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AWS, Azure

This is our fourth blog in the series of blogs intended to help you embark on a cloud strategy, most importantly when you are in dilemma to choose AWS or Azure, the two prominent cloud players today.

 

If you had missed our earlier blogs, click here

1st Blog – Compute

2nd Blog- Storage

3rd Blog- CDN & Networking

 

Before we jumpstart on the actual comparison chart of Azure and AWS, we would like to bring you some basics on the database aspect of cloud strategy.

If you would rather like to have quick look at the database comparison table, click here


Through this blog, let’s understand the database aspect of your cloud strategy. As per the guide, Database services refers to options for storing data, whether it’s a managed relational SQL database that’s globally distributed or a multi-model NoSQL database designed for any scale.


When you decide cloud, one of the critical decisions you face is which database to use – SQL or NoSQL. Though SQL has an impressive track record, NoSQL is not far behind as it is gradually making notable gains and has many proponents. Once you have picked your database, the other big decision to make is which cloud vendor to choose amongst the many vendors.

 

Here’s where you consider Gartner’s prediction; the research company published a document that states

“Public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud, are innovation juggernauts that offer highly operating-cost-competitive alternatives to traditional, on-premises hosting environments.

Cloud databases are now essential for emerging digital business use cases, next-generation applications and initiatives such as IoT. Gartner recommends that enterprises make cloud databases the preferred deployment model for all new business processes, workloads, and applications. As such, architects and tech professionals should start building a cloud-first data strategy now, if they haven’t done so already”


Reinstating the trend, recently Gartner has published a new magic quadrant for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) that – surprising nobody – has Amazon Web Services and Microsoft alone in the leader’s quadrant and a few others thought outside of the box.

 

Now, the question really is, Azure or AWS for your cloud data? Or should it be both? Here’s a quick comparison table to guide you.

 

 

Click here to read the entire guide published by Microsoft Azure Team:

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AWS, Azure

In line with our latest blog series highlighting how common cloud services are made available via Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as published by Microsoft, this third blog in the series helps you understand Cloud Networking and Content Delivery capabilities of both Azure and AWS.

 

Before we jumpstart on the actual comparison chart of Azure and AWS, we would like to bring you some basics on cloud content delivery networking and the current trends on the subject.

If you would rather like to have quick look at the comparison table, click here

 

When we talk about cloud Content Delivery Network (CDN) and the related networking capabilities it includes all the hardware and software that allows you to easily provision private networks, connect your cloud application to your on-premises datacenters, and more.

 

According to Gartner, Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a type of distributed computing infrastructure, where devices (servers or appliances) reside in multiple points of presence on multi-hop packet-routing networks, such as the Internet, or on private WANs. A CDN can be used to distribute rich media downloads or streams, deliver software packages and updates, and provide services such as global load balancing, Secure Sockets Layer acceleration and dynamic application acceleration via WAN optimization techniques.

 

In simpler terms, this highly distributed server platforms are optimized to deliver content in a way that improves customer experience. Hence, it is important to decrease latency by keeping the data closer to the users, protect it from security threats while ensuring rapid streamlined content delivery including general web delivery, content purge, content caching and tracking history as long as 90 days.

 

As per G2Crowd.com, most organizations use CDN services, such as web caching, request routing, and server-load balancing, to reduce load times and improve website performance. Further to qualify as a CDN provider, a service provider must:

 

  • Allow access to a geographically dispersed network of PoPs in multiple data centers
  • Help websites access this network to deliver content to website visitors
  • Offer services designed to improve website performance
  • Provide scalable Internet bandwidth allowances according to customer needs
  • Maintain data center(s) of servers to reduce the possibility of overloading individual instances

 

 

With this background, let’s look at the AWS vs Azure comparison chart in terms of Networking and Content Delivery Capabilities:

 

 

To read more about the Microsoft guide which briefs all about cloud by drawing comparisons between Azure or AWS, click here (link to PDF download)

 

You may also like to read our previous blogs in these series, if so, please click here:

http://cloudiqtech.com/azure-vs-aws-compute/
http://cloudiqtech.com/aws-vs-azure-cloud-storage/

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AWS, Azure
Azure or AWS or Azure & AWS? What’s your cloud strategy for Storage?

This is our second blog, in our latest blog series helping you understand all about cloud, especially when you are in doubt whether to go Azure or AWS or both.

 

To read our first blog talking about Cloud strategy in general and Compute in particular, click here…

 

Moving on, in this blog let’s find what Azure or AWS offer when it comes to Storage Capabilities for your Cloud Infrastructure.

 

Globally CIOs are increasingly looking to cease running their own data centers and move to cloud which is evident when we read the projection made by a leading researcher, MarketsandMarkets. They had reported that the global cloud storage business sector to grow from $18.87 billion in 2015 to $65.41 billion by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.2 percent during the forecast period.

