Even though Amazon Web Services is still the leader in the market for cloud infrastructure, Microsoft Azure is experiencing a growth rate that is twice that of AWS. Partly this is because those who have used the servers and the desktop software of Microsoft are choosing to stick with the software giant since the Azure cloud technology has come of age.
“AWS will continue to benefit from its first-mover advantage … But Microsoft’s substantial growth, driven by its huge enterprise installed base, compatibility with its Office portfolio and enhanced hybrid cloud solutions, means it will remain AWS’ closest competitor,” said a research analyst at Canalys, Daniel Liu.
Some of the renowned firms which have all picked Microsoft rather than Amazon Web Services include Bentley Systems, a software developer; Publicis, an advertising firm and Parexel, a biopharmaceutical company. According to a Publicis vice president, Arun Karur, Microsoft’s strength lies in its pedigree as an enterprise software firm.
Karur added that the advertising giant had made a decision to have their public cloud use centralized on Azure and all its legacy were being moved over to Azure from Amazon Web Services. The same has happened with Bentley Systems which has been using both Azure and AWS but made the former the primary cloud provider when Microsoft demonstrated its full commitment to the cloud.
Cloud infrastructure pioneer
Despite having a brief tenure in the enterprise market, Amazon Web Services became a pioneer of cloud infrastructure a little over a decade ago by allowing developers to sign up with a view to building apps and websites. AWS also allowed the running of workloads thereby removing the need for developers to purchase their own hardware but instead renting the storage and compute capacity.
During its brief history Amazon Web Services has built a worldwide sales force as well as bolstered service agreements with a view to meeting the demands of big firms. The growth rate of Amazon Web Services also remains impressive. In the most recent quarterly report, AWS grew at a rate of 42% with revenues reaching $4.58 billion. According to the chief financial officer of Amazon, Brian Olsavsky, the usage growth of AWS is faster than revenue growth.
In the same quarter the revenues of Microsoft Azure grew by 90%. Microsoft Azure’s growth rate for the last eight quarters has been higher than that of Amazon Web Services. Per Synergy Research Group, Azure’s share of the market is 12% while that of Amazon Web Services is 34%.