Why Azure is Running the Sochi Olympics and Not AWS

Not so many people decided to travel to Sochi, Russia to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics. I’m not surprised. Who wants to go to Russia this time of year? Actually, I do, but not to Sochi. Especially when I can watch the Olympic events from any and every screen I own.

The streaming of this world event is backed by Microsoft’s Azure cloud servers - 10,000 of them cores to be exact. You might wonder why it’s Azure that’s backing this and not AWS.

I’m sure there are a number of reasons that I don’t have any visibility to, but one reason is that Azure is more than just a cloud containment system. That’s my term. Let me throw out another one. Azure is a cloud containment and intelligent content system. I love making up terms.

What I mean is that Azure does not, like AWS, stop at creating highly commoditized and ultra low-cost servers in the cloud. It does do that - in fact, Azure matches AWS’s price, so you can’t save money using AWS. But it doesn’t stop there. Azure offers a myriad of services on this platform.

Let me draw an analogy. AWS is like a deliver fleet of trucks. You hire them for the space and the engines that deliver your goods. Azure is a fleet of trucks with customized features - trucks with refrigerator units, trucks with tankers specially sanitized for carrying potable milk, trucks with concrete mixers, and trucks with that meet the Defense Departments security standards.

It’s perhaps a bit like this.

I’m not sure how the helicopter fits with the analogy except just to add a little bit of awesome.

Microsoft created Azure’s media services originally for the 2002 2012 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City London, and they put all of that work into the now highly (and economically) available Azure Media Services. That means that all of the platforms capability is available not only for the Olympic Games, but also for your company’s massive project or your personal app.

To be clear and fair, AWS is not actually devoid of PaaS offerings. It’s been ramping up on it’s PaaS offerings over the last two years through some innovations and some creative acquisitions. I think it’s clear to everyone in this space that the future is rich with opportunity for our tasks to be served easily and efficiently from cloud services, and we all look forward to the abolition of unnecessary workloads such as server maintenance without the sacrifice of performance or feature sets.

Head on over to windowsazure.com and sign up for a free trial and see how easy it is to create a Media Service or any other kind of truck you need today.