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Microsoft Azure almost doubles infrastructure cloud market presence

Familiarity – and dual-cloud strategies – breeds growth

Competition for enterprise IT spend is intensifying with Microsoft and Google applying pressure to AWS.

Microsoft's share of the cloud infrastructure market nearly doubled in the first three months of this year, according to analysts Canalys.

Microsoft managed IaaS market growth of 93 per cent to just under $1.5bn compared to the same period a year ago.

Also expanding quickly was Google, which – invigorated under the leadership of ex-VMware chief Diane Green – increased its share by 74 per cent to over $500m.

Both come from lower starting points with AWS remaining the dominant provider, which means it's growing relatively slowly.

Amazon's IaaS grew 43 per cent to $3.5bn, Canalys found.

AWS is, of course, the enterprise IT raider – having come from outside initially as a consumer shopping service turned compute and storage provider.

Microsoft's growth is due to maximising its credibility and familiarity as an enterprise technology supplier through products like Windows, Office, Server and other tools.

Organisations are also adopting dual-cloud strategies, not placing all their IT spend within a single IaaS, which is helping Microsoft.

Another factor coming into play is the channel. Cloud was initially seen as something that would disintermediate channel providers as tech firms sold direct and rolled out products as services.

But Canalys principal analyst Matthew Ball said increasingly Microsoft is relying on partners as Managed Service Providers with companies building their own products on top of Azure.

Also realising the importance of the channel is Google, another initially consumer-oriented firm now targeting the enterprise. Ball reckoned on an increasingly mature channel play from the ad slinger. "Cloud had been a direct play to being with, but as cloud adoption increases in corporate accounts and below, the channel is going to be a vital part because they are still the trusted advisor for these companies," Ball said.

Like Microsoft, Google will be looking for partners in the areas of consulting and migrations, MSPs and systems integrators who undertake customers' digital transformation using Google as the IaaS foundation.

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