Amazon EC2 and Azure Virtual Machine (Instance) Comparison

Both Amazon EC2 and Azure VM provide a wide selection of VM types optimised to fit different use cases. An instance or VM is combinations of virtual CPU, virtual memory, temporary storage, and networking capacity and give a customer the flexibility to choose the appropriate mix of resources for workloads. Both AWS EC2 and Azure offers instances at scale for the requirements of any target workload. Both EC2 and Azure provide the option to store VM in persistent storage called EBS in Amazon terminology or Blob Storage in Azure terminology.

EC2 vs Azure VM

Available Windows/Linux VM both Cloud Services Providers:

Type Description Azure VM

Windows & Linux

AWS EC2

Windows & Linux

General purpose Balanced CPU-to-memory ratio. B, Dsv3, Dv3, DSv2, Dv2, Av2 T2, M4, M5
Compute-optimised High CPU-to-memory ratio. Fsv2, Fs, F C4, C5
Memory-optimised High memory-to-CPU ratio. Great for database servers Esv3, Ev3, M, GS, G, DSv2, Dv2 X1e, X1, R5, R4, Z1d
Storage optimised High disk throughput and IO. Ls H1, i3, D2
GPU Specialized for heavy graphic rendering and video editing NV, NC, NCv2, NCv3, ND P3, P2, G3, F1
High performance compute fastest and most powerful CPU H C4, C5

Both AWS and Azure are utility pricing model analogous to your gas, water or power bills. Both Amazon and Azure provide standard instance as PAYG model, and also some instances are available in the reserved pricing model. In a reserved pricing model, you pay upfront at a cheaper rate for instance but commit for certain months or years. In a reserved instance, you pay additional for -storage consumption and network utilisation if it’s cross-geo connectivity. Both AWS and Azure have vast marketplace from where you can pick up and deploy any instance of your requirements at Scale.

Here is where Microsoft differentiate from AWS, you can save up to 72% over pay-as-you-go pricing with an upfront one- or three-year commitment in Azure Cloud. You can also exchange or cancel the RI at any time. Microsoft also offers Hybrid benefits, i.e. 40% off when you bring in Microsoft Windows/Linux workloads from On-prem to Azure. You can use your on-premises Windows Server or SQL Server licences with Software Assurance to make big savings when migrating a few workloads or entire data centres to the cloud.

You can get discounted rates on Azure for your ongoing development and testing, including no Microsoft software charges on Azure Virtual Machines and special dev/test pricing on other services.

Microsoft also offers US$5000 credit for the validated Not-for-Profit organisation for the use of Azure Cloud whilst signing

Relevant References:

Azure Pricing Calculator

Azure TCO Calculator

Offset IT Cost with Azure Cloud

Microsoft Azure credits now available to eligible not-for-profit organisations

Azure 54 regions in 140 countries

EMC Unity Hybrid Storage for Azure Cloud Integration

The customers who have placed their workload in both on-premises and cloud forming a “Hybrid Cloud” model for your Organisation, you probably need on-premises storage which meets the requirement of hybrid workloads. EMC’s Unity hybrid flash storage series may be the answer to your business critical problem. This unified storage array is designed for organisations from midmarket to the enterprise. Cover the broadest range of workloads – SAN and NAS both. The EMC unity has been designed for workloads rather than a tin seating on your data centre consuming power and cooling bills, and you are calling it a SAN. After all, that was a traditional tin-based SAN solution.

Previously I wrote an article about Dell Compellent. I received an overwhelming response from the Compellent user. I have been asked many occasion what other option do we have if not the Compellent storage.

To answer the question, I would choose from either EMC Unity Hybrid Storage, Nimble and NetApp Storage subject to the in-depth analysis of workloads, casestudy and business requirements. But again, this is a “Subject to x,y,z” question. The tin-based storage does not fulfil the modern business requirement. I would personally like to use Azure or AWS than procure any tin and pay for power, cooling and racks.

EMC Unity

The Unity midrange storage for flash and rich data services based on dense SSD technology helps provide outstanding TCO. The Unity provides intelligent insight into SAN health with CloudIQ, which provides cloud-based proactive monitoring and predictive analytics. Additionally, the ongoing operation is simple with proactive assistance and automated remote support.

What I like about Unity is that the Unity Software, most notably CloudIQ, Appsync and Cloud Tiering Appliance. The Unity has the capabilities include point-in-time snapshots, local and remote data replication, built-in encryption, and deep integration with VMware, Microsoft Apps, Hyper-v, Azure Blob, AWS S3 and OpenStack ecosystems. The Unity provides an automated tiering and flash-caching, the most active data is served from flash.

