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April 5, 2017

Cloud Wars: Microsoft Azure closes the gap on leader AWS

Azure was found to be the dominant IaaS provider in Europe.

By Ellie Burns

The cloud wars are in full swing, with giants of technology – Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, AWS, Oracle, IBM – grappling over hybrid, private and public in order to grab the biggest share of the booming market.

The latest cloud battleground where lines are being drawn is infrastructure as a service (IaaS)/public cloud – the fastest growing cloud model according to 451 Research. The analyst firm backed up that statement by pointing to the 22% of enterprises that have adopted a ‘cloud first’ approach, with organisations increasingly choosing IaaS for mission-critical applications.

However, respondents to 451 Research’s Cloud Transformation survey did express concern about service providers’ perceived ability to align IT and business requirements, noting that there is scope for a better understanding of the customers’ businesses to support IT service delivery.

READ MORE: What is the true value of the Cloud?

“As organizations implement IT transformation in earnest, they are increasingly relying on strategic partners for operational assistance. Those IaaS service providers who position infrastructure and technological innovation alongside meeting business requirements will be best positioned to capitalise on this market opportunity,” said Melanie Posey, Research Vice President and lead analyst for 451’s Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud Transformation service.

Survey respondents rated their IaaS providers on a range of attributes prior to purchase and after implementation. Although scores were high for both purchase and implementation, it was customer experience which could prove a costly weak link for AWS.

Cloud Wars: Microsoft Azure closes the gap on leader AWS

Although 55.8% used AWS for IaaS in the survey,  AWS’s customer ratings fell behind those of other IaaS providers on value for money/cost, where Google Cloud Platform was rated highest, and understands my business, where IBM/SoftLayer and Microsoft Azure obtained higher scores.

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Microsoft Azure was found to be an emerging rival to AWS’ dominance in the IaaS sector, with nearly 35% of respondents naming Microsoft as their most important IaaS provider, up from 20.2% in the previous survey.

Microsoft also closed the gap on AWS when it came to customer perception, posting slightly above-average scores for overall promise and fulfillment, as does Google Cloud Platform, which secured particularly strong marks for service reliability and value for money/cost. Google and Microsoft Azure are seeing higher overall adoption rates since the previous survey in Q1 2015.

“It will be interesting to assess the impact of Azure Stack (scheduled for launch by mid-2017) on Microsoft’s overall positioning and individual attribute ratings for multi-cloud/hybrid support, as well as technical expertise and innovation,” said Posey.

Another interesting find was Microsoft Azure’s dominance in Europe, with the provider emerging as the predominant primary IaaS provider, with 43.7% of European respondents citing it vs. 32% naming AWS. Globally, 55.8% of respondents are using AWS for IaaS.

READ MORE: Has Oracle just won the cloud game? Big Red kills cloud taxes



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