Making the right choice: Amazon AWS storage Vs Azure Vs own Data-center

Cloud backup or on-premises backup, the decision is not an easy one. With Cloud data centers, of course, you are concerned with keeping your data safe from the loss, but you also want to ensure that you are abiding by compliance regulations within your geographical area. Local data servers provide you with the physical control you need. Cloud providers Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services offer you the convenience of doing the hard work for you.

What this article is about:

To help you decide what the best choice for your business is, we’ve put together this handy guide showcasing the benefits and downsides of using a local data server, Microsoft Azure, or Amazon Web Services.

Local Data Servers

There is some comfort in keeping all your data stored in on-site servers. You have little to no need to worry about internet connectivity to these servers. A simple network with local devices allows users to connect, retrieve and store information. With the data physically controlled, you remain in compliance with all local and international privacy laws.

Upgrading your servers is as simple as purchasing new hardware and installing it. You have the flexibility to grow or shrink your server bank as needed. This ability allows you to change your equipment to meet the demands of your company without an increased monthly service fee.

There are some aspects of housing data locally of which you may not be fully aware. To build your storage center, you must purchase the hardware and software infrastructure. Additionally, you must hire staff to keep the servers up and running.


  • Complete control
  • Easy upgrade/downgrade capability
  • No need for Internet connectivity
  • You control security


  • Higher cost to initially install
  • Cost of staff to maintain
  • Possible uncontrolled downtime
  • Manual Software updating/patching required

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Azure Cloud Storage

When it comes to off-site, or “cloud,” storage Microsoft’s Azure service is easily one of the two biggest names. No surprise, here. The software giant has worked hard over the last seven years to build a service that is stable, secure, and scalable to meet customer needs.

Azure’s cloud backup solution is designed to work well with Microsoft Windows, Visual Studio, and TFS. The Active Directory integrates in a way that allows you to use the same Active Directory account to sign into cloud services such as Azure SQL and Office 365.

Like most cloud storage service providers, Azure provides basic service categories such as Computer, Data Management, Performance, and Networking. Service security relies on a combination of Active Directory, both Azure and Federation Services models, and Multi-factor authentication. Microsoft also employs a role based access control for companies in which Group Policies wouldn’t apply.

However, not everyone, even cloud providers, is ready to put their trust solely in the cloud. You may want some physical on-premises backup servers to feel like you are still in control. That is where a hybrid solution may be your best choice. You can have some files secured locally while everything else hangs out in the cloud. When considering hybrid capabilities, Azure is no slouch.

Per Microsoft’s Azure website, “True hybrid isn’t just about infrastructure and connectivity – it offers consistency across your infrastructure, applications, identity, and data.” Microsoft has answered the needs of their customers by offering platforms such as Hybrid SQL Server and Azure Stack. Both programs allow users to run complex applications and deploy infrastructures on the cloud while seamlessly switching to local servers for some processes.

As with all cloud backup options, licensing may be an issue. While this may change in the future, there may be instances where you pay twice to use a product, especially if you are running a hybrid situation. For example, if you run Windows Server on your local system and then spit up a virtual machine on Azure’s server running the same stack, you may end up paying for the additional Windows Server license. Not all licenses don’t transfer into the cloud. SQL Server licenses can be used in both locations, for example.

For those interested in storing massive volume, Microsoft Azure’s Blob storage solution is best. It is cost effective and offers tiered storage. Long-term backup can be placed in cool storage, which costs less per month to utilize. However, if you have a hot on-demand video that all your clients and employees need access to on a regular basis, you can do that too. Hot storage, which is only slightly more expensive, is for frequently accessed files.

With Blob storage, you have the option to edit an object in place. Once a data set is changed, the service then checks all areas to ensure that the latest version is available for consumer usage. This cloud backup solution allows for an image, video, audio, and document storage.


  • Hybrid capabilities
  • Seamless use of Active Directory accounts
  • Simple scale up/down solutions
  • Multi-factor Authentication for greater security


  • Not all licenses qualify for mobility meaning you may pay twice
  • Not as open source friendly as Amazon, but is becoming more so
  • Not as familiar in government settings

Amazon Web Services

When it comes to cloud backup solutions, Amazon Web Services, better known as AWS, is king. They have the crown for a good reason. They were the first in the game, utilizing idle computing power the company had invested in for their e-commerce business. With that experience comes state of the art cloud which includes not just computation and data management, but also storage, content delivery and networking.

Amazon is no slouch when it comes to security. While Azure uses multi-factor authentication and Active Directory based security services, Amazon utilizes their own security and identity services. AWS does host Active Directory for those who want to have the freedom of combining their cloud backup options with their other Active Directory accounts. However, they also use AWS Identity Management and AWS Certificate Manager to allow you to manage all SSL/TLS certificates. You can also use the AWS CloudHSM for hardware-based key storage.

