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Study Sees Azure Increasing Lead over AWS in IaaS

Spiceworks Inc., which fosters a network of IT pros and associated tools, has published cloud computing research indicating the Microsoft Azure cloud is likely going to increase its lead in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) usage over Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS).

The Diving into IT Cloud Services report is derived from Spiceworks' polling of more than 340 IT pros in North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to gather data about their cloud usage and future plans.

The report resulted in several key findings, such as most organizations are using at least one cloud-based IT service, with an even larger shift to the cloud coming soon, though buyers are still hesitant to adopt some newer cloud services.

The survey also revealed one possible weakness in the cloud market for perennial leader and cloud pioneer AWS, the IaaS segment. According to Wikipedia, IaaS providers "offer computers -- physical or (more often) virtual machines -- and other resources. IaaS refers to online services that abstract the user from the details of infrastructure like physical computing resources, location, data partitioning, scaling, security, backup etc."

In this area, AWS is slightly lagging, judging from the report.

"In the public cloud IaaS provider category, Microsoft Azure is the most commonly used (16 percent), followed closely by Amazon Web Services (AWS) at 13 percent," the report said. "Azure is also expected to see the most growth in the next 12 months with 21 percent of IT pros considering it -- while AWS is being considered by 11 percent."

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[Click on image for larger view.] The IaaS Market (source: Spiceworks)

However, the slim lead may certainly change in the emerging IaaS landscape, which is still shaking itself out.

"While the other cloud categories show clear market dominators across the top three purchase drivers, IaaS has yet to see any single brand emerge as a top performer," the report said. "The most used brands -- Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services -- are associated with all tested attributes more so than the other providers (and are fiercely tied for first place in almost every instance), but the majority of IT pros didn't have strong brand associations with any of the providers. However, in the emerging category of IaaS, this will most certainly change as adoption of IaaS increases and familiarity with brands expands in the market."

Overall, Spiceworks sees good things ahead for cloud computing. "While an average of 20 percent of IT services are cloud-based today, this number is expected to increase to 34 percent in the next two to three years. In fact, 30 percent of organizations expect more than half of their IT services to be cloud-based in two to three years.

"With this in mind, it makes sense why cloud services were ranked as one of the top 10 tech discussions among IT pros in the Spiceworks Community last year. Interestingly, in 2015 there were more than 15,000 conversations about the cloud in the Community and only 5 percent were considered negative. In fact, cloud discussions had the highest positive sentiment among all of the top 10 tech topics, including networking, hardware, security and more.

"In other words: Get ready... change is on the horizon."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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