Two of the biggest players in the domain of cloud-based technologies are Azure and AWS. With a host of features to solve a diverse range of business problems, these global cloud providers have left their mark on all facets of the cloud computing market, including integration services. This covers everything from the iPaaS market to other integration dimensions such as API management, orchestration, DevOps, and so on. In this article, we will compare Azure vs AWS integration, narrowing down the common use cases for each of them.
Despite their similarities, Azure Integration Services and Application Integration on AWS are distinct suites of tools and functions. Knowing their differences will help you analyse which technology best suits your enterprise, reducing costs and complexity along the way.
What is Azure Integration Services?
Azure Integration Services is a comprehensive collection of integration tools that work to minimise the gap between applications in the cloud and on-premises. In turn, this will stabilise your workflows to create more consistent and adaptable business conditions.
This technology comes under the iPaaS category. Its components work together to make all aspects of integration—from deployment to maintenance—user-friendly and accessible globally through the cloud.
Azure Integration Services comprises five integration tools:
Azure API Management
Through APIs, this service exposes the backend view of the system to the right developers. This helps develop scalability, API monitoring, API security, and so on.
Azure Logic Apps
A workflow automation and orchestration tool, Azure Logic Apps is a vital part of Azure Integration Services. With its pre-built connectors and workflows, it contributes to seamless connectivity between numerous cloud and on-prem services.
Azure Service Bus
It adds a fast, reliable, secure, and scalable messaging capability to Microsoft’s iPaaS toolkit. This includes disaster recovery, message distribution to various back-end systems, decoupling applications, implementing messaging workflows with complex routing, and so on. The goal of Azure Service Bus is to facilitate the process of enterprise cloud messaging.
Azure Event Grid
This service introduces the concept of an event-driven architecture that uses lightweight events to oversee changing states within the IT infrastructure. This allows developers to concentrate their efforts on the application logic rather than observing hidden backend processes.
A serverless compute platform that handles orchestration. It allows the user to implement system logic through event-driven, pre-built code blocks known as ‘functions’. It constantly updates and manages the infrastructure and resources you need to operate or run the code you care about (your applications).
In addition to these services, Azure Data Factory focuses on data integration efforts by leveraging ETL and ELT techniques to implement and improve data pipelines from a source to a target (usually data lakes and warehouses).
Azure Integration Services addresses common integration areas such as app development, IoT integration, data and analytics, hybrid cloud environments, security, and so on.
What are AWS application integration services?
Application integration on AWS is a body of integration services that promotes faster interactions and interoperability between separate components in a distributed system. It significantly reduces the amount of code needed to achieve this task. Furthermore, application integration on AWS makes it easier for companies to focus on their business goals rather than the digitalisation of routine operations such as provisioning and managing infrastructural resources.
We can arrange the components of AWS application integration services under 5 major categories:
- Amazon API Gateway: gives developers the ability to create, publish, and maintain APIs that expose the backend logic of your applications. It allows the creation of two types of APIs: RESTful APIs and WEBSOCKET APIs.
- AWS AppSync: allows you to build GraphQL APIs as well as Pub/Sub APIs. GraphQL APIs refine the process of client applications fetching data from servers by making the fetches faster and more granular. Pub/Sub APIs is an alternative for developers with no GraphQL knowledge. It can help build APIs that coordinate messages between publishing and subscribing applications in real time.
- Amazon EventBridge: enables an event-driven architecture that consists of loosely coupled systems, SaaS applications, and custom applications. It provides a unified hub for creating, triggering, and maintaining all events within the architecture.
- Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS): it streamlines app-to-app notification delivery. It also delivers app-to-person notifications such as texts, SMS, email, and push notifications.
- Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS): a message queueing service offering two types of queues: standard and FIFO (First-In-First-Out). These enable the delivery of large volumes of encrypted message data with little to no overhead.
- Amazon MQ: Amazon MQ is a message broker service. It is an architecture that allows a software system made up of miscellaneous programming languages and platforms to communicate without interruptions.
No-code API Integration
- Amazon AppFlow: when paired with AWS data processing analytics, AppFlow becomes AWS’ iPaaS capability. It allows users to create and trigger bidirectional flows of data between a source and target services. It also handles data transformations with ease.
- AWS Step Functions: a serverless orchestration platform with a drag and drop interface used to generate workflows visually for event-driven architectures and distributed applications. A Step Functions workflow helps developers call anything from a list of 220 AWS services to build distributed applications.
