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Cloud computing companies continue to grow rapidly as organizations execute their digital transformation strategies and grapple with more and more data. In fact, Gartner expects public cloud revenue to grow 17.3 percent in 2019 to $206.2 billion, up from 175.8 billion in 2018.
The fastest-growing cloud market segment is infrastructure as a service (IAAS), which is expected to grow a by a stunning 27.6 percent in 2019. By 2022, Gartner predicts that 90 percent of organizations purchasing public cloud IaaS will use integrated IaaS and platform as a service (PaaS) providers. Since the cloud is central to digital transformation, Gartner expects cloud computing and services will reach nearly $300 billion by 2021.
Multicloud is growing as well. According to IDC, 85% of enterprises were expected to have a multicloud strategy in 2018. The choice of providers tends to hinge on what the company is attempting to accomplish and how comfortable that company is with the service provider.
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While the chart below shows the current cloud market share, realize that the cloud landscape will continue to shift greatly in the years ahead. Clearly, the leading cloud computing companies: Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud, each continue to invest heavily in offering new tools to customers. The cloud competition has only just begun.
Top Cloud Companies 2019:
For a more in-depth look, read our Comprehensive Guide to Cloud Computing.
When Alibaba Cloud launched in 2009, it was narrowly focused on ecommerce, but today it offers integrated IaaS and PaaS services.
Alibaba Cloud is the leading cloud provider in China, and the organization is expanding its global footprint. However, AWS remains the number one provider Asia Pacific (APAC) region with Alibaba in second place.
Outside Asia, Alibaba trails behind AWS and Microsoft Azure because some organizations have concerns about doing business with a Chinese cloud service provider. However, Alibaba’s global plans for its cloud business are aggressive, as evidenced by continued expansion and revenue that doubled to about $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2018.
Alibaba Cloud offerings include:
- Elastic computing
- Content delivery network (CDN)
- Big data & analytics
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Monitoring and management.
Alibaba now has data centers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, India, Middle East, China, Hong Kong SAR China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia.
AWS remains the market leader and top innovator in the space. In fact, at the recent AWS Re:Invent event in Las Vegas, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy spent a three-hour keynote explaining new tool announcements. The general theme was making whatever customers want to do in the cloud easier, whether it's big data analytics, building robots, storing data, or taking advantage of machine learning to name a few.
According to Gartner, AWS is the most popular choice for strategic, organization-wide adoption. Its revenue grew 45% from $4.5 billion in Q3 2017 to $6.6 billion in Q3 2018.
Amazon’s expanding portfolio of services includes:
- Application Integration
- AWS Cost management
- Business applications
- Customer engagement
- Desktop and app streaming
- Developer tools
- Machine learning
- Management and governance
- Media services
- Migration and transfer
- Network and content delivery
- Security, identity and compliance
AWS has a robust marketplace, a vibrant partner network, and data centers in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, India, Singapore, South Korea, China, Japan and Australia. Three new data centers are planned for Italy, the Kingdom of Bahrain, South Africa, and Hong Hong SAR, China.
Google Cloud Platform is not as popular as AWS or Microsoft Azure. In fact, historically, it’s trailed behind AWS and Microsoft Azure significantly, despite its deep technical expertise and compelling capabilities.
Google stated that it wants to make AI available to everyone. As part of that, non-data scientists can experiment with machine learning and AI using preconfigured machine learning content. Google is also taking a leadership position with AI ethics, which isn’t top of mind for most organizations yet, although Gartner deemed it one of the Top 10 trends for 2019.
According to Synergy Research Group, Google continues to gain market share at a linear rate, though it still holds less than 10% overall, like IBM and Alibaba, albeit a point or two behind IBM and a point or two ahead of Alibaba.
Google Cloud services include:
- AI and machine learning
- API management
- Data analytics
- Developer tools
- Management tools
Google Cloud has data centers located in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong SAR, China. Three others are planned for Switzerland, Indonesia, and another location in Japan.
IBM Cloud is IBM’s one-stop shop for cloud services. It supersedes the Bluemix PaaS and SoftLayer IaaS brands. The transition is ongoing, which its website reflects. (It changed even during the course of writing this article).
All cloud service providers have a unique position in the market. IBM’s is its long history and offerings that have evolved with the times, which makes the company a natural choice for enterprises with legacy systems that want to migrate to the cloud. IBM's breadth and depth of capabilities reflect both its heritage and continued commitment to innovation.
According to Gartner, IBM Cloud is working on a next-generation infrastructure project that will result in new cloud IaaS offerings, including new compute infrastructure.
IBM Cloud services include:
- AI (IBM Watson)
- Developer tools
Data centers are located in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Norway, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, India, Singapore, Australia, China, Hong Kong SAR China, South Korea and Japan.
Microsoft Azure is the number two cloud platform globally. It’s a natural favorite among .NET developers because, among other things, it’s compatible with the .NET programming language and integrated with Visual Studio. Over the years, Microsoft has made a point of making developers’ lives easier so they can produce better quality products faster and focus on innovation instead of the mechanics of programming.
Microsoft Azure also shares an advantage in the enterprise space with the likes of IBM and Oracle. Like those players, well-rounded enterprise-class features are a given.
Other factors helping to drive Azure’s continued success is the formidable partner network and a marketplace that caters to developers and those looking for finished products.
Microsoft Azure services include:
- AI/machine learning
- Developer tools
- Microsoft Azure Stack
Microsoft Azure has data centers in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Ireland, Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Germany, Singapore, Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong SAR, China. Other locations have been announced include Norway, Switzerland, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and two more locations in Germany.
Like the other top IaaS and PaaS service providers, Oracle’s cloud offerings have been the result of internal development and acquisition. Its enterprise focus, deep pockets and the general digitization of everything makes the company a viable contender in the space.
However, the company also made an important developer push recently when it announced the availability of a cloud-native framework that spans all app deployment scenarios (public cloud, on premises, and hybrid cloud) and new container-centric infrastructure services.
Oracle Cloud offerings include:
- Application integration
- Application development
- Edge services
- IT Operations optimization
- Security and compliance
Oracle’s global footprint is pale in comparison to AWS or Microsoft Azure. Data centers are currently located in the US, Great Britain, Germany, India, South Korea, and Japan. Future locations include Canada, Switzerland, Brazil, and Australia.
See user reviews of Oracle Cloud.