Azure’s rise instills doubts in AWS shops

Microsoft’s cloud platform is seeing a surge of adoption, causing some enterprises to fear they backed the wrong horse. But the race has only begun

Azure’s rise instills doubts in AWS shops
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RightScale’s “State of the Cloud” report is out now and has been well covered by InfoWorld, so I won't give you the rundown here. But there were key findings I want to point out in terms of impact to the enterprise.

According to the report: 

  • In polling the respondents, RightScale found that Azure grew overall from 20 to 34 percent, while Amazon Web Services stayed flat at 57 percent.
  • Google grew from 10 to 15 percent to maintain third position.
  • Within enterprises, Azure increased adoption significantly: from 26 percent to 43 percent. By contrast, AWS adoption increased slightly: from 56 percent to 59 percent.

Enterprises are asking about the last bullet point because they have made a tremendous investment in AWS, but are now second-guessing their support.

rightscale 2017 cloud market share RightScale

Microsoft Azure saw a great jump in cloud adoption last year, thanks to its installed base and good technology. AWS's growth is holding steady with the market.

Let's be clear: Azure’s success is well-earned. Microsoft was late to the party, but not so late that it missed out on doing the right things around adoption of its cloud.

And Microsoft has smartly leveraged its existing enterprises relationships, unlike AWS and Google. Enterprises that have their IT solutions based on Windows servers, which is a lot of enterprises, are low-hanging fruit for Microsoft Azure. The ease of migration is also tempting, even though they can also get Windows servers on AWS.

Still, AWS has kept up with the market growth. Indeed, AWS's growth aligns almost perfectly to that of the cloud computing market in general. AWS will continue to set the standard for IaaS platforms, and it won’t give up market share unless it does something really dumb. I suspect that won’t happen.

Enterprises need to understand that the cloud computing market is dynamic and in its early days, so the volatility will be with us a while. Only about 5 to 7 percent of workloads migrated to an IaaS platform, such as AWS or Azure. About 20 percent should be migrated by the end of the year. We won't hit 70 percent—when you'll really know if your chosen platform won—for several years. Today, it could be anybody’s game.

That's a fact of life. Enterprises shouldn't panic if their chosen platform isn't the top scorer or grower in this quarter or that. While the market sorts itself out, it's clear that AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are the right IaaS platforms for most enterprises to focus on. If you're using one of those, you'll be in good shape for the foreseeable future. That's as good as it gets in the platform betting game.

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