Management

The Unity provides the most user-friendly GUI management interface. After installing and powering on the purpose-built Dell EMC Unity system for the first time, the operating environment will boot. The interfaces are well-defined and highlighted for areas of interest – drive faults, network link failures, etc. Within Unisphere are some options for support, including Unisphere Online Help and the Support page where FAQs, videos, white papers, chat sessions, and more

Provisioning Storage

The EMC Unity offers both block and file provisioning in the same enclosure. The Disk Drives are provisioned into Pools that can be used to host both block and file data. Connectivity is offered for both block and file protocols using iSCSI and Fibre Channel. You can access LUNs, Consistency Groups, Thin Clones, VMware Datastores (VMFS), and VMware Virtual Volumes.

Fast VP

The FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools) is a very smart solution for dynamically matching storage requirements with changes in the frequency of data access. Fast VP segregate disk drives in three tiers

  • Extreme Performance Tier – SSD
  • Performance tier – SAS
  • Capacity Tier – NL-SAS

Fast VP Policies – FAST VP is an automated feature but provide controls to setup user-defined tiering policies to ensure the best performance for various environments. FAST VP uses an algorithm to make data relocation decisions based on the activity level of each slice.

  • Highest Available Tier
  • Auto-Tier
  • Start High then Auto-Tier
  • Lowest Available Tier
  • No Data Movement

Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA)

If you are an organisation with hybrid cloud and you would like to move data from on-premises to Azure Cloud or AWS S3, then Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA) is the best solutions for you to move data to a cloud-based on user-configured policies. The other way is also true which means you can return your data to on-premises using this appliance.

Why do you need this appliance? If you run of storage or free-up space, you can do it on the fly without capital expenditure. This ability optimises primary storage usage, dramatically improves storage efficiency, shortens the time required to back up data, and reduces overall TCO for primary storage. This functionality also reduces your own data centre footprint. You can move both file and block data to Azure Cloud or AWS S3 using CTA.

EMC CloudIQ

Another cool feature is CloudIQ. CloudIQ provides the operational insights and overall health scores EMC midrange storage. CloudIQ provides Central monitoring, predictive analytics and health monitoring.

CloudIQ is a no-cost SaaS application that non-disruptively provides overall health scores for Unity systems through cloud-based proactive monitoring and intelligent, predictive analytics.

AppSync Data Protection

Your priority is workload. You must protect workloads and simplify management of workloads. AppSync empowers you to satisfy copy demand for data repurposing, operational recovery, and disaster recovery with AppSync.

AppSync simplifies, orchestrates, and automates the process of generating and consuming copies of production data. You can integrate AppSync with Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Exchange for application-consistent copy management. AppSync is the single user interface and provides VM-consistent copies of data stores and individual VM recovery for VMware environments

RecoveryPoint

EMC RecoverPoint provides continuous data protection with multiple recovery points to restore applications instantly to a specific point in time. EMC RecoveryPoint protects applications with bidirectional synchronous and asynchronous replication for recovery of physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures. Minimize network utilisation with unique bandwidth compression and deduplication, significantly reducing replicated data over the network.

RecoveryPoint is software-only solutions to manage the disaster recovery provisioning and control their replication policies and recovery, ensuring that VM service levels are met.

EMC Storage Analytics

The Storage Analytics software lets you extend VMware vRealize Operations analytics to supported EMC storage platforms. Optimize performance and diagnose issues across physical storage and virtual machines with EMC Storage Analytics (ESA).

The Storage Analytics is dashboards based visual tools provide deep visibility into EMC infrastructure. Actionable capacity and performance analysis help you troubleshoot, identify, and act on issues fast.

Encryption

EMC Unity lets you encrypt user data as it is written to the backend drives, and decrypted during departure. Because encryption and decryption are handled via a dedicated hardware piece on the SAS interface, there is minimal impact on Unity Storage. The system also supports external key management through the use of the Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP).

Conclusion

The Unity Hybrid Storage reduce cost, datacentre footprint, complexity and management overhead of your SAN systems while maintaining workload performance, protection and path to migrate data to Azure Cloud or AWS.

Windows Server 2012 Step by Step

Windows Server 2012 Step by Step

Windows Server 2012 Step by Step is available in Amazon US, Amazon EU and Amazon Japan. This book will also be available to download from Amazon Kindle globally.