Two separate new surveys suggest that while Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the dominant public cloud platform the Microsoft Azure cloud platform appears to be gaining ground rapidly.
When asked which IT mega-vendor will be most critical and indispensable to their organization's IT environment in the future, almost half (47 percent) of the 207 CIOs participating in a survey conducted by JP Morgan cited Microsoft. Coming in a distant second was AWS at 13 percent. Next up were Cisco at 11.6 percent and Oracle at 11.1 percent, respectively, followed by SAP at 9.2 percent and IBM at 4.3 percent. Missing from the list altogether was Google, which is widely regarded as the fourth leading public cloud service provider.
Reversal of fortune in the cloud
While that may bode well for both Microsoft and AWS in terms of how they compare to other leading IT vendors, it also shows how far Microsoft has come in the cloud. In fact, a separate survey of nearly 650 IT pros conducted by Talligent and VMblog finds that while 80 percent report using AWS today for more than 10 percent of their workloads only 49 percent say they expect to run more than 10 percent of their workloads on AWS in 24 months. In contrast, a full 85 percent report that they expect to be using the Microsoft Azure platform for more than 10 percent of their workloads in 24 months.
If that were to actually occur, it would represent a stunning reversal of cloud fortune at a time when the JP Morgan survey suggests that in five years 40.3 percent of all application workloads will be running on a public cloud. At the moment, JP Morgan estimates only 16.2 percent of application workloads are running on a public cloud.
Of course, a lot can happen in 24 months. A recent survey conducted by Intermedia, a provider of email and other cloud services, suggests that existing customers are fiercely loyal to AWS. At the same time, however, Credit Suisse is already forecasting declining revenues for AWS. Obviously, many factors go into those forecasts. Nevertheless, the amount of influence Microsoft wields in terms of software is starting to tell.
Microsoft capitalizes on its deep connections
IT organizations want the path of least resistance to facilitating the evolution of hybrid cloud computing. For many of them, that means extending the reach of their existing IT investments into the cloud versus being continually told to move all their IT assets into a public cloud. To its credit, Microsoft under the CEO leadership of Satya Nadella has made major strides in terms of its willingness to embrace Linux.
In addition, while AWS has made significant strides in terms of building partnerships with IT services firms, the size of the Microsoft IT services partner community means Microsoft has orders of magnitude more sales feet on the street than AWS could probably ever hope to muster.
Put it altogether, and it’s becoming obvious that a changed Microsoft along with a healthy distrust of the competitive ambitions of Amazon has many IT professionals taking a second look at Microsoft. Not only are they apparently liking what they see, many of them are starting to allocate budget accordingly.