4 Differences Between Amazon WorkSpaces and Microsoft Azure Windows Virtual Desktop


Oct 28, 2020

What are the main differences between Amazon Workspace and Azure, and what does that mean to your business?

Cloud computing is not just gaining popularity, it’s exploding with the number of businesses looking to be more agile and innovative while cutting costs. Rather than housing large on-premise IT footprints, many businesses are looking to the cloud to provide for their needs. If you are reading this, your business is likely in the same position. And one area that could be prime to move to the cloud is desktop infrastructure. 

But not all Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offerings are the same, and the landscape around DaaS clouds can be difficult to navigate alone. 

In this article, we will look at the differences between Amazon Workspace (AWS) and Microsoft Azure Windows Virtual Desktop platform. If you are in the process of deciding on the platform that best suits your business in these challenging times of remote working and off-site employees who still need to collaborate, you will find this discussion helpful.

1. DaaS services

AWS has been the leader in the DaaS, IaaS, and PaaS markets since it rolled out in 2006. While competitors such as Microsoft and Google have gained some ground since they came on the scene, AWS is still the biggest player in the market. One of its main strengths is its breadth and depth of services, with over 175 available for a business to leverage. These include developer tools, management tools, computing and database services, as well as networking and mobile solutions, and more.

Microsoft Azure serves desktop applications from the cloud, but it is not a full DaaS solution. Windows Virtual Desktop looks to fill that space by offering virtualized Windows desktops that can be accessed by anyone from anywhere, very much like Amazon WorkSpaces.

2. Cloud scalability

Amazon WorkSpaces is the most scalable cloud platform available. Your business can choose how many seats it needs and customize each of those seats to perfectly suit the end-user. WorkSpaces can be customized completely individually, standardized across the company, or anything in between. 

For example, your sales department and your accounting department have different needs and desire certain functionalities. This can be easily accomplished with Amazon Workspace, which has a long history of scalability that works in the real business world. 

AWS offers temporary storage that is assigned when an instance is started, then destroyed when the instance is completed or stopped. S3 is used for object storage. With Azure, temporary storage blocks are assigned through page Blobs, with Block Blobs used for object storage.

In the compute space, Amazon Workspace’s main offering is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). EC2 can be customized to provide an experience tailored to your business. Elastic Beanstalk for app deployment, the EC2 Container Service, ECS for Kubernetes, AWS Lambda, and autoscaling are related services provided by AWS.  Microsoft’s Azure is centered around its virtual machines.

Both provide relational databases. AWS uses a relational database as a service be using RDS, for NoSQL it uses Dynamo DB and caches with Elastic Cache. Microsoft Azure uses SQL Database, MySQL, and PostgreSQL for the relational database. It uses Cosmos DB for NoSQL solutions and Redis Cache for caching purposes. 

3. Network security

Of course, security is important when it comes to your company’s information, not to mention your clients’ information. The good news is both of these services offer enterprise-level security. Stability of service is also important, and Amazon WorkSpaces’s four-year head start over Microsoft in this category takes the lead with a proven track record.

4. Total cost

The discussion would not be complete without a word about costs. While the old adage stands true, “cheaper is not necessarily better,” keeping costs low is important to your business, as it is to all businesses. 

Microsoft Azure claims to be less costly than Amazon Workspace. However, when we look closer at the claim, it only appears to be true in certain instances where the company is already leaning heavily on Microsoft licenses. For most company desktop allocations, Amazon WorkSpaces may be an equal or less expensive option. 

An Amazon Managed Service Partner like CloudHesive can help you look deeper into the costs that would be associated with either choice when it comes to your particular company and way of doing business. As far as pricing, both offer a pay-as-you-go option, with AWS charging for the service by the hour and Azure offering a by-the-minute option.

When navigating the landscape, or cloudscape, as it were, of DaaS, it is best to seek out the professional help of experts. Contact CloudHesive today and let us help you tackle the big DaaS decisions so you can get back to doing what you do best: Running your business.

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