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Unlike Amazon and Google, Microsoft was not born in the cloud and, to its credit, has not let its on-premises legacy drag it down like a ball and chain.


  • The Azure platform’s strongest differentiator is its hybrid cloud support, which builds on the legacy of Microsoft’s on-premises database and analytics tools.
  • While underlying architectures of data platforms in the Azure portfolio are quite distinct, the functionality of the platforms often overlaps because many of them are multipurpose (e.g., OLTP and analytics, or support of multiple models) by design.
  • The Azure platform and its rivals have database portfolios of similar breadth; however, they differentiate in how they package these capabilities and their integration with related services in the portfolio.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses the Microsoft Azure data platform and compares it to principal rivals AWS and Google Cloud.
  • Analyzes how Microsoft differentiates the Azure data platform portfolio.

Key questions answered

  • How does the Microsoft Azure data platform portfolio compare to that of AWS and Google Cloud?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Azure data platform?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for enterprises
  • Recommendations for vendors


  • Focus on Microsoft Azure's managed data platforms
  • The standard checklist
  • The checklist expands

The role of hybrid in the Azure database portfolio

  • Convergence theme
  • Azure SQL Database and SQL Server
  • Power BI versus SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)
  • Azure Analysis Services versus SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS)
  • Hybrid databases: Comparison with Amazon and Google Cloud platforms

SQL relational databases

  • A portfolio of choices
  • Azure SQL Database
  • SQL Server Stretch Database
  • Open source relational databases

Data warehouse

  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse

Globally distributed multimodel database and data cache with native support for NoSQL

  • Azure Cosmos DB
  • Azure Cache for Redis

Big data services

  • Azure HDInsight
  • Azure Databricks
  • Key supporting service: Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 (ADLS Gen2)


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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