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Study: Microsoft Gains on AWS as Multicloud Dominates

Today's cloud landscape leans heavily in the direction of multicloud and hybrid, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) holding an ever-shrinking lead over Microsoft Azure.

The findings of the latest Flexera "State of the Cloud" survey (available here with registration) were released this week. Participants comprised 750 technical pros worldwide covering a broad cross-section of organizations.

Of the respondents, 92 percent reported a strong multicloud presence in their organizations and 80 percent reported adopting hybrid cloud strategies. (While those numbers are high, they actually show a slight decline from last year's survey.)

"This year's survey delved into the various cloud combinations used by enterprises with a hybrid strategy," the report said. "Of those enterprises, 76 percent said they're incorporating multiple public clouds, while 56 percent report using more than one private cloud. The most common combination is a mix of various public and private clouds, with 43 percent taking this approach."

Like other reports, this one measures the use of various cloud platforms. For years, the Top 3 have been AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, in that order. That ranking still holds true for 2021, but Flexera says Microsoft is catching up to AWS.

"It's important to note that adoption -- meaning an organization is using a cloud provider -- is only one factor influencing revenue growth for the provider," the report said, noting that factors like spending, the number of virtual machines (VMs) and the level of PaaS usage are also considerations. All told, "AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are the top three public cloud providers," the report said, same as in previous years.

However, there's a key difference in 2021: "Among enterprises, Azure is tied with AWS for breadth of adoption." What's more, while both AWS and Azure adoption rates increased among enterprises, Azure is now at 96 percent of the AWS adoption rate.

Other highlights of the report as presented by Flexera include:

  • COVID and acceleration of public cloud usage: Nearly a third of all enterprises (more than 1,000 employees) spend more than $12 million a year on public cloud. Over half of enterprise workloads are expected to be in the public cloud in 12 months. The vast majority (90 percent) of respondents who answered a question about COVID-19 expect public cloud use to exceed plans due to the pandemic.
  • Public cloud adoption is evolving: Azure continues to narrow the gap with AWS in both enterprise adoption and number of VMs. Among enterprises that spend at least $12 million on public cloud, 16 percent said they do so on AWS, 14 percent on Azure and 8 percent on Google Cloud.
  • Private cloud adoption: VMware vSphere continues to lead in private cloud (36 percent). Azure Stack usage is at 35 percent, and both OpenStack and AWS Outpost are at 28 percent. Private cloud adoption by SMBs is lower overall than for enterprises.
  • Understanding cloud initiatives and metrics: Among respondents, 61 percent plan to optimize cloud costs in 2021, making it the top initiative for the fifth year in a row. Cloud migration was named a key initiative by 59 percent of advanced users.
  • Top challenges are security, spend, governance and expertise: Overall, 81 percent indicate cloud security is a challenge, followed by cloud spend at 79 percent and governance at 75 percent.
  • Organizations struggle to handle growing cloud spend: Respondents estimate 30 percent of cloud spend is wasted. Respondents aren't taking advantage of all cloud provider discounting options, but adoption is growing. Users are beginning to leverage automated policies to shut down workloads after hours (49 percent) and rightsize instances (48 percent).

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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