 500 TB Basic rate for first 50 TB, discounts for 51-500 TB and over 500 TB Yes, same pricing structure

Object Storage - Infrequent Access

Offers two tiers:

- Infrequent access

- Archive storage

Offers three infrequent storage tiers:

- Infrequent access

- One Zone Infrequent Access

- Archive Storage

Yes, except for the One Zone tier available only on AWS

Block Storage

Offers two tiers: HDD, SSD Offers two tiers: HDD, SSD, and free tier with up to 30GB Yes, except for storage volumes under 30GB

Rating Frequency

Per-Hour for most services, Per-Second offered for Windows VMs and Container instances Per-Hour pricing for most services, Per-Second offered for Linux On-Demand and Reserved instances No, prefer per-second pricing if available because it can save on costs

Price Matching

Azure commits to matching AWS prices for comparable services AWS does not match prices N/A

Additional Resources for Comparing Prices

To fully explore prices for all the services relevant to your workloads, you should use the official pricing calculators and total cost of ownership (TCO) calculators. Both clouds let you compare their own costs with other cloud providers or on-premise options. You can input Azure prices into an AWS calculator or vice versa to make an exact comparison of a specific service package.

Calculator Resource

Azure

AWS

Pricing Calculator

Official Pricing Calculator Official Pricing Calculator

Total Cost of Ownership Calculator

Official TCO Calculator

Official TCO Calculator

Storage Costs Calculator

NetApp Azure Calculator - cost of storage efficiency, tiering and H/A NetApp AWS Calculator - compare S3, EBS, EFS

Azure and AWS Cost Optimization with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Cloud Volumes ONTAP has one, all-important effect on Azure vs AWS pricing: it effectively makes both of them less expensive. Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides storage efficiencies that can reduce storage footprint and costs by up to 70% on both AWS and Azure. With Cloud Volumes ONTAP data tiering, infrequently used data is automatically and seamlessly tiered between block and object storage, making sure data is located on the most cost-effective tier for its usage pattern at any given time.

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