- Amazon Managed Workflows for Apache Airflow: it makes the product Apache Airflow easier to use by making it readily deployable, reducing its operational load, enhancing security, and so on.
When we compare Azure vs AWS integration, we realise the parallels between their different services. For instance, AWS Data Pipeline is similar to Azure Data Factory; it helps users create complex yet reliable data processing workloads, bringing on-premises data silos closer to the cloud through efficient data movement and transformation.
AWS application integration services play a role in solving areas and use cases such as application monitoring, data migration, configuration management in DevOps, and so on.
Azure vs AWS Integration: What is the difference?
If you’re asking the question, ‘Which is better, AWS or Azure?’, you will benefit from analysing the services of Azure and AWS integration. To help you out, let’s examine 8 key factors that highlight dissimilar features between the two technologies:
Serverless compute capabilities allow users to forgo server provisioning and focus only on app development. Both Azure and AWS offer this feature in the form of Azure Functions and AWS Lambda. However, it should be noted that while the former is a part of Microsoft’s iPaaS offerings, the latter does not fall under Amazon’s umbrella of application integration services.
Due to its ability to rapidly add or subtract the number of parallel resources available at a given time, AWS Lambda is better at handling massive workloads. It also reserves separate resource instances for each execution, making it more stable in terms of performance. Additionally, AWS Step Functions can coordinate with Lambda functions to create serverless workflows.
However, Azure Functions provides off-the-shelf HTTP endpoint integrations that come at no additional costs. This is not the case with Lambda, which requires further integration with AWS Elastic Load Balancing, suitable only for high-load situations. When using Microsoft-native tools such as Visual Studio, Azure Functions provides powerful real-time monitoring and debugging tools that fortify your serverless architecture. It is also much more robust in the area of extensibility; Azure Functions offers more ways to bind different sources (input bindings, output bindings, or both).
When we compare Azure vs AWS integration in terms of APIs, we can see that AWS has serverless API gateway options that are cost-efficient. Since Amazon API Gateway can trigger the execution of a serverless function at the occurrence of a HTTP request, it paves the way for a truly serverless architecture for web applications.
Azure Integration Services does offer some serverless API functionalities or services, albeit not as mature as AWS application integration services. However, Azure API management makes up for it by providing a more effective user environment through the inclusion of its customisable and managed developer portal. This portal not only acts as an environment for API publishing and access control, but also provides comprehensive documentation for consumers to understand your APIs.
Workflow orchestration and Connectors
Workflow orchestration is another dimension to think about when we compare Azure vs AWS integration. Both the cloud providers have dedicated workflow orchestration units: Azure Logic Apps and AWS Step Functions.
Azure Logic Apps has an evolving library of connectors that simplifies the creation of integration workflows. These connectors provide support for important communication protocols and closes the space between the cloud and on-premises domain without relying on the more technical Azure Functions. However, Logic Apps can be used with an extension of Azure Functions called Durable Functions that turns workflow orchestration abstractions into code.
In contrast, despite its growing collection of connectors, AWS still relies heavily on Lambda for workflow orchestration. Lambda can be used to create wrappers for incompatible interfaces; this is a more technical process than using out-of-the-box connectors.
Cloud Messaging and Queues
Azure Service Bus offers similar functionalities to Amazon SNS and SQS. While both of these services do almost exactly the same thing, use cases that require FIFO queues require some attention.
Azure Service Bus provides strong FIFO queueing support. While SQS is compatible with FIFO, a message cannot be sent from SNS to an SQS FIFO queue. However, a fix to this is using AWS MQ, which has a default FIFO configuration.
Both Azure and AWS offer a range of storage services. While these are not a part of their respective integration suites (Azure Integration Services or AWS application integration services), storage is a vital part of any integration project.
In AWS, cloud storage falls under the following three categories:
- Simple Storage Service (S3): object storage service that can be used for many different use cases.
- Elastic Block Storage (EBS): one of the two block-level storage AWS offerings. It can be used in tandem with Amazon EC2 and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS).
- Elastic File System (EFS): a file storage that scales automatically when files are added or removed.
Azure Blob storage and Azure Files are equivalent to these services in what they do. Blob storage functions the same way as S3 and EBS, while Files functions the same way as EFS. Azure Blob storage primarily saves text and binary data and Azure Files mounts fully managed file shares in a hybrid environment. These services are offered as part of the Azure Storage platform, which also includes Azure Queues, Tables, Elastic SAN, and managed Disks.
An interesting feature of Azure is its support for S3Proxy. This means that Blob Storage can run simultaneously with S3 (S3-compatible) for a hybrid solution.
