I have been recently asked on several occasions why I would ever choose Microsoft Azure over Amazon Web Services. There are a number of reasons why I would advise on using Azure in certain scenarios despite AWS being an undisputed market leader in cloud computing. However, the main reason is usually business alignment.

You may already use Microsoft Technologies in your business.

If you already run a number of applications on premises or in your datacentre that are based on Microsoft technologies, you probably already have an in-house expertise in these technologies. If this is so, it will be easier for your team to work with Microsoft Azure as it comes with a first-class support for Microsoft technologies such as .NET and MSSQL, simplified deployment and integration with Visual Studio. If the application you are building uses these technologies, this is a strong indicator that you may be better off with Azure as this way you would avoid skillset and recruiting challenges.

You may discover that Azure offers the best technological fit.

Even if you currently do not have much expose to Microsoft technologies, you may perform an analysis of the problem that you are trying to solve and conclude that Azure offers a better technological fit for your solution. This is an unbiased and valid reason for choosing a specific provider or technology over another. It may also be that Azure offers compliance with a certain standard that AWS does not. The fact that AWS is the market leader may not matter that much.

You may benefit from working with multiple cloud providers.

Sometimes, even if you have an in-house expertise in AWS and may already have some applications running on AWS, it may be more beneficial for you to run your new application on Azure. Many larger organisations do this for a mixture of reasons. Firstly, it may be beneficial for your organisation to be involved with multiple cloud providers as you put yourself in a better negotiating position with them when it comes to discounted pricing or support. Secondly, you may want to avoid a total dependency on one public cloud provider and prefer distributing your key applications across multiple vendors.

Although AWS is the leader in the cloud computing space, it faces a fierce competition from Microsoft. The latter has the competitive advantage of its brand and client support which has been built up over the decades in the industry. It may be just a matter of time before the gap closes.