Once upon a time, there lived a king happily after his triumph and expansions…

It is no more like how it was in ancient times. One king ruling. No!

Tables have turned…players are growing strong day by day….brains are juggling up….strategies are spawned…it’s game time….fight to glory! You are witnessing the cloud wars…

It makes me swoon… Do you see it happening with you as well?

Past few years have seen a battle for control over the cloud industry by three corporate giants – AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

worldwide market share

Though Amazon is still winning infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) combat its monopoly is being challenged.  Amazon leads the pack with three times more the revenue of Microsoft, but its market share dropped from 49.4 % to 47.8 % in the year 2018.  This is because of the market shifts to a complete cloud functionality as opposed to only IaaS and PaaS capabilities and also with the SaaS becoming more and more relevant.

Both AWS’ obvious rivals, Microsoft and Google, have strong SaaS (Software as a service) offerings, such as Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google’s G Suite. Though AWS has a strong marketplace with third-party independent software vendors that offer SaaS applications there is a lack in “flagship SaaS strategy” from AWS.

That’s not all! While some former niche players have emerged as evident powers in 2018, smaller forces are war footing and they can be the game-changers.

Three more “Niche Players” in the IaaS market – IBM, Alibaba, and Oracle are transitioning cloud industry from a monopolistic market to an oligopoly. You can see many localized & verticalized solutions indicating strategies for acquisitions & inorganic growth opportunities for higher market share.

Factors Driving Different Types of Cloud Strategies

  • Amazon’s core offering is the public cloud and ease of use.
  • Microsoft focus is on large scalable enterprise cloud solutions. Its recent acquisitions of Cycle Computing, Cloudyn & Express Logic show its approach to strengthen cloud platform through multi-verticalized solutions.
  • IBM has acquired Redhat for Hybrid Cloud adoption.
  • Google’s focus is on High-Performance Computing (HPC) offerings. Through the recent multi-billion acquisitions (Looker, Elastifile, Velostrata & Alooma), it’s improving cloud capabilities in data analytics, storage & cloud migration.
  • Alibaba Cloud is growing not only in China but also in Southeast Asia and India – in specific vertical industries namely internet, media, and retail. It does have financial resources for aggressive R&D which can impact the expansion plans of AWS, Microsoft and Google in the markets where Alibaba is strong.
  • Oracle’s strategic emergence by arriving into the IaaS market in 2018 focusing on enterprise building, came totally out of the equation and surprised all.
  • VMware who was partnered with AWS is extending its partnership to Google Cloud too, which gives GCP an opportunity to grab VMware’s customers towards it.
  • Equinix is re-architecting to meet the surging demand for Cloud Services.

aws blog image

Periscope to Watch the Warzone

Below are few details these cloud players must consider before the battle:

Data Privacy Regulations & Security: To meet GDPR & other regulatory compliances, enterprises are opting for different cloud strategies – Hybrid Cloud, Multi-Cloud et al. So it’s time to up the game!

Interoperability: Businesses are taking proactive measures to keep their Cloud strategies agile and are operating in conjunction with multiple cloud service providers.

5G, IoT, AR/VR, AV: There is the birth and growth of 5G, IoT, augmented reality &virtual reality and Autonomous Vehicles. As they are gaining their full potential, an enormous amount of data being generated through connected devices. This, in turn, is giving rise to the need of shifting & processing the data between edge & centralized cloud data centers.

HPC: With newer technologies like AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Cryptography growing fast, there is a need for high-performance computing.

Though top three corporate giants continue their crusade for dominance, new niche players are giving them a run for their money. A question may arise by the end of 2020, which monolithic corporation will claim the largest market share?

However, it’s an ongoing race. In the end, it will be the data and the customers that will dictate how the Cloud Wars played out.

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You are a step closer to a fascinating journey.

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