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The Future of IaaS: Why I Anticipate a Shift From AWS | MediaValet
Thought Leadership

The Future of IaaS: Why I Anticipate a Shift From AWS

  • 5 min read

Vernon D'souza is the Head of Information Security at MediaValet. With vast experience in incidence response, governance, compliance and more, Vernon has conducted over a hundred security assessments within various IT environments. 


“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

I know what you’re going to say: Why does this post start with a lame “The Art of War” quote? To explain, let’s take a look at some numbers from Gartner. According to their latest report, the worldwide infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market grew 31.3% in 2018 to total $32.4 billion, and in 2019 its projected to be worth $38.9 billion. This growth will continue well into 2022, where it’s expected to be worth $76.6 billion.

The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market is on fire and showing no signs of slowing down. With so much money pouring into the IaaS market, the reality is that the vast and growing number of service providers (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, IBM, etc.) are going to win our business - no matter what they do or don’t do.

But, despite the IaaS market growth as a whole, I’m seeing more and more organizations trending away from Amazon Web Services (AWS). I know many people who have Amazon Web Services running through their blood and I totally get it. It was the first major IaaS and many users have a deeper understanding of it.

But, if we take a look at the numbers below, they begin to tell a different story:

Worldwide IaaS Public Cloud Services Market Share, 2017-2018 (Millions of U.S. Dollars) 

Company

2018
Revenue
2018
Market Share (%)
2017
Revenue
2017
Market Share (%)

Amazon 

15,495 

47.8 

12,221 

49.4 

Microsoft 

5,038 

15.5 

3,130 

12.7 

Alibaba 

2,499 

7.7 

1,298 

5.3 

Google 

1,314 

4.0 

820 

3.3 

IBM 

577 

1.8 

463 

1.9 

Others 

7,519 

23.2 

6,768 

27.4 

Total 

32,441 

100.0 

24,699 

100.0 

Source: Gartner (July 2019) 

If you look at the change in market share from 2017 to 2018, you can see that competitors are slowly taking away market share from AWS – a trend I expect will continue more aggressively over the next few years.

Now, many of you are probably thinking: “Vernon, how can this be? It’s Amazon!” Here are the three main reasons why I foresee the shift away from Amazon Web Services: 

1. A Deeper Understanding of the Other Platforms
Since Amazon Web Services was the first globally adopted cloud provider, they acquired a lot of users early on and continue to host many of those users today. In general, more people in the industry are comfortable with using the AWS ecosystem, as they’ve worked within it for longer and understand it better than any other platform.

However, as the other service providers grow, more people are beginning to understand how to use their systems. As a result, I’m seeing more and more users moving away from AWS. People also like local, home-grown service providers, so I can easily see Alibaba dominate in Asia. I would also like to mention, as the next generation learns, it’s possible they’ll start with Azure, Google, or Alibaba, and may never have to fully learn AWS.

2. The Need to Diversify and Spread Risk
No one service provider is bulletproof and I’ve noticed a trend where companies are using two or even three providers to build their full environment. This strategy makes perfect sense when one line of code can take down massive operations within the service provider themselves. 

For example, very few people will forget the Amazon S3 crash of 2017 that took down thousands of sites across the globe, all from a single input error. While the servers were back up after 4 hours, even Amazon admitted that they didn’t anticipate the reboot to take so long. In their own words, “S3 has experienced massive growth over the last several years and the process of restarting…took longer than expected.”

Whether it be mother nature or human error, incidents can and will happen. With this in mind, organizations may spread the wealth, so to speak, among multiple service providers.  

3. Cloud Adoption from Slow-Moving, Large Enterprises
Now, this one is my favorite. I’ve worked with a countless number of large, multi-national, horrifically huge enterprises. I’ve come to know them intimately and since dubbed them “slow-moving beasts”. Why? They’re often the last ones to innovate and try anything new in terms of IT, because they just have too many moving parts to manage. In this case of the cloud, I also find they’re hesitant to move away from owning their own hardware and running their own data centres.

As these organizations feel increased pressure to adopt the cloud, I can easily say they will run towards Microsoft Azure. They're built on Microsoft tech stacks. They have tried, tested and proven workflows and operations built around the Microsoft ecosystem. Azure will make the most business sense to them - plain and simple.   

If I were a betting man, I would bet that Microsoft will drastically start eating Amazon’s cake over the next 5 years, taking over the number 1 spot. A prime example would be just this week, Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with AT&T to sign a cloud deal worth more than $2 billion - to deliver innovation with cloud, AI and 5G.

Will others follow? Only time will tell!

MediaValet Team