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Record-breaking rise in global cloud infrastructure spend between Q3 and Q4

Synergy Research Group’s fourth-quarter look at the cloud infrastructure market reveals a huge jump in sequential spend since the third quarter

Spending on public cloud infrastructure services grew sequentially by $2.8bn during the fourth quarter of 2019 – the largest incremental rise the market has ever seen.

That is according to Synergy Research Group’s quarterly market data, which tracks the performance of the major players in the cloud infrastructure services space, which includes the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Google, IBM and Oracle.

But although the market’s quarter-on-quarter growth hit new highs, Synergy’s data also suggests that the sector’s year-on-year growth is slowly trending down as the size of the overall market continues to grow.

Amazon remains the supplier to beat in the public cloud space with a 33% share, but second-place provider Microsoft continues to narrow the gap, with its market share increasing by three percentage points over the past year to 18%.

As previously reported by Computer Weekly, Amazon’s most recent fourth-quarter financial results saw the firm report a 34% year-on-year growth in revenue, while arch-rival Microsoft posted a markedly higher year-on-year growth figure of 62%.

In third place is Google (8%), followed by IBM (6%), Alibaba (5%) and Salesforce (3%), while Oracle, Tencent and Rackspace each account for 2% of the market.   

“Google, Alibaba and Tencent are substantially outpacing overall market growth and are gaining market share,” said Synergy in a research note. “All three saw revenues increase by 50% or more, year on year.

“Four other cloud providers have substantial market share, but are somewhat niche players and typically have lower growth rates – IBM, Salesforce, Oracle and Rackspace. There is than a long tail of cloud providers with a small market share.”

The past week has seen many major cloud providers publish their Q4 financial results, which Synergy Research Group has collated to reveal that the cloud infrastructure services market generated revenue of $27bn for the three months to 31 December. Over the full year, the market’s revenue hit $96bn.

Read more about cloud adoption trends

“Public IaaS [infrastructure as a service] and PaaS [platform as a service] services account for the bulk of the market, and those grew by 38% in Q4,” said Synergy. “In public cloud, the dominance of the top five providers is even more pronounced, as they control over three-quarters of the market. Geographically, the cloud market continues to grow strongly in all regions of the world.”

The market is now more than twice the size it was in 2017, said John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy Research Group, and some interesting trends are emerging.

“Given secular trends in the market, we will continue to see strong growth,” he said. “We will also see a continuing battle for market position between the global giants and smaller cloud providers that have a more focused geographic or service footprint.”

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

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