 

Reinstating the fact, 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise survey last year stated that Public cloud storage spending will double by next year (2017). “IT managers are recognizing the need for storage transformation to meet the realities of the new digital economy, especially in terms of improved efficiency and agility in the face of relentless data growth,” said Simon Robinson, research vice president at 451 and research director of the new Voice of the Enterprise: Storage service. “It’s clear from our Q4 study that emerging options, especially public cloud storage and all-flash array technologies, will be increasingly important components in this transformation” he added further.

 

As we see, many companies are in for Cloud Storage, undoubtedly. But the big question – Whom to choose from a gamut of leading public cloud players including big players like AZURE, AWS; Should it be AZURE alone for your cloud storage or AWS or a combination of both still prevails.

 

This needs a thorough understanding. To help you decide for good, we have decided to re-produce a guide, published by Microsoft that briefs Azure‘s capabilities in comparison to AWS when it comes to Cloud Strategy. And we will see the Storage part in this blog, but before, that a little backgrounder on Cloud Storage.

 

When we talk about cloud storage device mechanisms, we include all logical units of data storage covering from files, blocks, and datasets to objects and their relative storage interfaces. These instances of virtual storage devices are designed specifically for cloud-based provisioning and can be scaled as per need. It is to be noted that different cloud service consumers utilize different technologies to interface with virtualized cloud storage devices.

 

 

For a more detailed understanding download the document here

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AWS, Azure

Surprisingly, as per an article published by Gartner, “Cloud Computing is still perplexing to many CIOs even after a decade of cloud’. While cloud computing is a foundation for digital business, Gartner estimates that less than one-third of enterprises have a documented cloud strategy. This indeed comes as a surprise given the fact that cloud has evolved from a disruption to the indispensable tech of today and tomorrow, all along strategically adopted by many progressive companies.

 

In the same article Donna Scott, Vice President and distinguished analyst at Gartner states that “Cloud computing will become the dominant design style for new applications and for refactoring a large number of existing applications over the next 10-plus years”. She also added that “A cloud strategy clearly defines the business outcomes you seek, and how you are going to get there. Having a cloud strategy will enable you to apply its tenets quickly with fewer delays, thus speeding the arrival of your ultimate business outcomes.”

 

However, it is easier said than done. Many top businesses still have questions like how to make the most from cloud computing? What kind of architectures and techniques need to be strategized to support the many flavors of evolving cloud computing? Private or Public? Hybrid or Public? Azure or AWS, or it should be a hybrid combo?

 

Through a series of blogs we intent to bring answers to these questions. As a first one, we would like to highlight and represent a comparative cloud service map focusing on both Azure and AWS both leaders in public cloud platforms, as published by Microsoft.

 

The well-researched article draws detailed comparisons between Azure and AWS and how common cloud services across parameters such as Marketplace, Compute, Storage, Networking, Database, Analytics, Big Data, Intelligence, IOT, Mobile and Enterprise Integration are made available via Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS)

 

It should be noted that as prominent public cloud platforms providers, Azure and AWS each offer businesses a wide and comprehensive capabilities across the globe. Many organizations have chosen either one of them or both depending upon their needs in order to gain more agility, and flexibility while minimizing the risk and maximizing the larger benefits of a multi-cloud environment.

 

For starters, let’s start with COMPUTE and the points one should consider and compare before deciding the Azure or AWS approach or a combination of both.

 


For a more detailed understanding download the document here

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Azure

Cloud based Video Analysis is an upcoming field that strives to solve and automate video analysis in real time or near real time. The engine that drives the solution is set of cloud based APIs supported by Cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud etc. These APIs are built on top of Computer Vision, Face Recognition and Object Tracking. All these APIs are REST based and take a video frame or set of frames and return a JSON document that summarizes the analysis result and the percentage of confidence. To achieve real time or near real time analysis the enterprise solution needs to address the following constraints:

 

  • Process streaming video input into smaller frame set and process them in parallel – This allows for efficient processing
  • Use advanced heuristics and machine learning to minimize calls to API – the cloud APIs for cognitive services are priced by the number of calls. And hence using heuristics to infer results based on Machine Learning will reduce overall cost.

 

Use-case solved:

The solution we built here streams a live video stream from a series of traffic cameras operating simultaneously and trying to find vehicles that are infringing red lights and vehicles that are pulled over curbs. We also filter out sensitive content from video if the frames match the criteria and need to be displayed on the User Interface.

 

Solution:

The streaming video is broken down into frame-set of 10 seconds. These frames are then queued up in a Azure Service Bus Queue. An Azure function then analyzes the frames for existence of objects using an open source Computer Vision library. The frames with no objects are not sent to Cognitive Services. We also do other heuristics and CV analysis to pre-determine if a call to Cloud API for cognitive services is needed at all. Once a frame-set is marked ready for cognitive services it is sent to a different Service Bus Queue. Another Azure function makes a call to cognitive services and gathers statistics of the frame set. Based on configurations, the azure function determines which frames are identified for the match and forwards them to another Service Bus Queue. A third azure function processes these frame-sets and blurs sensitive content on these frame-sets and stores them in Azure Blob Storage. The matched content can be viewed in a Node Js, Angular 2 based web application running in Azure Container Service.

