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Microsoft Claims IaaS Crown In Europe To Close Gap On AWS

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

AWS is still out in front globally, but pressure from Azure increases as cloud adoption boom continues

Microsoft Azure is emerging as a formidable Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) challenger to AWS and is closing the gap, according to 451 Research’s latest Voice of the Enterprise (VotE): Cloud Transformation study report.

Despite still being behind AWS from a global standpoint, Azure is now the dominant IaaS provider in Europe, cited by 43.7 percent of European respondents compared to 32 percent for AWS.

451 Research suggests this is partly down to Microsoft’s efforts to address the data sovereignty concerns of European customers, which has resulted in the company (along with Google) seeing higher overall adoption rates since the previous survey in Q1 2015.

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Tight at the top

The survey also highlights Microsoft’s increasing importance to customers. 35 percent of respondents named the Redmond giant as their most important IaaS provider, up from 20.2 percent, with AWS still out in front with 39 percent of the vote.

Commenting on Microsoft’s position, Melanie Posey, research VP and lead analyst for 451’s Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud Transformation service said: “It will be interesting to assess the impact of Azure Stack (scheduled for launch by mid-2017) on Microsoft’s overall positioning and individual attribute ratings for multi-cloud/hybrid support, as well as technical expertise and innovation.”

AWS needn’t start worrying just yet, though. Fifty-six percent of respondents are using the company for IaaS and its dominant market position is still secure thanks to outpacing competitors in areas such as the breadth of services and features provided, brand reputation, technical expertise and innovation.

However, for the first time, AWS’ customer ratings fell behind those of other IaaS providers on ‘value for money/cost,’ where Google Cloud Platform was rated highest, and ‘understands my business,’ where IBM/SoftLayer and Microsoft Azure obtained higher scores.

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Cloudy skies

Businesses of all shapes and sizes have been flooding to cloud platforms as part of wider digital transformation efforts, and 451 Research’s survey further highlights this upward spending and adoption trend.

For example, nearly 80 percent of organisations said their IT environments require moderate or significant transformation to meet business requirements over the next five years, with 22 percent of enterprises have now adopting a ‘cloud first’ approach.

IaaS is currently the fastest growing cloud model as businesses increasingly choose such services for mission-critical applications.

“As organisations implement IT transformation in earnest, they are increasingly relying on strategic partners for operational assistance,” Posey said. “Those IaaS service providers who position infrastructure and technological innovation alongside meeting business requirements will be best positioned to capitalise on this market opportunity.”

In general, providers received consistently high ratings in the promise and fulfillment of service attributes such as uptime/performance, security and technical expertise, but were given lower scores in areas such as understanding business requirements, multi-cloud/hybrid cloud support and enterprise-level customer support.

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