Are you ready to take the plunge into cloud computing?
Are you evaluating which cloud platform to study for?
Are you looking to enhance your technical expertise and become multi-cloud certified?
If the answer is yes, carry on!
One of the best way to start off learning any cloud platform is to take the cloud fundamentals certification. This blog is intended for folks who are relatively newer to the cloud and deciding between Azure and/or Amazon Web Services.
By the end of this article you would notice that there is overlap between the two cloud providers entry level exam, so if you are able to clear one, chances are you would be able to clear the other as well.
So, without further delay let’s get started – its AWS (CLF-C01) vs Azure (AZ-900) comparison of their entry level exams.
What does AWS offers as entry-level cloud certification?
The answer is – AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01). As per official AWS Exam Guide – This exam is intended for individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to demonstrate basic knowledge of the AWS platform, including: available services and their common use cases, AWS Cloud architectural principles (at the conceptual level), account security, and compliance. The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of AWS Cloud economics including: costs, billing, and analysis, and the value proposition of the AWS Cloud.
What does Azure offers as an entry-level cloud certification?
The answer is – Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900). As per official exam guide Azure Fundamentals exam is an opportunity to prove knowledge of cloud concepts, Azure services, Azure workloads, security and privacy in Azure, as well as Azure pricing and support. Candidates should be familiar with the general technology concepts, including concepts of networking, storage, compute, application support, and application development.
Let us do a compare of each section that is asked in the exam. For the purpose of simplicity and comparison, I’ve combined some sections to make it easier to digest
Section1: This section talks about general cloud computing concepts
|AWS – Cloud Concepts (26%)
|Azure – Describe Cloud Concepts (20-25%)
|Define the AWS Cloud and its value proposition
|Identify the benefits and considerations of using cloud services
|Topics include High Availability, Scalability, Elasticity,
Agility, and Disaster Recovery, Capex, Opex, Consumption based model.
|Identify aspects of AWS Cloud economics
|<<Azure covers cloud economics in first point>>
|Topics might include Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Business Agility, Operational Resilience, Staff Productivity
|List the different cloud architecture design principles
|Describe the differences between types of cloud computing
Describe the differences between categories of cloud services
|Topics might include Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud
Also included are Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, Serverless
Verdict: As you can see section 1 is very generic and not related to any one cloud provider in particular. If you prepare for either AWS or Azure, you are covered for both of them.
Section2: This section talks about various AWS vs Azure Services offered.
|AWS – Technology (33%)
|Azure – Describe Core Azure Services (15-20%)
Describe core solutions and management tools on Azure (10-15%)
|Define methods of deploying and operating in the AWS Cloud
|Describe core solutions available in Azure
|Both cloud providers have a the same offerings but call it by a different name – ECS vs Container Instances, Elastic Container Registry vs Container Registry, EKS vs AKS, CodeDeploy/CodeCommit/CodePipeline vs DevOps, Lambda vs Functions, IOT vs IOT Hub, Kinesis vs Event Hubs, SageMaker vs Machine Learning, Rekognition vs Cognitive Services, EMR vs Databricks, EMR vs HDInsight
|Define the AWS global infrastructure
|Describe the core Azure architectural components
|Both Cloud providers operate in regions, availability zones. Both have the concept of Virtual Network (or VPC).
AWS has organizations vs subscriptions in Azure. AWS has CloudFormation vs Resource Manager in Azure
|Identify the core AWS services
|Describe core resources available in Azure
|Both cloud providers have a the same offerings but call it by a different name – EC2 vs Virtual Machine, Auto Scaling vs Scale Sets, S3 vs Blob, DynamoDB vs CosmosDB, Elasticache vs Cache for Redis, RDS vs SQL Database (Azure has more varities), AWS Marketplace vs Azure Marketplace
|Identify resources for technology support
|Describe Azure management tools
|Both have different levels of support, CLI; Personal Health Dashboard vs Resource Health, Truster Advisor vs Advisor, CloudWatch vs Application Insights, CloudTrail vs Monitor, CloudFormation vs Resource Manager, CloudWatch vs Monitor,
Verdict: Similar to section 1, there is a lot of overlap in this section as well. Important point to note is that Azure has two sections for this instead of one for AWS. The naming convention might be different but the underlying services of what both cloud providers offer is the same.
