Cloud maturity: AWS leads but Microsoft almost doubles cloud revenue

Amazon Web services has grown its lead over rival public cloud providers, while Microsoft experienced 96% year-on-year growth

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has grown its lead over rival public cloud providers, while Microsoft experienced 96% year-on-year growth in 2014.

Analyst Synergy estimated quarterly cloud infrastructure service revenues – including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service, private cloud and hybrid cloud – have reached the $5bn milestone, with trailing 12-month revenues exceeding $16bn.

Total cloud revenues for 2014 grew by 48% from the previous year.

The revenue growth illustrates growing acceptance of public cloud services in the enterprise, particularly with demand for IaaS.

Synergy noted that in 2014, AWS's share of the worldwide market was 28%, followed by Microsoft (10%), IBM (7%), Google (5%), Salesforce (4%) and Rackspace (3%).

Synergy Research Group chief analyst and research director John Dinsdale said the momentum built up at AWS and Microsoft is particularly impressive.

“They have an ever-broadening portfolio of services and they are also benefitting from a slowdown in the super-aggressive price competition that was a feature of the first half of 2014,” he said.

Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak recently confirmed the company’s commitment to growing shareholder value in the AWS business by putting its cloud business on the company’s balance sheet.

At its re:Invent conference in 2014, Amazon launched a relational database engine called Amazon Aurora, which will target traditional enterprise database offerings from Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has continued to portray Azure Active Directory and Office 365 as entry points into the company’s public cloud. 

Microsoft claims to have more than 350m Azure Active Directory customers, and it is at the heart of Microsoft’s device management strategy, which spans desktop devices, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

AWS UK and Ireland managing director Iain Gavin recently said in an interview that unlike traditional IT suppliers, cloud services do not require the same level of frenetic activity to close deals.

"We are not there to close a deal at the end of a quarter because the customer determines when they use AWS and can come and go as they please," he said.

Arguably, it is this flexibility that has made public cloud services attractive to businesses. 

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