Worldwide public cloud services market hit $233bn in 2019, says IDC

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

The global public cloud services market grew 26% year over year to hit a mammoth $233.4 billion (£176.7bn) in 2019, according to IDC.

The findings, which come from IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Tracker, take into account infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS).

IDC argued that the public cloud services market has more than doubled since 2016. The combined revenues of the top five providers – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Salesforce, Google and Oracle – make up more than one third of the total market.

AWS, the clear leader in cloud infrastructure, broke the $10bn mark in its most recent quarterly results, while Google Cloud broke $3bn. Microsoft, believed by all pundits to be the second player in infrastructure, does not disclose specific Azure revenue figures, but its ‘commercial cloud’ revenues beat $50bn for the first time in its most recent results.

Yet with regard to SaaS, Salesforce is the leader, with IDC positing 7.8% market share compared with 7.4% for Microsoft. SAP (4.1%), Oracle (3.7%) and Google (3.1%) make up the top five. For IaaS and PaaS combined, IDC sees similar results to other analysts. AWS holds a third (33.6%) of the market according to the IDC tracker, with Microsoft a clear second (18%) and Google (4.9%), Alibaba (4.6%) and IBM (4.1%) fighting for third place.

In terms of the overall market, SaaS continues to lead, commanding almost two thirds (63.6%) of the total, ahead of IaaS (21%) and PaaS (15.4%). While SaaS saw an almost 20% growth in revenues year-on-year, its share of the market was down from 66.9% in 2018.

The figures make for an interesting comparison with Gartner, who earlier this month said the global IaaS market was worth $44.5bn in 2019. For infrastructure alone, Gartner said AWS held 45% share, ahead of Microsoft (17.9%), Alibaba (9.1%) and Google (5.3%).

IDC said spending on IaaS and PaaS will continue growing at a higher rate than the overall cloud market over the next several years. While this is something analysts have been saying for several years, the need for ‘resilience, flexibility and agility’, as IDC put it, is an interesting one – particularly with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Today’s economic uncertainty draws fresh attention to the core benefits of IaaS – low financial commitment, flexibility to support business agility, and operational resilience,” said Deepak Mohan, IDC research director of cloud infrastructure services. “Cost optimisation and business resilience have emerged as top drivers of IT investment decisions and IaaS offerings are designed to enable both.

“The Covid-19 disruption has accelerated cloud adoption with both traditional enterprise IT organisations and digital service providers increasing use of IaaS for their technology platforms,” Mohan added.

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