 

Design:

realtime-video

 

Results & Conclusion:
  • Able to achieve real time analysis with minimal API cost
  • Able to scale horizontally for multiple video streams
  • Able to achieve multiple analysis objectives on video streams
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AWS, AWS RDS, Azure, SQL Server
We are evaluating pros and cons of different hosting solutions for SQL Server which best suits our business needs.  
Our business needs
Our demand is very predictable seasonal demand. We are very small and can’t afford dedicated team for managing database infrastructure.( No DBA Team) Sky high expectation from Customers on availability and reliability for about 2 months in a year. Few minutes of downtown during peak period can cause havoc to our business . Fixed budget with very little wiggle room.   Our plan is to evaluate AWS SQL Server RDS, Azure RDS , Managed solutions from hosting provider. Evaluate each option in these categories.
  1. Performance and Reliability
  2. Ability to scale up during peak loads
  3. Cost ( Based on Network , Storage, Memory and CPU )
  4. Operations Efficiency
  5. Compliance
Infrastructure Requirements :

SQL Server Enterprise Edition since we use enterprise features AlwaysOn Availability group for High Availability Geo Replication or Multi Availability zone implementation for Cloud based databases Ability to route Read/Write workloads 128 Gig RAM – Minimum 1 – 2 TB Storage with 500 Gigs of SSD for TempDB Database and High Volume Tables Memory Optimized OLTP Support which needs SQL Server 2016 Edition Ability to handle ~ 30 K IOPS during peak load.

Amazon AWS SQL Server RDS
RDS Pricing Link :    AWS SQL Server RDS Pricing http://www.ec2instances.info/rds/?selected=db.r3.8xlarge
Enterprise Edition  Single-AZ Deployment
  Price Per Hour
Memory Optimized Instances – Current Generation
db.r3.2xlarge $5.810
db.r3.4xlarge $11.404
db.r3.8xlarge $19.271
 
Multi-AZ Deployment
  Price Per Hour
Memory Optimized Instances – Current Generation
db.r3.2xlarge $11.620
db.r3.4xlarge $22.808
db.r3.8xlarge $38.542

AWS SQL Server RDS Configurations On-Demand for SQL Server (License Included) Multi-AZ Deployment Region:  US East (N. Virginia) Memory Optimized Instances – Current Generation Price Per Hour RAM : 244 GB 10 Gigabit 32 vCPU 20,000 Provisioned IOPS  
db.r3.8xlarge 244 GB 2 x 320 SSD Intel Xeon E5-2670 v2 (Ivy Bridge) 32 vCPUs 10 Gigabit

https://aws.amazon.com/rds/sqlserver/pricing/
Azure Pricing Calculator

Azure performance is measured in DTU. We have been collecting our performance metrics during load test. The following link provides lightweight utility to convert perfmon counters to Azure DTU’s.


Perfmon Counters to Azure DTU Conversion Utility Link:
Perfmon to Azure DTU calculator

Understanding DTUs Based on Microsoft definition :https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/sql-database-service-tiers/  

The Database Transaction Unit (DTU) is the unit of measure in SQL Database that represents the relative power of databases based on a real-world measure: the database transaction. We took a set of operations that are typical for an online transaction processing (OLTP) request, and then measured how many transactions could be completed per second under fully loaded.


Azure RDS Pricing Calculator Link
 : Azure RDS Pricing Calculator

Azure SQL Server Pricing Calculator
Azure Options for SQL Server

  https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/sql-database/

Basic
eDTUs PER POOL MAX STORAGE PER POOL 1 MAX DBs PER POOL MAX eDTUs PER DATABASE PRICE 2
100 10 GB 200 5 ~$149/mo
200 20 GB 400 5 ~$298/mo
400 39 GB 400 5 ~$595/mo
800 78 GB 400 5 ~$1,198/mo
1200 117 GB 400 5 ~$1,800/mo
Standard
eDTUs PER POOL MAX STORAGE PER POOL 1 MAX DBs PER POOL MAX eDTUs PER DATABASE PRICE 2
100 100 GB 200 100 ~$223/mo
200 200 GB 400 100 ~$446/mo
400 400 GB 400 100 ~$900/mo
800 800 GB 400 100 ~$1,800/mo
1200 1.2 TB 400 100 ~$2,701/mo
Premium
eDTUs PER POOL MAX STORAGE PER POOL 1 MAX DBs PER POOL MAX eDTUs PER DATABASE PRICE 2
125 250 GB 50 125 ~$697/mo
250 500 GB 50 250 ~$1,399/mo
500 750 GB 50 500 ~$2,790/mo
1000 750 GB 50 1000 ~$5,580/mo
1500 750 GB 50 1000 ~$8,370/mo
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