Survey: AWS commands fierce loyalty

Customers stick with AWS religiously, but they're also interested in what other clouds have to offer as a complement

Survey: AWS commands fierce loyalty
Credit: Sharon Gaudin

AWS is the Hotel California of the cloud: You can check out anytime you like, but few people ever leave.

According to a new Intermedia survey, companies that move their IaaS or PaaS applications between clouds pick Amazon as their top destination. The survey was commissioned by Intermedia and polled IT managers in 300 U.S. organizations of 400 to 11,999 employees.

The largest slice of the companies polled -- 41 percent -- stated they had plans to use AWS in some form, with 57 percent of them already doing so.

Stick with me and you'll go places

Of the other clouds -- Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine, Oracle Cloud, and IBM Softlayer -- Azure placed second. It's currently used by 44 percent of those surveyed, with 33 percent of them eyeing Azure as a possible home for their IaaS or PaaS apps. The apps in question were ERP, file sync and share, server/file backup, CRM/sales automation, PBX/voice, and email.

But Azure and the others surveyed also drew a far larger slice of respondents saying they would "never use" or have "discontinued use" that service. In Azure's case, 16 percent swore they'd never board the train to Redmond, while 8 percent had already tried and disembarked.

AWS, on the other hand, had a whopping 2 percent of "never" votes. The percentage of "discontinued" AWS users was -- drumroll, please -- zero.

The biggest overall loser -- with the highest number of "not anymore" and "never" votes -- was IBM Softlayer. While 27 percent and 31 percent of respondents were either currently using or planning to use the service, respectively, 33 percent said "never" and 9 percent said "not anymore."

Oracle Cloud, on the other hand, ranked No. 1 in terms of "never" votes. Despite trying to get as serious about the public cloud, Oracle is losing out to other providers and remaining of interest to only existing, deeply invested Oracle customers.

From AWS to elsewhere and back

Another interesting figure was which clouds were most in use by those not currently on AWS but planning to add it. Among this group, 54 percent were Azure users -- although it's not clear that their response supports the conclusion that they would ditch Azure for AWS. More likely, they're finding complementary uses for each cloud.

Existing AWS users who had plans to use another cloud tended to cite Google, Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM at about the same rate. Google App Engine was tops at 40 percent, but the others only trailed it by a couple of percentage points. This implies that each competitor outside of AWS has some degree of attraction.

It isn't hard to figure out why AWS continues to command such loyalty. In addition to being a first mover in the field and, thus, one of the best-understood and most widely supported public clouds, it continues to offer top-grade, forward-looking services on all fronts.

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