Section 3: This section talks about Security and Compliance
|AWS – Security and Compliance (25%)
|Azure – Describe general security and network security features (10-15%)
Describe identity, governance, privacy, and compliance features (20-
|Define the AWS shared responsibility model
|<<Azure covers this is in Cloud Concepts>>
|<<Azure covers this is in Cloud Concepts>>
|Define AWS Cloud security and compliance concepts
|Describe Azure security features
Describe privacy and compliance resources
Describe Azure network security
|Both cloud providers offer same compliance policies and procedures(ISO, GDPR, NIST, etc), both offer DDoS protection, both offer dedicated hosts; Network Firewall vs Azure Firewall, KMS vs KeyVault, Security Hub vs Security Center, Artifact vs Service Trust Portal
|Identify AWS access management capabilities
|Describe core Azure identity services
Describe Azure governance features
|Topics Include IAM vs Azure Active Directory, IAM vs RBAC, Cognito vs Azure Active Directory, Organizations vs Policy (or Management Groups), ; both offer MFA, SSO, tags
|Identify resources for security support
|Describe Azure governance features
|Topics include Trust Advisor vs Advisor
Verdict: Again a lot of overlap in the services used. Azure has two separate sections one for security and other for identity and compliance, which in my opinion is the way to go about it.
Section4: This section talks about Billing and Pricing
|AWS – Billing and Pricing (16%)
|Azure – Describe Azure cost management and Service Level Agreements (10-
|Compare and contrast the various pricing models for AWS
|Describe methods for planning and managing costs
|Both cloud providers offer different pricing based on on-demand, reserved or spot instances;
|Recognize the various account structures in relation to AWS billing and pricing
|<<not included in AZ 900>
|Topics include BU, environment, Project-Based, Hybrid account structure,
|Identify resources available for billing support
|<<azure covers this in planning and managing costs>>
|Topics include cost explorer vs cost management, usage and billing report vs Billing API, tagging (available in both)
|<<not included in AWS CLF C01>
|Describe Azure Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and service lifecycles
|Topics include Public Preview and General Availability, usage of AZ, purpose of SLA’s for Azure services
Verdict: AWS doesn’t talk about SLA’s and service lifecycle at all in the CLF C01 exam, which is unusual. Remainder of the topics are more or less the same.
Conclusion: Both Amazon and Microsoft are market leaders in cloud offerings. To pass these certifications, familiarize yourself with the basic terms used in both the cloud platforms and you are good to go. Azure has streamlined the topics for the certifications much better. However, as you can see with so much overlap in the exam guides of AWS vs Azure, if you prepare for one, you can easily crack the other certification exam as well with minimal preparation.
Exam Preparation: You can check out our blogs here on how to prepare for these certs.
- Prepare for AWS Cloud Practitioner
- Complete List of AWS Blogs
- Azure Fundamentals
- Complete List of Azure Blogs
In the certification path, the next level up can be Amazon Web Services Solutions Architect and for Azure you have AZ-303 and AZ-304 to become Azure Solutions Architect – Expert.
To measure your AWS Cloud Practitioner (AWS CLF-C01) skills you can take our Practice Exams available here.
To measure your Azure Fundamental (AZ 900) skills you can take our Practice Exams and Flashcards available here.
You can also avail our AWS Solutions Architect exams on our marketplace. Click this link.
For more Practice exams, check out marketplace.reviewnprep.com.
Author: Haman Sharma is a life long learner and you can connect with him on LinkedIn.
Have questions? Participate in cloud certification discussions on our Forums. Click here.