Amazon: Still on top
Which brings us back to Amazon: While AWS acknowledged slowed growth during its last earnings call, it also revealed that AWS usage climbed 90 percent over the past year.
Given that AWS offered five times the utilized compute capacity of the other 14 cloud providers in the Gartner Magic Quadrant combined as of August 2013, 90 percent growth is pretty impressive.
Guess what? So is Microsoft's.
Maybe, just maybe, it will become even harder to separate Azure growth from the rest of Microsoft's cloud business. After all, as Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich told InfoWorld, "all roads lead to Azure" within Microsoft, "So there are parts of Office 365 that actually run on Azure today. The goal is to eventually have everything running on Azure."
Regardless, however much of a lead AWS has today, Microsoft's hybrid strategy has real legs. How well Azure is doing may be in question but why Azure is doing well is not. As Gartner analystLydia Leong calls out, "Microsoft's comprehensive hybrid story, which spans applications and platforms as well as infrastructure, is highly attractive to many companies, drawing them towards the cloud in general."
Microsoft, in short, won't have the biggest cloud by the end of 2014 -- not even close. But it will almost certainly continue to build out public cloud services that enterprises buy because they help carry their data center assets forward into a cloudy future.
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