Q2 2020 earnings are in for the ‘big three’ cloud providers and you know what that means – it’s time for an AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud market share comparison. Let’s take a look at all three providers side-by-side to see where they stand.
Note: several previous versions of this article have been published. It has been updated for August 2020.
AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud Earnings
To get a sense of the AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud market share breakdown, let’s take a look at what each cloud provider’s reports shared.
Amazon reported Amazon Web Services (AWS) revenue of $10.8 billion for Q2 2020, compared to $8.3 billion for Q2 2019. AWS revenue grew 29% in the quarter.
Across the business, Amazon’s quarterly sales increased to $88.9 billion, beating predictions of $81.5 billion. The net income of $5.2 billion was the highest in a single quarter yet for the giant, driven by online shopping during COVID-19 – though note that the company is careful to note the $4 billion in costs related to COVID-19. And AWS? It made up 12.1% of Amazon’s revenue for the quarter – and 64% of its profit.
AWS only continues to grow, and bolster the retail giant time after time.
One thing to keep in mind: you’ll see a couple of headlines pointing out that revenue growth is down, quoting that 29% number and comparing it to previous quarters’ growth rates, which peaked at 81% in 2015. However, that metric is of questionable value as AWS continues to increase revenue at this enormous scale, dominating the market (as we’ll see below).
While Amazon specifies AWS revenue, Microsoft only reports on Azure’s growth rate. That number is 47% revenue growth over the previous quarter. This time last year, growth was reported at 64%. As mentioned above, comparing growth rates to growth rates is interesting, but not necessarily as useful a metric as actual revenue numbers – which we don’t have for Azure alone.
Here are the revenue numbers Microsoft does report. Azure is under the “Intelligent Cloud” business, which grew 17% to $13.4 billion. The operating group also includes server products and cloud services (19% growth) and Enterprise Services (flat).
The lack of specificity around Azure frustrates many pundits as it simply can’t be compared directly to AWS, and inevitably raises eyebrows about how Azure is really doing. Of course, it also assumes that IaaS is the only piece of “cloud” that’s important, but then, that’s how AWS has grown to dominate the market. Microsoft’s release noted that “cloud usage and demand increased as customers continued to work and learn from home. Transactional license purchasing continued to slow, particularly in small and medium businesses, and LinkedIn was negatively impacted by the weak job market and reductions in advertising spend.”
However, overall, Microsoft exceeded analyst expectations in the first full quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with overall revenue coming in at $38 billion vs. $35.5 billion expected; and Intelligent Cloud revenue earning $13.4 billion vs. $13.1 billion expected.
This is the second quarter that Alphabet broke out revenue reporting for its cloud business. This quarter, Google Cloud, which includes Google Compute Engine and G Suite, generated $3 billion in revenue – a growth of 43% year-over-year.
Overall, Alphabet’s revenue decreased 2% year-over-year to $38.3 billion. CFO Ruth Porat said, “year-on-year declines in our advertising revenues from search and network were offset by growth in Google other and Google Cloud revenues,” continuing their ongoing messaging that cloud is important to the business as a whole. This comes as Google Cloud leans into product offerings intended at capturing the multi-cloud audience, such as the recent release of Big Query Omni that aims to provide data analytics capabilities for workloads that live in AWS and Azure as well as Google Cloud.
Cloud Computing Market Share Breakdown – AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud
When we originally published this blog in 2018, we included a market share breakdown from analyst Canalys, which reported AWS in the lead owning about a third of the market, Microsoft in second with about 15 percent, and Google sitting around 5 percent.
In 2019, they reported an overall growth in the cloud infrastructure market of 42%. By provider, AWS had the biggest sales gain with a $2.3 billion YOY increase, but Canalys reported Azure and Google Cloud with bigger percentage increases.
As of July 2020, Canalys reports AWS with 31% of the market, Azure at 20%, Google Cloud at 6%, Alibaba Cloud close behind at 5%, and other clouds with 37%.
It seems clear that in the case of AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud market share – AWS still has the lead. However, their overall share of the market is slowly shrinking, while Azure grows.
Bezos has said, “AWS had the unusual advantage of a seven-year head start before facing like-minded competition. As a result, the AWS services are by far the most evolved and most functionality-rich.”
Our anecdotal experience talking to cloud customers often finds that true, and it says something that Microsoft isn’t breaking down their cloud numbers just yet, while Google leans into multi-cloud.
AWS remains far in the lead for now. With that said, it will be interesting to see how the actual market share numbers play out over the coming years.
There’s a lot of talk about multi-cloud architecture – and apparently, a lot of disagreement about whether there is actually any logical use case to use multiple public clouds.
How many use multi-cloud already?
First question: are companies actually using a multi-cloud architecture?
According to a recent survey by IDG: yes. More than half (55%) of respondents use multiple public clouds: 34% use two, 10% use three, and 11% use more than three. IDG did not provide a term definition for multi-cloud. Given the limited list of major public clouds, the “more than three set” might be counting smaller providers. Or, respondents could be counting combinations such as AWS EC2 and Google G-Suite or Microsoft 365.
