Battle for the cloud

The battle for cloud dominance has intensified with key players all growing significantly in Q1. The worldwide cloud infrastructure services market grew 42 percent year on year to reach US$11.4 billion, according to Canalys.

Amazon’s AWS maintained its leadership, holding a stable global market share of 31 percent. It was followed by Microsoft, Google and IBM.

In terms of growth, Microsoft led with 93 percent while Google was up 74 percent, AWS 43 percent, and IBM 38 percent.

“Competition for enterprise customers is intensifying among leading cloud service providers, which are investing heavily to secure key national and global accounts. Timing is crucial, as many large accounts are assessing, formulating and executing strategies to move existing workloads and infrastructure to the cloud, and develop new types of workloads as part of digital transformation initiatives,” said Daniel Liu, Research Analyst of Canalys.

Cloud players are therefore looking to the channel to expand their reach, especially into mid-market opportunities.

“The channel has become integral to winning in the enterprise, with top cloud players focusing on channel expansion plans,” said Jordan De Leon, Senior Analyst of Canalys.

AWS has an established channel programme that is growing and is cited by the company as helping to win key global clients. Microsoft’s growth in Q1 demonstrates the benefit of having a huge enterprise client base and converting it to Azure.  Many of the leading enterprise vendors are building on Azure Stack, Microsoft’s latest cloud initiative, to provide customers with hybrid solutions.

Third-placed Google has revamped its partner programme as it strives to catch up.

“It has made progress toward meeting the technology and feature requirements of large enterprise customers.  But to rival the others, it needs to demonstrate its enterprise readiness and enhance its credibility. To achieve this, it needs to sustain investment in both technology and go-to-market, and continue to highlight key customer wins,” said De Leon.

“Go-to-market strategy, including both customer and channel partner engagement, will ultimately determine vendor success in this segment. Larger enterprises will adopt a multi-cloud strategy to distribute risk. Ultimately, to challenge AWS, vendors will need deep financial resources to continue to participate and advance,” he added.