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Microsoft Azure OpenAI vs OpenAI - How do you choose?

July 2, 2024
By ProArch

Across organizations, business leaders are keen on adopting AI to improve day-to-day operations, automate repetitive tasks, and boost employee productivity. However, they often struggle to choose the right technology, identify high-impact business use cases, and ensure the scalability and security of the AI models.

At ProArch, one of the most frequent inquiries we get from our clients during AI consulting engagements is how to choose between the two most popular platforms – Microsoft Azure Open AI and Open AI. Business leaders are keen to understand each one's advantages, such as speed, cost-effectiveness, and overall performance. We thought it would be helpful to sit down with our expert on AI consulting, Sushma Reddy, and get her views on choosing the right OpenAI platform.

Let's first understand what OpenAI and Microsoft Azure OpenAI are and their focus areas, products, and differences.

OpenAI— OpenAI is an independent technology and research organization focused on developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and democratizing them for safe, secure, and responsible usage across industries and organizations. Their primary focus area is the research and development of AI models like the GPT series, DALL-E, Codex, and more. Their major offerings include API access, research publications, best practices, and ethical considerations when using AI.

Microsoft Azure OpenAI— Microsoft Azure OpenAI is a collaboration between Microsoft and OpenAI that provides Azure customers access to OpenAI's powerful models. Their partnership extends the benefits of implementing AI models with Azure's cloud services. The main focus is building and deploying business-ready AI solutions.

Microsoft's Azure OpenAI offerings include Azure Cognitive Services, Azure OpenAI Services, and Copilot Studio, among other enterprise solutions. Organizations can seamlessly integrate these offerings with different services and tools by leveraging Microsoft's comprehensive technological ecosystem. This integration enables the development of scalable, secure, and streamlined solutions that can interact with Azure Data Lake, Azure Synapse Analytics, Power BI, and more.

Areas to consider while choosing between Microsoft Azure OpenAI and OpenAI

  1. Integration: For organizations already using Microsoft applications, choosing Microsoft OpenAI is the easiest way to ensure seamless integration with existing applications and technologies. It also provides a faster development and adoption curve for business users and development teams.
  2. Security: Microsoft Entra ID offers seamless integration with Microsoft APIs with minimal effort, while OpenAI demands additional steps to implement security best practices. Microsoft Entra ID is a managed service by Microsoft, eliminating the need for self-hosting or management, whereas OpenAI requires self-hosting and manual management. With Microsoft Entra ID, there are no additional costs for scalability or availability, whereas OpenAI may require extra expenses. Microsoft Entra ID provides a streamlined experience with built-in security, while OpenAI involves more manual setup and considerations.
  3. Language Models: OpenAI is the technology organization behind developing advanced language models like GPT-3, DALL-E, and more. These models have astonishing capabilities in natural language processing and are continuously upgraded. Microsoft Azure OpenAI provides access to these language models using Azure OpenAI services. With its extensive technological capabilities, it helps organizations use these large language models to build their own customized Chat GPTs.
  4. Support: With its extensive partner network, Microsoft Azure OpenAI provides additional support and consulting services and can help you choose the correct configuration based on your needs. In some of our pilot engagements for our clients, we leveraged ProArch's partnership to get premium support, enabling us to serve our clients better.
  5. Open-Source community: OpenAI has a vast community focused entirely on AI projects, best practices, and applications. Microsoft's community extends beyond AI and is more focused on the practical implementation of AI for organizations.
  6. Costs: OpenAI pricing is straightforward and based on token usage. It suits individual developers and smaller teams looking for direct API access. Azure also charges based on token usage, but additional costs might be associated with the broader Azure ecosystem.
Feature Microsoft Azure OpenAI OpenAI
Integration Seamless integration with Microsoft applications Requires additional steps for integration
Security Microsoft Entra ID provides managed services with no extra cost Self-hosting and manual management required
Language Models Access to advanced models via Azure OpenAI services Technology organization behind models like GPT-3, DALL-E
Support Extensive partner network and consulting services Focused community on AI projects and best practices
Open-Source Community Practical implementations of AI for organizations Wide community focused on AI projects
Costs Token usage + potential additional Azure ecosystem costs Straightforward token-based pricing

*Some other factors to consider are – long-term strategy, business requirements and use-cases, availability of wide range of LLM's, in-house talent to implement and maintain AI, and ability to test and secure your AI systems.

Implementing AI with Microsoft Azure OpenAI Services

As a Microsoft Partner, ProArch has deep expertise in the Microsoft Technology Stack enabling organizations to navigate their AI transformation with precision and confidence. We ensure that businesses enjoy their AI journey and gain significant technical advantages by leveraging the right technologies. However, businesses must recognize that their AI journey is unique. Knowing where to start and how to select the proper use cases is paramount to success, and this is where having an expert partner becomes invaluable.

Microsoft is committed to developing responsible AI with ethical considerations crucial for enterprise-level AI implementations. By partnering with ProArch and choosing Microsoft Azure OpenAI services, organizations can confidently navigate the complex AI landscape, accelerate their digital transformation, and unlock new levels of innovation and efficiency. Let us help you harness the full potential of AI with a solution tailored to your unique business needs. Contact us.

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