There certainly are some using multiple major providers – as one example, ParkMyCloud has at least one customer using compute infrastructure in AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud concurrently. In our observation, this is frequently manifested as separate applications architected on separate cloud providers by separate teams within the greater organization.
Why do organizations (say they) prefer multi-cloud?
With more than half of IDG’s respondents reporting a multi-cloud architecture, now we wonder: why? Or at least – since we humans are poor judges of our own behavior – why do they say they use multiple clouds? On survey, public cloud users indicated they adopted a multi-cloud approach to get best-of-breed platform and service options, while other goals included cost savings, risk mitigation, and flexibility.
Are these good reasons to use multiple clouds? Maybe. The idea of mixing service options from different clouds within a single application is more a dream than reality. Even with Kubernetes. (Stay tuned for a rant post on this soon).
Cloud economist Corey Quinn discussed this on a recent livestream with ParkMyCloud customer Rob Weaver. He asked Rob why his team at Workfront hadn’t yet completed a full Kubernetes architecture.
Rob said, “we had everything in a datacenter, and we decided, we’re going to AWS. We’re going there as fast as we can because it’s going to make us more flexible. Once we’re there, we’ll figure out how to make it save us money. We did basically lift and shift. …. Then, all of the sudden, we had an enormous deal come up, and we had to go into another cloud. Had we taken the approach of writing our own Lambdas to park this stuff, now GCP comes along. We would have to have written a completely different language, a completely different architecture to do the same thing. The idea of software-as-a-service and making things modular where I don’t really care what the implementation is has a lot of value.”
Corey chimed in, “I tend to give a lot of talks, podcasts, blog posts, screaming at people in the street, etc. about the idea that multi-cloud as a best practice is nuts and you shouldn’t be doing it. Whenever I do that, I always make it a point to caveat that, ‘unless you have a business reason to do it.’ You just gave the perfect example of a business reason that makes sense – you have a customer who requires it for a variety of reasons. When you have a strategic reason to go multi-cloud, you go multi-cloud. It makes sense. But designing that from day one doesn’t always make a lot of sense.”
So, Corey would say: Rob’s situation is the one use case where a multi-cloud architecture actually makes sense. Do you agree?
We get requests from customers occasionally about whether ParkMyCloud can manage Microsoft Azure Classic vs. ARM VMs. Short answer: no. Since Azure has already announced the deprecation of Azure classic resources – albeit not until March 2023 – you’ll find similar answers from other third-party services. Microsoft advises only to use resource manager VMs. And in fact, unless you already had classic VMs as of February 2020, you are not able to create new classic VMs.
As of February, though, 10% of IaaS VMs still used the classic deployment model – so there are a lot of users with workloads that need to be migrated in order to use third-party tools, new services, and avoid 2023 deprecation.
Azure Classic vs. ARM VM Comparison
Azure Classic and Azure Resource Manager (ARM) are two different deployment models for Azure VMs. In the classic model, resources exist independently, without groups for applications. In the classic deployment model, resource states, policies, and tags are all managed individually. If you need to delete resources, you do so individually. This quickly becomes a management challenge, with individual VMs liable to be left running, or untagged, or with the wrong access permissions.
Azure Resource Manager, on the other hand, provides a deployment model that allows you to manage resources in groups, which are typically divided by application with sub-groups for production and non-production, although you can use whatever groupings make sense for your workloads. Groups can consist of VMs, storage, virtual networks, web apps, databases, and/or database servers. This allows you to maintain consistent role-based access controls, tagging, cost management policies, and to create dependencies between resources so they’re deployed in the correct order. Read more: how to use Azure Resource Groups for better VM management.
How to Migrate to Azure Resource Manager VMs
For existing classic VMs that you wish to migrate to ARM, Azure recommends planning and a lab test in advance. There are four ways to migrate various resources:
- Migration of VMs, not in a virtual network – they will need to be on a virtual network on ARM, so you can choose a new or existing virtual network. These VMs will need to be restarted as part of the migration.
- Migration of VMs in a virtual network – these VMs do not need to be restarted and applications will not incur downtime, as only the metadata is migrating – the underlying VMs run on the same hardware, in the same network, and with the same storage.
- Migration of storage accounts – you can deploy Resource Manager VMs in a classic storage account, so that compute and network resources can be migrated independently of storage. Then, migrate over storage accounts.
- Migration of unattached resources – the following may be migrated independently: storage accounts with no associated disks or VMs, and network security groups, route tables, and reserved IPs that are not attached to VMs or networks.
There are a few methods you can choose to migrate:
We recommend that you move toward ARM resources and eliminate or migrate classic resources as soon as you can. Farewell, classic!
Additional First-Place Rankings Achieved in Implementation, Relationship, and Usability Indexes
June 23, 2020 (Dulles, VA) – ParkMyCloud, provider of the leading enterprise platform for continuous cost control in public cloud, has been recognized as a “high performer” in Cloud Cost Management by G2. ParkMyCloud ranked #1 in customer satisfaction, and was additionally selected for best usability, best relationship, and most implementable product in G2’s Cloud Cost Management Summer 2020 Report. These rankings are awarded based on the reviews and responses of real users.
