Microsoft Azure growth has long held the silver medal in public cloud. As of Q1 2020, Azure held 17% of the public cloud market, behind AWS’s 32%. But much of the adaptation to COVID-19 has happened after the Q1 period, which means they’re missing some dramatic activity: the drop in usage for businesses with lower demand, the massive increase in usage for those with high demand, and the infrastructure changes to support the at-home workforce.
Azure Growth Trends
Market reporting comparing Azure to its competitors in the IaaS market has shown steady growth and gain in market share. Microsoft reported that Azure grew 59% year-over-year last quarter, and has been growing at similar rates for the past year.
While these Azure growth rates are reported, the actual revenue numbers are reported as part of the “Intelligent Cloud” business, which includes Azure, other private and hybrid server products, GitHub, and enterprise services.
Something to keep in mind is that it’s easy to equate growth with net new customers Azure has gained – however, much of the growth comes from the increase in resources and usage within each customer. As just one example, among ParkMyCloud users, the average number of resources per Azure account increased 30-fold over a six-month period ending in February this year.
COVID-19 and Azure Usage
Back in March, Microsoft shared that, given any capacity constraints within a region, it would be giving resource priority to certain types of customers: first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure, and Microsoft Teams to enable remote work. Even as they shared that, some customers were already running up against capacity constraints in certain regions and unable to create or restart VMs.
Whether customers experienced these shortages themselves or not, we’ve heard anecdotally that the possibility of capacity constraints has instilled enough fear in some that they’ve chosen to leave resources running when not being used as an (expensive) guarantee of availability for the next time they’re needed.
Microsoft Teams and Windows Virtual Desktops (VDI) are also seeing rapid adoption. As of last month, Teams daily active users were up to 75 million, up from 32 million in early March. Teams is part of the Productivity and Business Processes segment and does not impact the Intelligent Cloud revenue. However, it is integrated with Office 365 products, making it the platform of choice for many new users right now almost by default, similarly to the many enterprise users that adopt Azure as part of larger Microsoft agreements.
So – is Azure experiencing growth? Certainly, yes. But is it growing faster than competitors? Right now, there’s no evidence that it is.
New to Azure?
Are you among the newest batch of Azure users? There’s a lot to learn. Here are a few resources other new users have found helpful.
- Make sure you take advantage of free training resources.
- See if you’re eligible for Azure credits.
- Ensure your IAM roles are in order before adding users or granting third-party access.
- Know the difference between “deallocating” a VM and “stopping” a VM.
- …which matters because one costs money, even when you’re not using it. Next up, get wasted spend from always-running and oversized resources under control.
And use this checklist to find other ways you might be wasting money.