Poll: Microsoft Azure Nearly Ties AWS in Cloud Usage
Public clouds also outpaced private cloud usage in the informal, limited survey.
It was an informal survey, to be sure, but the results were still telling. Visitors to a virtualization-specific Web site, consisting mostly of IT pros and executives familiar with cloud platforms, are using Microsoft Azure nearly as often as Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The poll was done by the The Virtualization Practice, which bills itself as providing "Virtualization & Cloud Computing News, Resources, and Analysis." The survey consisted of a single question: "Which Clouds Do You Use?"
The answer was that 39 percent of respondents use AWS; 35 percent are using Azure; 27 percent employ VMware vCloud (a private cloud); and 18 percent currently aren't using any form of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud. "What's intriguing is the percentage of folks who are not using IaaS-based clouds. Also interesting is that Amazon and Azure place higher than private clouds of all types," wrote Edward Haletky, the survey's author.
Also interesting was the finding that more than one-third of the respondents (36 percent) are using more than one cloud. Sixteen percent use two clouds, and 20 percent use three or more clouds.
Haletky summarized the numbers this way: "What we found was that the type of cloud we use really does matter and that we are not hypervisor-agnostic yet." He also mentioned that just a small number were using OpenStack, the open source platform for primarily private clouds.
In an e-mail exchange, Haletky declined to give the specific number of poll respondents, but he feels that the results have validity. "It's definitely not scientific, but I feel it's pretty accurate given our readership," he said.
The survey reveals several attitudes toward the cloud, Haletky said. One is that Azure is encroaching on AWS more than anticipated, which may be why Amazon is upgrading AWS so regularly. Another reason for the success of Azure has to do with Microsoft's position in the datacenter. "I think Azure's showing is two-fold: one, everyone using Microsoft products today needs a cloud that runs Microsoft products well, and I think the second is that Azure does .NET very well indeed," Haletky said. "The secret sauce is Active Directory [in my humble opinion]. With AD, Azure is an easy place to put Windows workloads."
Another surprise from the survey was that the brand of cloud chosen was less important than what it's intended to do. "The real surprise was the cloud of clouds, more than standardization. Function over form so to speak," Haletky said. In his report, he surmised that clouds were chosen for their specific features, rather than the need to go with a particular vendor.
Haletky also found some good news for VMware in the survey results. "The hypervisor still may matter for some workloads, given the numbers for VMware vCloud Air," he said. "This is an avenue by which VMware private clouds can easily expand past their datacenter boundaries."
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.