Gartner argues Amazon holds almost half of cloud infrastructure market in latest analysis

As the largest players have published their most recent financial results, Gartner has weighed up the situation and looked into its crystal ball – and has given Amazon a greater advantage than before.

The analyst firm has put together its latest forecast around the global infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market and found growth of 31.3% in 2018. The worldwide IaaS market was rated at $32.4 billion (£26.2bn) last year, up from $24.7bn in 2017.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) was pegged by Gartner at having almost half (47.8%) of total market share, significantly ahead of Microsoft with 15.5%. Alibaba takes the bronze medal on 7.7%, with Google (4.0%) and IBM (1.8%) rounding off the top five. It's worth noting however that Gartner's 2018 IaaS Magic Quadrant put Google in as a leader, alongside AWS and Microsoft, for the first time.

Not surprisingly, Amazon shows the lowest growth across the four largest players between 2017 and 2018, with Alibaba (92.6% growth) taking the honours. Microsoft (60.9%) and Google (60.2%) scored comparatively, with Amazon (26.8%) trailing.

This makes for interesting comparison with another analyst, Synergy Research. In its most recently published figures, the company pins AWS as holding a third of the market, with Microsoft and Google at 16% and 8% share respectively.

Nevertheless, both analyst firms see a similar theme when it comes to the wider market. “Despite strong growth across the board, the cloud market’s consolidation favours the large and dominant providers, with smaller and niche providers losing share,” said Sid Nag, Gartner research vice president. “Only those providers who invest capital expenditure in building out data centres at scale across multiple regions will succeed and continue to capture market share.

“Google’s cloud offering is something to keep an eye on with its new leadership focus on customers and shift toward becoming a more enterprise-geared offering,” added Nag.

Synergy posits that the law of large numbers has taken effect in recent quarters; the growth among the largest vendors, while still strong, simply could not continue at the same pace. Yet as this publication put it when Amazon and Google’s results were released, it is not so much big numbers but big expectations. Amazon dipped on its $8bn quarter for AWS and got relatively pilloried, while Google Cloud got praise for its first $8bn run rate.

Gartner recommends that for those still looking to take a slice of the cloud infrastructure pie, particularly managed service providers, vertical industries and partnerships should be a key focus.

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