In addition to the AWS Certificate Manager and Identity Manager, AWS employs multilevel security on the operating system level. Virtual instances, app-level API, and virtual guest OS keeps computational data safe. The Xen hypervisor enables different permission levels for each user or guest. Amazon also uses isolation instances to ensure there are no data conflicts while data is moved on their virtual machines.

Per the AWS site, “The AWS infrastructure puts strong safeguards in place to help protect customer privacy. Security scales with your AWS cloud usage. No matter the size of your business the AWS infrastructure is designed to keep data safe.”

Being HIPAA, ITAR, DISA, CJIS, and FIPS compliant is an important step for any cloud service. Both AWS and Azure have security compliance standards in place to meet these needs. However, AWS has been employing these standards from the beginning. Their longevity in this arena has given them an edge when it comes to procuring government contracts. In fact, AWS hosts two cloud locations within the US for United States government services only.

Across the globe, AWS currently has 42 data centers with more planned in Paris and Ningxia soon. Customers can choose which region their data is stored in when setting up their account, however, once the data center is chosen it may be difficult to change later.

The newest wave of technology is containers which allow smaller virtual machines to spin up without having to utilize a larger virtual overhead. While containers are still relatively new, their Linux-based operation has allowed Amazon to be one of the first to take advantage of the Docker technology. With the code finally spilling over into Windows, Azure is slowly beginning to accept some container like data centers.

Like with everything else, Amazon’s open source policy has been in place for far longer than Azure. The company’s infrastructure was built on Linux-based technology making it more user-friendly for those wanting to run open source applications. AWS comes with a host of integrated open source tools to help your company continue to grow.

What does all this mean for storage? With Amazon, their S3 service offers durable, scalable cloud offerings. The AWS S3 service gives customers geo-redundancy to protect their stored data. This cloud backup solution is designed to support databases including Oracle and SAP in addition to lumps of data, images, or videos.


  • Open source friendly
  • Database storage available on the same tier as blob storage
  • Longest in the Business
  • Government approved security
  • Docker-friendly
  • Choose your storage location


  • Not as hybrid friendly
  • No visual studio online
  • Pricing not as streamlined as Azures


Amazon is king, there is no doubt. The service has been around for over a decade, leading the way in cloud technology. They continue to integrate newer technologies to make their services better than before. While they still need to work on hybrid system cloud backup, their offerings can’t be beaten.

That doesn’t mean that Azure is a service to be avoided. Windows users can find seamless integration with the cloud backup solutions offered by Microsoft’s cloud computing branch. The biggest downside to using Azure is their lagging in government compliance. They are compliant across all major areas of governmental concern now. However, their lack in the past has made them not as popular in gaining key contracts.

Both companies offer the freedom that using a local data center does not. Automation with backup is a key component and having servers that are guaranteed active over 99.99% of the time is crucial. Local data centers require attention and staff that smaller enterprises may not be able to give them. Patching servers require them to be brought offline while updates are installed, meaning there are times where users cannot access information. This could adversely affect productivity. Furthermore, redundancies for on-premises backup, which is a given part of cloud backup solutions, require the added cost of hardware, software, and personnel.

Cloud backup pricing is always a concern for those interested in the bottom line. However, when weighed against the cost of purchasing and maintaining a local bank of servers, the cost savings are apparent. Yes, there is an ongoing monthly, or yearly service fee. However, it is often negligible when compared to costs for personnel, hardware, and software. Both Amazon and Azure have pricing charts to help you find the right level of protection.

At CloudAlly we provide unlimited Amazon S3 storage and makes it available for restore or export. It takes only one click to backup/restore your cloud data. Start with a 14 day FREE TRIAL

The Importance of Regional Data Centers for Office 365 Backup

Choosing an Office 365 Backup

When it comes to Office 365 backup, there’s a lot of confusion about what’s appropriate for each small and medium-sized business.  Some people think that nothing else is needed, but Microsoft’s cloud backup comes with an unwanted element of risk.

Office 365 doesn’t offer daily backup and recovery services that make it easy to restore data removed from the recycle bin, nor is it prepared for unexpected malicious activity and data corruption caused by a 3rd party. That’s why additional cloud backup software services are so vital. But they’re not all created equal.

Many cloud backup companies offer a single data center and expect that to be enough, but it’s not. Cloud location matters. That’s why CloudAlly offers regional AWS (Amazon Web Services) data centers in the US, EU, and Australia.

Using regional data centers expands the reach of CloudAlly’s backup and recovery solutions to provide data backup while complying with the relevant laws across countries. Organizations have a legal and ethical obligation to protect and store their data according to the specifications of their region, and it’s only through regional cloud-based data storage that this is possible.

Why Regional Data Centers Matter

For European customers, CloudAlly’s EU data center makes it possible for businesses to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was recently adopted by the EU. In addition to satisfying the required data sovereignty concerns, the regional data center in Europe also decreases the latency times and increases efficiency for backing up, restoring, and exporting data for EU customers.

