Cloud computing: Microsoft Azure ups the pressure on AWS

Azure now leads AWS among enterprises and is catching up in smaller business, too.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft Azure revenues might be lagging Amazon Web Services (AWS), but according to a new survey by enterprise IT management firm Flexera, adoption of Azure's cloud-computing options may now have overtaken AWS in some cases. 

Flexera's new 2022 State of the Cloud report gathered the opinions of 753 respondents in late 2021 and found that Azure was the only public cloud provider whose adoption had grown significantly over the past year. 

Today, 80% of enterprises are using Azure, up from 73% last year, while AWS's share dropped from 79% to 77% in the period.  

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Google Cloud is yet to become profitable, but it is a comfortable third-runner with 48% adoption, down from 49% last year, while adoption of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure dropped from 32% last year to 27% today. IBM Cloud's share was flat at 25%. 

The report also looked at whether users were running significant workloads, some workloads, or just experimenting with a provider. 

Azure and AWS were tied on significant workloads at 47%, while 33% of enterprises were using some workloads on Azure versus 33% in this category on AWS. 

The good news for Google Cloud's ongoing push to win marketshare is that 23% of respondents are experimenting with it, which signals potential revenue growth in the future. 

AWS still leads Azure among SMBs. However, even here Microsoft is closing the gap. AWS's 69% share among SMBs was down from 72% last year versus Azure's 59% share today, up from 48% last year. GCP's share rose from 39% to 43% year on year. Oracle Cloud also won more SMBs and had a 28% share, up from 15%, while IBM was up from 20% to 24%. 

Today, of course, few are locked in with one cloud provider. Multicloud continues to grow and is basically the norm. Flexera found that 79% of organizations are using multiple public clouds while 60% are using more than one private cloud. 

Despite this, it found that 45% of apps are siloed on different clouds, so while they are using multiple clouds, each app is stuck on one provider. Some 44% are using multiple providers for failover when major cloud outages occur. That seems sensible, given that in the past two years, AWS, Azure and Google have suffered several hour-long outages. 

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The challenge of managing security in multicloud justified Microsoft's recent move to bring Defender for Cloud to Google Cloud and AWS. It also makes projects like Cloud Security Notification Framework (CSNF) necessary. Among large enterprises with more than 10,000 employees, multicloud security tools are now, at 41%, the top tool used by organizations, followed by multicloud cost management tools at 37%. Governance tools and management tools were used by 34% and 33% of large enterprise, respectively.    

Cost management tools are critical because the survey found respondents believed their organizations waste 32% of cloud spend. However, waste is likely higher, Flexera notes. 

While Azure may be narrowing the gap in some areas, AWS is still the biggest cloud provider by some way: according to data from Synergy Research, Amazon, Microsoft and Google continue to account for more than half of worldwide cloud spending, with Q3 2021 market shares of 33%, 20% and 10%.

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