“There are a few things our customers are consistently looking for,” said ParkMyCloud VP Jay Chapel. “They need a platform to optimize cloud costs that is data-driven, automated, and easy to use. What these reviews are telling us is that we’re delivering for our customers.”
Chapel added, “Thank you from me and the whole team to all ninety-plus customers who have taken the time to write a review and share feedback. When we receive suggestions about the product via G2 and other channels, we review and often, it goes immediately into the roadmap. We’re grateful to have an engaged group of users who help us iterate and improve every day.”
With more than one million reviews of business software, G2 is a trusted authority for business professionals making purchasing decisions. Its quarterly reports are based on reviews by real, verified users, who provide unbiased ratings on user satisfaction, features, usability, and more.
In the report, ParkMyCloud earned the leading satisfaction score at 94%, as well as 93% satisfaction in ease of administration; 93% in ease of doing business, 91% in ease of use, 90% in quality of support, and 91% of users likely to recommend the product. ParkMyCloud was also rated as providing the fastest ROI of any product in the category.
Reviews of ParkMyCloud on G2 often highlight the product’s ease of use and the rapid ROI achieved by finding and eliminating wasted cloud spend in AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud. New users can get started in minutes with a 14-day free trial.
ParkMyCloud, a Turbonomic company, provides a self-service SaaS platform that helps enterprises automatically identify and eliminate wasted cloud spend. More than 1,500 enterprises around the world – including Sysco, Workfront, Hitachi ID Systems, Sage Software, and National Geographic – trust ParkMyCloud to cut their cloud spend by tens of millions of dollars annually. ParkMyCloud allows enterprises to easily manage, govern, and optimize their spend across multiple public clouds. For more information, visit www.parkmycloud.com.
Director of Marketing, ParkMyCloud
AWS Reserved Instance discounts can be confusing and opaque. We talk to AWS customers who don’t know what instances their discounts are being applied to – or even whether their Reserved Instances are being utilized. Here are some notes to help you understand AWS RIs.
What Do Reserved Instances Actually Reserve?
There is an understandable misconception that a “reserved instance” always reserves capacity – a specific VM that is “yours” for the month. If that’s what you want, you’re looking for a Zonal Reserved Instance (locked to a specific instance type and Availability Zone) or an AWS Capacity Reservation. Both of these are specific to an availability zone and instance attributes, including the instance type, tenancy, and platform/OS. If you purchase a “zonal” reserved instance, you will also get a capacity reservation in the designated availability zone, but regional reserved instances do not reserve capacity. Standalone capacity reservations do not provide a discount – but then, they do not require a 1-year or 3-year contract, either. Note that even a Capacity Reservation is not guaranteed to be associated with a specific instance unless that instance was launched into that reservation.
Reserved Instances might be better named something to the effect of “pre-paid credits”. You are not purchasing a specific instance, but rather, a discount that will be applied to instances in your account, as long as they match certain attributes.
How AWS Reserved Instance Discounts Are Applied
Ultimately, you won’t know which specific instance your RI discount is applied to until you look at your bill, and if you want to find out, you’ll sift through hundreds of thousands of rows on a Cost and Usage Report. And there may well be hundreds of rows for any single RI, because the instance that receives the reserved instance discount can actually change minute to minute. Or at least, by the fraction of the hour.
The “scope” of your Reserved Instance affects how the discount is applied. Zonal Reserved instances are for a specific availability zone, reserve capacity in that zone, and do not have instance size flexibility. Therefore, if you have reserved an m5.large in Availability Zone us-east-1a, your discount will only apply to that specific instance type, size, and zone. Zonal RIs are less expensive than Regional RIs – but since they are also much more constrained, it’s easier for them to accidentally go unused if you do not have a matching instance running.
Meanwhile, a Regional Reserved instance does not reserve capacity, but it does allow flexibility in both availability zone and instance size within the same family. That’s where the normalization factor comes in. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to be charged the same amount for a t3.nano as a t3.2xlarge. The normalization factor balances these sizes, so that a reservation for a t3.xlarge could count for one t3.xlarge instance, or two t3.large instances, or 32 t3.nano instances, or 50% of a t3.2xlarge, or some combination of sizes. The benefit is applied from the smallest to largest instance size within the family.
If you use consolidated billing, your Reserved Instance discount will be applied first to applicable usage within the purchasing account, then to other accounts in the organization.
Should You Even Use AWS Reserved Instances?
AWS is aware of this confusion – which is part of the reason they released Savings Plans last year. Instead of the instance size and normalization factor calculations, you simply have a spend commitment, which is flexible across instance family, size, OS, tenancy or AWS Region, and also applies to AWS Fargate and AWS Lambda usage. Hopefully, Savings Plans will be coming soon for the other resources that support RIs, such as RDS, Elasticahce, and so on.
Savings plans can provide the same level of discount, without the rigidity of Reserved Instances, so we recommend them. If you already have Reserved Instance commitments, just ensure that you are fully utilizing them, or else (for EC2 RIs) sell them on the RI marketplace.
And consider whether you have resources that just don’t need to be running 24×7. Turning them off can save more than either of these options.