Office 365 Backup
As for U.S. customers with operations abroad, regional data backup and recovery centers in the EU and Australian provide the ability to comply with data requirements in other gee-regions. And for our Australian clients, our regional AWS data center complies with the Australian Privacy Policies (APPs) enforced by the Privacy Act.

So, why does location matter when it comes to Office 365 backup? Regional backups offer a few distinct competitive advantages.

1. Protection

Cloud backup failure and outages are rare, but they can and do happen. That’s why regional backup centers are so necessary. It’s also important and considered best practice to isolate you backups from the original source data. CloudAlly’s use of AWS data centers ensures that your backup data is still available even if there is a temporary service disruption in Microsoft Azure.
So, how is this different than other backup services? Let’s say you’re using a backup provider that stores data on Microsoft Azure. If Azure is unavailable for any reason, your company will lose access to both your backups and Office 365. With CloudAlly, even in the event of an Azure service disruption, you can still export your previous day’s backup in Outlook compatible .pst format and continue working locally until the Azure service is restored.

2. Latency

Response times for the end user are very important for Office 365 backup as well as cloud application use. In fact, response times have the most significant impact on user satisfaction. That’s why having regional data centers close to your users is important. The longer the distance your data has to travel, the greater potential for latency.

According to Verizon Enterprise, in North America the average network latency is about 40ms. However, trans-Atlantic latency between the U.S. and Europe is about 80ms almost double. That means if you’re a European company or an American business with most of its customers in Europe, they’ll experience twice the delay compared to their American counterparts.

CloudAlly is one of the few services to provide data center options in all major geo-regions including North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, making the service available to partners and clients around the world. Having these regional data centers also improves latency in another way, through a balanced workload.

The balanced workload model means that no one server is over-provisioned and that each regional data center is capable of handling the workload of another data center in the event an emergency should occur. This balance ensures that no one system is ever over-taxed or at risk of failure, which means you won’t need to worry about lag times or down times like you would with a cloud backup service with only a single data center.

3. Privacy

Regional data centers are becoming more and more important for global cloud growth, especially as surveillance controversies have increased the focus on data sovereignty and customer privacy. As more countries seek to keep their citizens’ data within their borders, cloud backup providers are discovering that single-location data centers do not suffice.

Different types of data have different locality requirements. At CloudAlly, we understand that multi-nationals sometimes have multiple Office 365 tenants for operations and/or subsidiaries in other geo-regions. Data privacy regulations require that data remain in its original geo-region, so with our data centers located in the US, EU, and Australia we help you ensure that you’re covered no matter where you’re located.

In addition, local data centers keep your data better protected from hijackers and keep it out from under the jurisdiction of countries that have nothing to do with your business or your customers. “Information flow through the Internet often involves transmission through many countries, traveling the path of least congestion,” describers Data Center Knowledge. “Any of these countries through which your data passes can claim jurisdiction—including countries where your traffic path may have been hijacked through hackers.”

There are also binding agreements between countries, which allows one country’s agents to require the assistance of another country to obtain information through mutual legal assistance treaties (MLAT). By keeping your data within your region, you minimize the risk of having to reveal private and secure data.

And CloudAlly adheres to the highest standards when it comes to privacy and data security. Our Office 365 Backup services comply with stringent EU privacy directives, plus we routinely conduct security audits and assessments to confirm that we continually meet those directives. In addition, all of our regional data centers have all necessary certifications (ISO 27001 and HIPPA) and undergo regular compliance audits for your protection.

Choosing CloudAlly Office 365 Backup

And when you choose CloudAlly’s Office 365 backup, you’re choosing a service that is compatible with more than one application. CloudAlly works with Gmail backup, SharePoint backup, OneDrive backup, and more. And all it takes are a few simple clicks to activate your backups for your entire company or a few selected users.

You can learn more about CloudAlly’s backup services by setting up a free trial or contact us today ++1 (424) 304-1959.

Australia Amazon Data Center

CloudAlly News – Australia Amazon Data Center, ISO Certification & Unlimited Storage

We are happy to announce that in addition to the Amazon U.S and E.U. data centers, you can now select the Amazon Australian datacenter for CloudAlly archive storage. This ensures that your data is in the appropriate physical location to address data privacy regulation.
You can contact to request a specific data center.

Amazon Data Center – ISO 27001 Certification

We’re also pleased to announce that we have achieved ISO 27001 certification, an internationally recognized accreditation for information security management. This certification recognizes CloudAlly’s ongoing commitment to secure cloud backup services by strict adherence to industry standard best practices. To achieve ISO 27001 certification, companies must strictly adhere to a number of disciplines including compliance, risk management, business continuity and security. This includes the design and implementation of extensive security controls and ongoing management of the process to maintain continued compliance. Read more