The cloud market is booming, and the main players aren’t only growing within the market — they are actually actively contributing to the expansion of the market itself

Forget the new space race — the real competition is happening here on Earth, and it is all about cloud computing. It’s really undeniable: today’s cloud computing marketing is really taking off, faster than most people would have expected.

The most prominent IT providers already figured out that cloud represents the future, as a greater number of companies are making the transition to this particular structure to run and manage their business tasks. From big international corporations to small local businesses, everyone and their grandmothers seem to be turning to clouds to cut costs and increase efficiency.
Cloud-based services are so popular because, being incredibly intuitive, they can be scaled down to reflect the need of users.

Many different cloud providers are currently offering various services with different approaches, giving way to the so-called “cloud wars” in a bid to attract big customers and provide more comprehensive global coverage. It is not surprising to see the all the big names in the industry are spending massive amounts of money to develop new infrastructures, such trans-oceanic cables to enhance the speed of their networks on a global scale. Who are the most significant players out there? Who is winning the cloud wars?

Who are the main players?
There are many, many companies out there who provide cloud computing services. However, only a handful of them could rightfully claim their status as global market influencers.

Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM, Google, Oracle, SalesForce and SAP are only some of the world’s most successful cloud providers, and they are continually racing to outpace one another. As of today, Microsoft and AWS seem to be the big players in the game, as they are trying to strengthen their influence over the global scene.

Microsoft recently revealed that revenue stemming from commercial cloud services jumped up to a whopping 56% — that’s about $5.3 billion. These numbers indicate fast-paced growth and indeed set the tech giant apart, even from its closest competitor, AWS, who is also stepping up their pace with massive growth.

The Azure platform, a staple Microsoft brand is considered as one of the many driving forces behind Microsoft’s fast-paced growth: it grew a staggering 98% in 2017. As the Microsoft Cloud network of services is becoming exponentially bigger, one of its core elements, the Azure platform, is poised to keep growing as well — which is particularly interesting. Think of it this way:
Imagine Microsoft being a pond, and Azure a fish living in it. This fish is getting fed and getting bigger and bigger. However, in this particular case, it is not only the fish that’s getting bigger. The pond is expanding as well, making the growth appear even more impressive.

CEO Satya Nadella is often credited as being a positive influence over the company’s great performance, championing a business model that relies on hybrid cloud services, which are capable of offering a lot of flexibility, adapting and scaling to a wider range of customers. Nadella also understood that for Microsoft to be able to sustain this growth, further investments are necessary. For this reason, the iconic tech firm set out to invest in infrastructure development, new technologies, and integrative solutions.
Microsoft ended the year 2017 with $18.6 billion in cloud revenue. The number sparks a big question: could Amazon match it? Can any other company come close and compete in the cloud wars this year? Then AWS took the market ablaze. In their final quarter of the year, their sales soared up to 45%, exceeding every expectation from experts and analysts, thus becoming the market dominator of that year. However, Microsoft’s data still pointed to a more significant growth rate, with IBM catching up as a close third.

From an innovation perspective, the cloud war is decidedly a great thing: the drive of these companies, who aim to expand their market while also increasing their foothold in the industry, means that each major player in the cloud business is actively investing in new infrastructure, innovative technologies, and more. The result? Cloud services are getting exponentially better for consumers, and the cloud industry has reached a phase of outstanding maturity.
While Google reported that the company’s cloud products have more than tripled from 2016 to 2017, other companies such as Alibaba, mentioned that they experienced a growth of up to 104% percent, acquiring a leading position on the Chinese market. In spite of the amazing and exponential progress of all of these companies, AWS still seems to have the upper hand.

Cloudability reported recently that 85% of cloud spend is concentrated on four Amazon Web Services products: EC2, EBS, RDS, and S3.

Where is the cloud going?
2017 has been an exciting year for cloud computing, with its three major players, Microsoft, AWS and IBM, reporting billions in revenues. 2018 will certainly be another pivotal year for this industry, and we can expect a few exciting developments, particularly concerning the implementation of new features and services, as well as even better machine learning capabilities aiding companies with big data management tasks.

According to Bob Evans, the cloud will experience some amazing breakthroughs this year, particularly concerning AI capabilities, prioritizing cybersecurity and innovating machine learning processes. However, he stated that “pure technological wizardry will no longer be the driving force behind the cloud because customers have finally accepted the cloud as their primary IT strategy and foundation for the future.”

In other words, customers are already there, and you don’t need to impress them with what the cloud can do. It’s all about letting them know how your company can serve them well.

The importance of appealing to the customers
A fascinating development in the industry is that cloud computing is not solely becoming just another option: it is quickly becoming “the way” to run things. Regardless of the size and scope of a business, there is no denying that cloud services can help every enterprise keep costs down, increase productivity and save time. As the business continues to evolve, the main concern of top players is not going to be to convince users to adopt the cloud, but rather to convince them to choose their cloud services, over any other competitor’s offerings.

This leads us to the next big question. Who are the customers?
In the cloud market, narrowly identifying the target customer is not always an easy task, because the nature of such services, as mentioned earlier, allow the market to be increasingly flexible. Big service providers can cater to small, medium and large businesses, so the big challenge is…how can they appeal to them? In 2018, the ability of a company to “get their message” across could be a major factor in the success and growth of many cloud providers.
At the end of the day, all of these companies are more than capable of providing innovative and high-quality services. The biggest game-changer, the true strategic differentiator in the market will be how well cloud companies can relate to their customers. Can they understand their business priorities? Can they show them how their offerings can make a difference?

In conclusion, cloud technology has grown on to become an absolute business staple. As the market keeps expanding and companies (not just “the big 3”) keep growing exponentially, customers are becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about how the cloud works and how it can benefit their enterprises.

Real long-term success in this industry is going to be determined by something more than just an impressive quarterly revenue report. It’s all about appealing consumers (small, medium and large companies across the world) and showing them that, yes, their services can suit their needs and requirements.