There are many distinct features between the two services:
- Azure Blob Storage has three storage tiers (Cool, Hot, and Archive), Amazon S3 has six storage tiers depending on the type of data that needs to be stored.
- Azure Blobs are stored in containers and can be used only via the Azure Portal or through an API programmatically. The program to utilise the API is language-independent (the user can write it in a language of their choice). Conversely, Amazon S3 is unique in that it stores data as objects in buckets, which are maintained in the user’s storage account.
Privacy and Security
Azure and AWS offer a range of security measures. When it comes to the security of stored data, Azure Blob Storage relies on AES-256 symmetric keys. These encryption keys are safeguarded in Azure Key Vault with a subscription to the service. On the other hand, Amazon S3 includes Customer Master Keys and managed key services with SSE-KMS and SSE-S3 (server-side encryption services). To use these server-side encryption patterns, Amazon S3 integrates with AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS). Lastly, identity and access management is handled by Azure Active Directory and AWS IAM respectively.
AWS offers more control in the encryption and key management department. However, threat detection is something that Azure excels at, as it covers a broader area of concerns like firewalls, virtual machines, and databases. It also integrates with PowerBI to generate more visual reports.
Coding environment and technicality
Azure Integration Services provides more codeless options in its services. It promotes ease-of-use, especially for non-technical team members.
On the other hand, Application Integration on AWS requires more technical expertise to operate its services.
Which is better in terms of pricing, AWS or Azure?
Both AWS application integration services and Azure Integration Services follow a PAYG model that costs only as much as you consume. However, since application integration services on AWS have more external dependencies on other AWS services (such as Lambda and ELB), the costs may rise marginally for certain integration use cases.
Azure vs AWS Integration: an overview
The following table will summarise the different points of consideration when discussing Azure vs AWS integration:
|Azure Integration Services||AWS Application Integration services|
|Serverless Compute||Azure Functions provides off-the-shelf HTTP endpoint integrations that come at no additional costs.||Due to its ability to rapidly add or subtract the number of parallel resources available at a given time, AWS Lambda is better at handling massive workloads.|
|APIs||Azure API management provides a more effective user environment through the inclusion of its customisable and managed developer portal.||Since Amazon API Gateway can trigger the execution of a serverless function at the occurrence of a HTTP request, it paves the way for a truly serverless architecture for web applications.|
|Workflow Orchestration and Connectors||Azure Logic Apps has an evolving library of connectors that simplifies the creation of integration workflows.||AWS still relies heavily on Lambda for workflow orchestration, which results in a more technical process than using out-of-the-box connectors.|
|Cloud Messaging and Queues||Azure Service Bus provides strong FIFO queueing support.||While SQS is compatible with FIFO, a message cannot be sent from SNS to an SQS FIFO queue. However, a fix to this is using AWS MQ, which has a default FIFO configuration.|
|Cloud Storage||Azure Blobs are stored in containers and can be used only via the Azure Portal or through an API programmatically.||Amazon S3 is unique in that it stores data as objects in buckets, which are maintained in the user’s storage account.|
|Privacy and Security||However, threat detection is something that Azure excels at, as it covers a broader area of concerns like firewalls, virtual machines, and databases. It also integrates with PowerBI to generate more visual reports.||AWS offers more control in the encryption and key management department.|
|Coding environment and technicality||Azure Integration Services provides more codeless options in its services.||Application Integration on AWS requires more technical expertise to operate its services.|
|Pricing Model||Azure Integration Services follows a PAYG model that costs only as much as you consume.||AWS also follows a PAYG model that costs only as much as you consume.
However, since application integration services on AWS have more external dependencies on other AWS services (such as Lambda and ELB), the costs may rise marginally for certain integration use cases.
As we compare Azure vs AWS integration, we realise that their individual strengths flourish in different business scenarios. AWS application integration services (on collaborating with other AWS services) is the suitable option for large-volume and technically complex integrations such as those found in event-driven architectures. However, Azure Integration Services offers a robust enterprise-grade iPaaS that includes all the major integration capabilities at a high level of user experience and affordable cost. It is also the immediate choice for companies that already utilise other products from Microsoft, ensuring a seamless integration with popular tools such as Office 365 and Active Directory.
Want to know more about Azure vs AWS integration? Chakray can help you with anything from technology evaluation and selection to the maintenance of your newly-integrated systems. Through our initiatives, we’re striving to make integration an unchallenging but necessary process for all enterprises—a gateway to a digitally-forward world. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, make sure to get in touch with us.